New York, New York (WiredPRNews.com). Budget cuts which forced the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to reduce tree services may have caused some trees to be more vulnerable to the storm that wreaked havoc in the state last week, according to some residents whose neighborhoods suffered extensive tree damage.
New York City has over 2.5 million trees, of which a few thousand fell in the storm, damaging cars and buildings. While clean up is in progress and the full scope of the damage is being assessed, some residents are raising concerns that the city did not take adequate care to prevent the destruction.
A resident of Brooklyn detailed her experiences to WNYC News, saying that she had requested the city to cut a tree whose branches were hitting her third floor window. The tree, which had thick branches and was heavy with leaves, fell over in the storm and smashed her car.
District Councilman Brad Lander admitted that the trees were under-pruned but insisted that much of the damage caused by trees had nothing to do with pruning. The recommended cycle for pruning trees is once every seven years but the city's actual pruning schedule was far from that, he said.
"Pruning builds a tree's resistance to rough weather," said John Rise of Charlotte Tree Services. "Trees with thick foliage are less able to resist strong winds, so it's important to keep up with the recommended cycle."
As residents scramble to compute damage to personal property and their insurance coverage, the Parks Department may have to respond to formal complaints. Once insurance companies become involved, the issue of the city's liability could also be raised.
The city and numerous volunteers are focusing on clean-up of the fallen trees, but some of the trees still standing have suffered cracks in the limbs and may still pose risks to those passing underneath. Commissioner of the Parks Department Adrian Benepe advised residents to be careful and to look up when passing under a tree.