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Take that, zombtrees! Body parts of storm-damaged trees form playground in Prospect Park • Brooklyn Paper

Take that, zombtrees! Body parts of storm-damaged trees form playground in Prospect Park

Reclaimed wood: Prospect Park's newly opened Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area is made entirely of fallen trees and dead tree parts.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Trees that came crashing down during superstorm Sandy and their un-dead arboreal brethren have been chopped up and had their body parts scattered around a secluded area in Prospect Park to form a newly opened children’s play space.

The brand-new jungle gym that opened on Sunday is made of trees and tree parts that parks personnel found either felled by the winds of the superstorm and other severe weather or standing dead, waiting to strike innocents walking below. The war on zombtrees is ongoing and, though tree casualties so far outnumber human ones, the sanded-wood Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area is a victory monument for humanity. Park officials say children dancing on the woody graves will help liven up the northeastern corner of Brooklyn’s backyard.

“We hope that the Zucker Natural Exploration Area will help generate excitement for this long-overlooked section of the park,” said Emily Lloyd, the president of the Prospect Park Alliance, which manages the massive green space.

The tree-cemetery-turned-playground is located just off the East Drive in a large grassy field named Nellie’s Lawn and the organization is planning to further restore the area around it.

Chasing waterfalls: Three-year-old Opal Bernstein of Prospect Heights tried out the water pump at the newly opened Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area in Prospect Park.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Designers of the new kids oasis carved the dead wood, turning one lying-down log into a seat and another upright trunk into a tunnel.

The $200,000 park addition was funded through a grant from first-time park donors Donald and Barbara Zucker, for whom the play space is named. It also features a large hand-pump that pours water onto a grooved log, steps made out of stumps, boulders, climbing areas, and sand patches.

The park lost about 500 trees to Hurricane Sandy. As many as 30 Sandy-stricken trees and arbors damaged from other severe weather events like Hurricane Irene and the 2010 tornado make up the new fun zone.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Victory walk: The exploration area, located in the northeast corner of Prospect Park, lets kids tromp on the stumps of storm-damaged trees.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

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