To NYC Parks Commissioner Benepe: This tree at Union Square Park is not "dying"

Magnificent Tree at Union Sq Park City wants to cut downThis magnificent tree on the North side at Union Square Park is a Siberian Elm and one of the trees that NYC Parks Commissioner Benepe wants to chop down to put forth his and Mayor Bloomberg’s redesign of that Park.

Last week, ONE DAY after Commissioner Benepe asserted to me that 14 trees at Union Square would have to come down no matter what because they are dying,” the City presented in Court legal documents which state of the five “mature” Siberian Elms: “it is likely that two of those five would be removed in the near future for public safety reasons.” Likely. Not definitively. Two trees. Not all.

These documents reflect the City’s opposition to stopping work on the Pavilion at the North end and were entered into the court record as part of the lawsuit brought forth by community groups.

Mayor Bloomberg’s administration wishes to privatize the historic Pavilion and place a restaurant there.

To clarify, there was a restaurant at Union Square previously but it was located in the “sunken terrace” next to, not in the Pavilion. The Pavilion has always been allocated for Community use and historically as a location for activism and protest marches in the City. Presently, there is a temporary restraining order in effect and preliminary injunction on the cutting down of trees and a stop work order on the Pavilion site.

Will Parks Commissioner Benepe and Mayor Bloomberg ever reverse course and work with the truth and with communities?

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Photo: Geoffrey Croft, NYC Park Advocates