Local says city chopped down healthy trees

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Overzealous city workers are chopping down healthy trees when they should only be carting away those claimed by Hurricane Sandy, claim arbor-loving residentsin Mill Basin.

“That tree is still alive, there’s nothing wrong with it, and they’re going to kill it,” said George Marinello.

Marinello was at work on Dec. 3, when a city contractor started hacking the limbs off of two trees next to his Whitman Drive home on the corner of E. 66th Street.

But he couldn’t figure out why. The Mill Basin man said that those particular trees had been trimmed over the summer, and were not in any danger of getting tangled-up in the overhead power lines.

As it turns out, the Parks Department had submitted a work order for Con Edison to “top” the trees at Marinello’s address — a practice where the branches are sawn-off down to the trunk in preparation for chopping down the tree, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman.

She said the city had determined that those trees, along with hundreds more throughout the borough, were flooded during Hurricane Sandy and considered unhealthy.

When Hurricane Sandy struck in October last year, its tidal surges deposited foliage-killing salts across Red Hook and Brooklyn’s southern coast.

This paper was the first to raise the alarm of Southern Brooklyn’s zombtree apocalypse — with salt-killed trees left standing after the superstorm looming menacingly over residents like undead arbors, ready to strike at any moment — and we have celebrated the city’s efforts to address the scourge. But the Mill Basin man says the culling has gone too far, summarily executing live trees in addition to the undead.

Marinello admits that his block was flooded during last year’s devastating superstorm, with the water coming up to his sidewalk, but he says that all the foliage around his house has recovered. He says his lawn and the boxwoods surrounding it all regrew following the storm — just like the sidewalk trees that are marked for the chopping block.

“My lawn is still the original lawn. My boxwoods are coming back,” he said. “And that tree on Whitman Drive is still good.”

Be that as it may, the remaining tree trunk in front of Marinello’s house will be removed in the next 30 days, according to a Parks spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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