NYC Parks Department: No record of number of trees felled at Randall’s Island

Metro NY reporter Patrick Arden reported Monday that New York City has no record of the number of trees felled at Randall’s Island for the “controversial sports fields” run by private corporations they are pushing to place there. The city is currently in court over this issue. It is estimated that thousands of trees were destroyed on Randall’s Island.

“Contractors are required to have forestry permits issued by the Parks Department before removing trees,” the article states. This information is provided by Henry Stern, former NYC Parks Commissioner prior to Adrian Benepe. Current Parks Commissioner Benepe seems to take any opportunity to cut down trees, particularly if it provides a way to privatize public space.

Metro has been trying to obtain the forestry permits but the Parks Department has refused their requests.

At Washington Square Park, the document that went out for contractors’ Bids had a blank space where the Forestry Department’s sign-off was supposed to be. Eleven 50-to-100 year old trees have been cut down at Washington Square Park thus far. No one knows what the total number will be.

Doesn’t this call for oversight of Mayor Bloomberg’s Parks Department? There needs to be a moratorium on their tree destruction and some careful thought as to how we utilize our public space — in ways that benefit people, not corporations.