Southern Brooklyn

After Sandy, City Axed Volunteer’s Efforts To Clear Major Roadways Of Fallen Trees In Emergencies

Photo by Bobby Fernandez

Emergency responders grappled to navigate Southern Brooklyn’s streets in the immediate wake of Superstorm Sandy, as scores of fallen trees blocked major roadways and residential streets alike.

But rather than let a group of do-gooders clear the way for fire trucks, ambulances and police cars, the Parks Department told them to mind their business.

Brooklyn Daily reports:

Once Hurricane Sandy left the city, Flatbush Shomrim founder Chaim Deutsch and his team began cutting up and carting off more than 75 uprooted trees blocking roads and preventing first responders and supply trucks from getting around Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, and Brighton Beach — until the city shut them down.

“We had a little problem with the Parks Department,” said Deutsch, who claimed that a Parks Department official told him to leave all the fallen trees left on city streets alone. “He said we’re not supposed to be doing that, but I said in a crisis, I’ll do whatever I have to.”

City officials told Deutsch that if the fallen tree wasn’t causing an emergency, its date with a mulch pile will have to wait two weeks — something a man with a gassed-up chainsaw at the ready can’t fathom.

… “Non-certified foresters who do not have permission from Parks should not go out with chainsaws and remove trees,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Megan Lalor. “It’s dangerous.”

According to Deutsch, who also works for Councilman Mike Nelson, Flatbush Shomrim disposed of 75 trees before the Parks Department shut them down. And in an emergency, he said, he’d do it all again.

Comment policy


  1. wish someone would go pick up the falled tree and masive pile of branches by Lincoln HS. the debris has been in the street since sandy hot and its unsafe to drive past it

  2. that’s why our government is so incompetent. it’s all about job security for themselves than for the people.

  3. My husband works for Parks, they were on it right away. I wasn’t through every neighborhood and street, but most trees and limbs I saw in roadways were out of the way within 1-3 days. I’m not saying it’s the most efficient department or anything, just telling you what I saw. Nothing against Shomrim or anyone trying to help, but really- there is some sense in NOT letting everyone jump in with chainsaws and whatnot.

  4. Why was this person concerned about his fellow neighbors? He should have been laughing and grieving at a marathon.

  5. Good for him-thanks for all of you help here in The Bay. In the aftermath of the storm I came across the FDNY Task Force who had just finished cutting down part of a tree that was blocking the Emmons Ave. end of Ford St. around the corner from where I live. One of the firefighters told me as they were leaving that their job is to clear streets that are blocked after disaster like Sandy. Though this team exists, I’m sure they and the Parks Dept. were overwhelmed with cleaning up. If someone knows what they’re doing and has the right equipment, I see nothing wrong with them pitching in to help. I would be willing to bet that in the harder hit areas like Breezy, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach and Staten Island that there were plenty of people who jumped into help that technically should not have-I commend them!

  6. In a city ruled by a tyrananical midget suffering advanced dementia, thug unions strangling the life out of an entire population, criminal politicians and thieves robbing victims left and right, WOULD ANYONE EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT TO HAPPEN? I know for a fact some of the bodies they are finding are city inspectors and other agents of bloomberg who have met their just deserts. GOD BLESS VIGILANTISM

  7. I know for a fact some of the bodies they are finding are city inspectors and other agents of bloomberg who have met their just deserts.

    Are you confessing a crime? Remember, IP addresses are traceable and death threats are not protected by the First Amendment.

  8. The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has several positions open, and you are welcome to apply.

    How about a City Park Worker (New Hire Rate: a whopping $29,271)?
    You will have to do the following:
    • Assist in general maintenance work, including lawn mowing, edging, seeding, snow removal, cultivating, fertilizing, sod laying and hedge trimming, sweeping and raking of litter and emptying of receptacles.
    • Clean and maintain facilities including comfort stations (read: toilets).
    • Perform minor repair work including but not limited to plumbing, masonry, electrical, painting, carpentry, metal work and vehicle and equipment repair.
    • Drive vehicles and operate certain other motorized equipment.
    • Perform safety checks on facilities and equipment.
    • May move furniture, climb, and perform other physical activities as required in the performance of assigned duties.

    And get this: “Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree a plus.”

    So, please post a scan of your completed application, or STFU.

  9. Your primate got it up the wazooo, that’s where you came from.
    Don’t make threats it ain’t pretty and you are not ready for big boy pants.
    Now I will ignore the poor little baby. I wait on Lev to eat you for breakfast.
    I wonder if he wants honey with his pancakes. LOL

  10. The tree in front of my parents house fell down blocking the entrance and driveway to the house. After the storm, my brother and I started cutting the branches to make the house accessible. About a week later my parents get a knock on the door and was told that they could get fined for cutting the branches. I don’t know if it was done intentionally but it took an extra few days for them to move the tree. The tree down the block was removed a few days earlier.

  11. Likewise!
    I was trying to gauge whether this is serious enough to be reported… [image: DISQUS]

    nolastname wrote, in response to levp:

    That’s it? LOL. All the best to you and your family.

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