Wednesday, June 29, 2011

LIRR Destroys Forest Hills Trees on June 18th & Pledges To Alter More on July 5, 2011 - CALL TO ACTION!

 At the rate of the LIRR decimating mature, healthy, and stable trees in Forest Hills, which have not fallen since their planting a century ago, it may EXCEED the rate of the tornado's destruction upon our trees last September.

Ever wonder why some people go for the easy way out, and how some organizations which supposed to provide beneficial services to their communities turn their back? In this case, rather than pruning a tree to promote healthy growth, the Long Island Railroad figures just chop down our trees!

On the quiet Saturday morning of June 18th, the LIRR commissioned the ironically-titled Looks Great Services ("LI's Favorite Tree Care Co"), & rudely awakened the Forest Hills Gardens, decimating a healthy, historic Oak tree that was a monumental pillar for 100+ years. This came with just a couple of days prior notice, and after Congressman Weiner's resignation, since it was Congressman Weiner who worked with residents to try curbing the LIRR's approach. This follows in the footsteps of the countless trees the LIRR decimated in 2007. All that now remains is a massive stump, which is apparently not leaning towards the tracks, and is believed to be a lame excuse by the LIRR.

True that the trees are owned by the LIRR, but the larger picture is their membership in the natural environment, and by the people who admire their historic beauty and realize their means of purifying air and buffering noise from accelerating trains.

In the past, the LIRR said they would prune our trees, but instead chopped them down. Let's hope history won't repeat itself on July 5, 2011 between Ascan Ave & Station Square, when a LIRR-commissioned company returns to assess those century-old, graceful trees. After the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance & Rego-Forest Preservation Council led a highly successful Tree Giveaway Event in MacDonald Park on June 12th, in response to the Sept 16th tornado, the LIRR evidently defeated the purpose.

We The People urgently request a meeting and a public hearing from the LIRR, and want the LIRR and its commissioned companies to further halt tree destruction. New trees must be planted in place of those that prematurely perished, although there is no replacement for a mature tree. Our politicians need to join us in this movement.

- Michael Perlman, Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council


1. Councilmember Karen Koslowitz: (718) 544-8800,,
2. The office of former Congressman Weiner: (718) 520-9001,
3. Borough President Helen Marshall: (718) 286-3000,,,
4. Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi: (718) 263-5595,,
5. Senator Toby A. Stavisky: (718) 445-0004,
6. Public Advocate Bill deBlasio: (212) 669-7200,,
7. Community Board 6, District Manager Frank Gulluscio: (718) 263-9250,
8. Forest Hills Gardens Corporation: (718) 268-2420,
9. Carbon copy all letters with an update on phone calls: 

This is a letter sent to local newspapers prior to the June 18th tree chopping, which was also sent to this blog:
To The Editor:
In the aftermath of the Anthony Weiner controversy, his constituents are left without their David to battle the LIRR goliath. I learned from a work crew yesterday morning that the LIRR would be coming this Saturday to cut down yet another 100-year-old hardwood tree on their property adjacent to Forest Hills Station Square and across from the Tennis View Apartments.

After they clear cut most of the area back in 2007 and repeated efforts to have them replant the area were made, we are still left with an embankment denuded and not one inch of progress with any plan to restore the area.

Congressman Weiner had championed the cause on our behalf and was instrumental in getting the LIRR to use more discretion in the blowing of train horns as the trains passed through Forest Hills station. His office had been working to secure funding to rebuild the wall that the LIRR removed and replant the trees they cut down.

But it seems that in the power vacuum created by the scandal, the LIRR after four years has decided with only three days notice to the community that they are cutting down another old growth hardwood tree that towers above the surrounding neighborhood, providing shade to the street and buildings and a pleasant vista to the eye.

In related stories, the LIRR planted evergreens to replace the trees they removed around a Flushing station and Metro North after clear cutting along their branches in northern Queens agreed to pay $460,000 to replant those areas. So why is the LIRR so reticent to agree to make good on a promise to replant here in Forest Hills?

It seems strangely ironic that there is an encampment of media one block away waiting to pounce on the Congressman should he appear but a real human interest story that shows why his constituents are not overwhelmingly in favor of his resignation unfolds down the block and within ear shot of the chainsaws to come.

Russ Gundlach,
Forest Hills

PRESS COVERAGE - Response to the June 18th travesty

1. Forum West, Forest Hills Residents Slam LIRR For Tree Removal, June 23, 2011
2. Forest Hills Times/Queens Ledger series, Forest Hills Residents Still Frustrated With LIRR Actions, June 22, 2011
3. Forest Hills Patch, Residents Decry Loss of Century-Old Oak on LIRR Embankment, June 21, 2011

PRESS COVERAGE - In anticipation of LIRR's claimed "tree-trimming" on July 5, 2011

1. Forest Hills Patch, Gardens Residents Push LIRR To Restore Embankment Treeline, June 29, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment