The New York Restoration Project (NYRP), in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, announced the planting of 74 new trees in Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick. These trees replace the more than 50 large, caliper trees that were lost as a result of the tornado that devastated parts of New York City on Sept. 16. The Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership donated an additional grant to support supplementary park landscaping and maintenance.
“New York Restoration Project’s partnership with the New York City Parks Department to replant these 74 new trees in Maria Hernandez Park is a proud example of how our continued collaboration allows us to accomplish great things on behalf of New York City,” said Amy Freitag, Executive Director of New York Restoration Project. “As a helping hand to the Parks Department, it’s NYRP’s job to step up to the plate when tragedy, devastation or budget cuts strike and make sure our city’s parks, community gardens and open spaces remain green and accessible and our urban forest continues to grow strong.”
“Last September, New York City and its parks, and Maria Hernandez Park in particular, were hit by one of the worst storms in modern history,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “But New Yorkers are known for their resilience, and I am so proud to be here today, only three months later, to celebrate the first effort to rebuild and restore what was lost in that natural disaster.”
The tree planting in Maria Hernandez Park was made possible through MillionTreesNYC lead sponsors BNP Paribas, The Home Depot Foundation and Toyota, as well as funds raised at NYRP’s annual fundraising gala, Hulaween – which raised more than $460,000 to support the organization’s tree-planting activities citywide.
On September 16, 2010, two tornadoes and a macroburst tore through New York City, uprooting trees, damaging cars and peeling roofs from houses. The storm’s tree destruction stretched uninterrupted from Park Slope through Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick in Brooklyn, into Ridgewood, Queens and all the way through Queens to Bayside. More than 3,500 trees were damaged or destroyed during this storm.
Maria Hernandez Park was especially a scene of devastation; endless rows of fallen trees struck by lightning or uprooted by the tumultuous winds that took the sidewalks with them. Trees — 2.5” caliper up to 5.0” caliper or 8’ to 16’ tall — that were planted in the park include Silver and Little-leaf Lindens, Pin Oaks, Japanese Zelkovas, deciduous Evergreen Dawn Redwoods, Flowering Kwanzan Cherries and Yellow Woods.
Top photo: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, NYRP Executive Director Amy Freitag, President of the Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership Dan Biederman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member Diana Reyna and Brooklyn Community Board 4 District Manager Nadine Whitted are joined by students from P.S. 123.
Photos by Malcolm Pinckney from NYC Parks