The remainders of a tree toppled by Hurricane Irene have plagued residents of East 22nd Street between Avenue W and Gravesend Neck Road, but, despite complaints, the city said it’s in no rush to get rid of it.
The tree fell over into power lines during the August 28 hurricane, and the city took days to remove the branches – leaving some on the block without power. But the stump lies on its side, at least three feet high, with roots dangling over the sidewalk on one side and the stump’s top creating a hazard for cars attempting to park. Underneath, the tangled fibers have proved a fine trap for garbage.
“It has to be removed,” said Tanya Brouk, a resident who works within spitting distance of the stump. “A child or anybody else could get hurt whenever they pass there.”
Though the city is ordering residents to repair the most minor of cracked sidewalks, they don’t seem to see the same urgency in the case of this stump.
“There is no sidewalk damage nor any trip hazard present and the sidewalk is passable for pedestrians,” said Meghan Lalor, press officer for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
But neighbor Fannie Kleinman and her son disagree. Her son, who asked not to be named, walks with his elderly mother, and embraces her for support. When they come to the stump, the usable sidewalk narrows, forcing them to walk single file and leaves his mother vulnerable.
“Until it becomes an emergency, the city won’t do anything,” Kleinman’s son said.
The Parks Department said they “hope to remove it by the end of next week.” However, residents told Sheepshead Bites that they’ve lodged multiple complaints over the three months since the tree fell, and the city has said before that it would be removed “next week.”