Greenpoint Landing developer pays $400K to cut down three trees

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The city is raking it in.

A developer paid the parks department almost half a million dollars so that it could cut down a handful of elderly trees on public parkland that were standing in the way of a massive housing complex it is building on the Greenpoint waterfront.

The department said it is not in favor of felling mature foliage, but five trees at Newtown Barge Park — at the corner of Commercial and Dupont streets — were blocking the forthcoming Greenpoint Landing 10-tower mega-development, so it gave the real-estate company the green light to topple the topiary and slugged it with a $414,000 penalty for the privilege.

“While every option to preserve the five trees at Newtown Barge Park was explored, unfortunately their location and grade was not compatible with the planned developmen­ts,” said parks spokesman Ed Janoff.

Anyone who wants to cut down a tree on city-run property must acquire a permit and pay for the vegetation to be replaced. The city calculates the exact amount owed by measuring the width of the condemned trunk to figure out how many new saplings it will have to plant to replicate the towering flora, and also takes into account the tree’s condition, species, and location, Janoff said.

Two of the five trees developer Greenpoint Landing Associates wanted to axe were already dead, so the city let it ground them gratis, but determined that it would have to plant 286 new trees to make up for the loss of the other three, Janoff said.

The city says it will put the money into its tree kitty and plant the replacement vegetation somewhere nearby. Greenpoint is already getting an influx of fresh vegetation thanks to a $2-million “reforesting” project funded by settlement money oil giant ExxonMobil shelled out to compensate for the massive amount of oil it spilled into the Newtown Creek, so Janoff said the substitute saplings may instead sprout in Williamsburg.

“These new trees will be planted in Community District 1 and nearby neighborhoods in Brooklyn over the next few years, ensuring the next generation of urban greenery for this area,” said Janoff.

The tree-fee program is a lucrative operation for the city — it harvested $2.7 million from toppled timber in 2013, according to the New York Post.

The city is planning a $7-million makeover of Newtown Barge Park, of which Greenpoint Landing Associates is expected to kick in $5.5 million. But the parks department’s plans for the site, which include a baseball field and artificial turf, have angered local residents, who want a dog run and real grass.

News of the missing trees was first reported by the Greenpointers blog.

Greenpoint Landing Associates officials declined to comment.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

shhh from Greenpoint says:
Not entirely unalike George Klein's AIPAC involvement.
July 20, 2015, 9:06 am
resident from greenpoint says:
No the trees were NOT DEAD. It was claimed falsely that 2 were harmed by Sandy salt water. Absured as everyone knows who lives nearby saw beautiful lush green trees that would have lived up to 400 years. NO TREES WERE DEAD. To wit, the trees closer to the water were not touched as they did not interfer with the building process.

Two of the five trees developer Greenpoint Landing Associates wanted to axe were already dead, so the city let it ground them gratis, but determined that it would have to plant 286 new trees to make up for the loss of the other three, Janoff said.
July 20, 2015, 4:28 pm
Laura Hofmann from Greenpoint says:
The trees were very much alive.
July 20, 2015, 6:57 pm
b from gp says:
Exxon did not spill any oil into the Creek. Exxon bought Mobil who had bought another and so on. The spill was not a spill, rather a more challenging mess as it accrued over time, many little spills by various spillers.

I wonder what Exxon would make of the fact that both 77 Commercial St and Greenpoint Landing are both excessively contributing to the combined sew overflow, by not having acknowledged the projected average increased rainfall. Nor were their shadows taken into consideration, as Newtown Creek was not acknowledged as a natural resource worth respecting by any of the pertinent Environmental Reviews, even though it has been designated a Superfund worth caring for.

Will Klein be spending any of that big hot air Calatrava footbridge dream money on Pulaski, since he chose to develop on land that was not part of the 2005 FEIS transportation chapters?

Of course the developments have to put money towards the parks, as they will be depriving the neighborhood of open space by a considerable percentage.
July 21, 2015, 10:57 am
Martin Nederpelt from GREENPOINT, blyn says:
I live on West Street with 8 beautiful trees on our side walk that we planted 12 years ago. I woke up one morning while they were cutting them down as they explained for the street widening project. No one here was told that they were going to do that, which caused grief and rage. They are taking over a foot off of our sidewalk. Across from us on by Green Street the big developers will start their "Towering".
Why couldn't the street been widened one foot towards that huge empty lot then take it from our sidewalk and sacrificing 8x 60' trees?
Answer: because the big developers will take every inch of real estate they can get, even when that means stealing from your neighbors with the help from a corrupt City government.
Especially city planning with whom I have dealt with in the past as I was converting our factory building into artist lofts.
Feb. 7, 2016, 9:55 am

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