By Grant Greenberg
Brooklyn, NY (December 21, 2010) – What looks like a row of bare, dead trees will soon be breathing new life into Bushwick’s Maria Hernandez Park.
It was September 16th when out of nowhere tornadoes tore through Bushwick and other sections of Brooklyn as well as Queens, tearing down trees and taking morale down with them. “Hundred year old trees, that were four feet across, got knocked down as if they were toothpicks. It was a scene of utter devastation” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
The park lost all its trees in the storm. Now hope is blossoming as the New York Restoration Project, which helps keep the city green, donated $150,000 to plant more than 70 new trees. “We really felt that this needed to be the focus of our first storm recovery, but we’re not stopping here,” said Amy Freitag of the New York Restoration Project.
So why plant now when it’s so cold? City leaders say as long as the ground is soft, this is the best time to plant. “This is when trees like to be planted, you plant trees when they’re dormant. The trees essentially go to sleep,” Benepe said.
The red ribbons placed on the branches will soon be replaced by green leaves, and kids can’t be happier. “I feel proud because our park, well Brooklyn’s park, has new trees and it looks better than before,” said one young Bushwick resident. While it will be years before the trees are back to the size of those they replaced, people who live in the area couldn’t be happier to have them back.
“This community park represents a revitalization for our community. So when those trees were toppled over it looked like we were under destruction again. But to have this back means a lot,” said Bushwick resident Nadine Whitted. The city says more trees are on the way to community parks and streets affected by the tornados.