Who determines who is a tree killing "madman?"

New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe is responsible for the felling of eleven 50-to-100 year old trees at Washington Square Park thus far.

(The prominent tree in the center of this picture was axed by the Parks Department, as were all the wonderful trees that lined the fountain area.)

300-400 trees were destroyed from two Bronx Parks to create the new Yankee Stadium. Benepe has proposed killing 14 trees at Union Square Park to make additional room for an upscale restaurant. Yesterday, at the City Council hearings on the Parks Department budget, I discovered that he wants “thousands” of trees to hit the chopping block — according to activists in Queens — to put in the controversial and potentially dangerous artificial turf that he is such a fan of at Ridgewood Reservoir/Highland Park.

It makes me wonder — who determines who is a tree killing “madman?”

If one gives the order, yet doesn’t hold the ax, isn’t it the same?

See following story.

From the New York Daily News on March 16th…

Tree Killing ‘madman’ axes Inwood

Police and parks officials are hunting for a “madman” who chopped down 30 young red-cedar trees in Inwood Hill Park with an ax last week.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said this is the second case of arborcide in the upper Manhattan park.

“I have no idea why somebody would do it,” said Benepe. “It appears to be a serial tree killer. It’s a crime against nature.”

The trees were planted in 1996 as part of a plan to reestablish woodlands in the 196-acre park. Parks workers found the small trees, between 4 and 8 feet tall, on their sides Thursday.

“It’s really discouraging that a madman with an ax would deliberately kill trees,” Benepe said.

“It’s crushing,” said Jennifer Hoppa, administrator of Northern Manhattan Parks.

Police are investigating, and parks officials are posting flyers and offering a $500 reward.

Under the city’s “arborcide law,” anyone who damages, destroys or otherwise harms a street tree or park tree faces a $15,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

Anyone with information should call the 34th Precinct stationhouse at (212) 927-2640.

“But if you see somebody with an ax or a saw, call 911,” Benepe said.


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3 thoughts on “Who determines who is a tree killing "madman?"”

  1. I was one of the “Queens” people who testified at the City Council hearings the other day…I think it’s a travesty what Parks Commissioner Benepe and Mayor Bloomberg are doing to our parks and green spaces…the Reservoir is a verdant gem in the middle of the City…When I was at the hearing on toxic turf awhile back, one of the people testifying said if the used rubber tire filler is so safe why doesn’t someone from the Parks Dept eat some…no one took him up on the offer…But I ask anyone reading this to join our cause by going to my blog or to the group’s site at:


    It’s not easy fighting City Hall and we need all the help we can get…thanks for listening…

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks so much for finding this site and leaving your blog address. Definitely think we can be allies on this. Your description of the Reservoir sounded amazing and the Parks Dept (Benepe/Bloomberg, et al.) need to stay away.

    Will be in touch –


  3. It would be a pleasure to join forces with a common-minded group like yours…Parks Commissioner Benepe and the Bloomberg Administration have shown nothing but disrespect for public opinion and an utter arrogance in their stewardship of our parks…Their use of toxic turf all over the City, which many say contains carcinogens, shows an utter disdain for our children…We have something else in common, we have retained attorney Joel Kupferberg in our fight against City Hall, I believe he also represents the public interests in the Washington Square Park fight…

    I recently spoke on behalf of the Ridgewood Reservoir – at historic Judson Memorial Church, across the street from Washington Square on West 4th Street – to the New York City Audubon Club and the NYC chapter of the Sierra Club, they were totally in support for our objectives to prevent arborcide at Ridgewood Reservoir…

    I would ask that you also check out my blog (below) Lost in the Ozone…


    I publish many newspaper articles on my blog concerning the Parks Department around the City, particularly in Queens…I think your readership would find many of the items of interest…

    Keep up the good fight at Washington Square Park so future generations can enjoy this important public open space and park…Thank you..


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