Zombtrees spread fear through Brooklyn

Revenge of the trees: Cynthia Stonbely points to a fallen branch in Shore Road Park which she says is typical of many trees in the park, with branches that have either fallen or are poised to fall.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

If the city doesn’t take care if its dead-tree problem, then the dead trees are going to take care us.

A salty plague that superstorm Sandy wrought upon Brooklyn’s trees has some Bay Ridge residents worried that once-healthy, now-dead arbors are threatening the lives of pedestrians and drivers from across the borough — and the city isn’t doing enough about the looming zombie-tree scourge.

“I’ve called 311 several times,” said Cynthia Stonbely, whose Shore Road terrace overlooks the Belt Parkway, where the branches of dead trees hang ominously overhead. “Nobody ever comes down.”

Stonbely says she hasn’t seen any city foresters chopping down the dead trees in the Shore Roads Park near her house, where dozens of dead, saltwater-logged trees loom over the west-bound lane of the Belt Parkway, threatening to topple over onto the thoroughfare at any moment. One of arboreal zombies has already caused havoc on the Belt several weeks ago when it fell across the major traffic artery during the morning rush.

Fortunately, there were no wrecks in that instance, only a major backup as city workers hustled to clear the tree-clogged lanes, but the Bay Ridge resident says there are still plenty of trees just waiting to elicit shouts of “timber,” and she’s not taking any chances.

“I won’t don’t drive in the right-hand lane,” said Stonbely. “I’m afraid the trees are going to fall.”

And motorists on the Belt aren’t the only ones who should be wary of falling wood.

Locals say grannies, nannies, and infants strolling through the park could be the first victims of the dead trees’ revenge, as many of the storm-ravaged branches of the neglected, ailing plants appear poised to snap.

“There’s a lot of grandmas and nannies with strollers, and I don’t think they’re aware of the danger,” said Joyce Ayoub, who also lives near the park in a Shore Road apartment. “It’s scary.”

The Parks Department, which is responsible for the upkeep of the city’s trees, did not return calls for comment.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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