Sunday, May 22, 2011

June 12, 2011 Tree Giveaway Event Helps Restore NYC's Historic Tree Canopy Since The September 2010 Macroburst

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Perlman, Queens VP
Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance

Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance To Hold June 12th Tree Giveaway Event - Restoring NYC's Historic Tree Canopy!

NYC's 5 Boroughs (May 22, 2011) - The boroughs are about to become greener at the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance Tree Giveaway Event. The first event of its kind in Forest Hills is scheduled for SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2011 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM at historic MacDonald Park on 70th Ave & Queens Blvd (circle). 
100 free trees will be dispersed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and property owners and representatives will line up, and have the option of adopting a Cherry or Blackgum tree by completing an agreement. The trees are approximately 7 - 8 ft, are potted, and weigh 30 lbs. Each property is eligible for 1 tree donation, and is required to be planted on private property within a few days of the event. 
After parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island experienced a rare macroburst on September 16, 2010, Queens VP Michael Perlman of the 4BNPA documented some of its devastation, sent a proposal to New York Restoration Project (NYRP), and developed a bond. 4BNPA agreed to host a tree giveaway event to restore the natural and historic beauty of our boroughs, with the volunteerism of members of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, which Perlman chairs in Rego Park and Forest Hills. 
Perlman explains, "Many people don't realize the benefits of our trees, until some of which were a century old, succumbed in seconds. We mustn't take anything for granted. Trees convey life, beauty, contribute to our environmental sustainability, and enhance property values. MacDonald Park was selected as the event site, in order to shed light upon a concentrated space that lost 60 mature and historic trees, and to initiate memories of a positive community event. Forest Hills was one of the greatly damaged neighborhoods, and we seek to restore its 'forest' factor. If all residents dedicated some time, we can make a major difference citywide."

Aimee Mara Zehner explains, "I was in it, hiding in my car, under an overpass approaching the Grand Central from the Jackie Robinson. I was blessed to be protected by an overpass. As soon as it passed and I could see, I began driving. It was the first few trees I saw, and I knew it was a tornado, and not just a blinding windy downpour. As I drove past more trees and then the cars, I cried. The devastation was horrifying. I was in shock for hours. The loss of the trees makes me cry when I pass them to & from work, since I appreciated them for years. When trees face mortality, it's a sad day."

Joseph Bruno of the NYC Office of Emergency Management reported 3,113 fallen trees in Queens, and 4,000 more damaged. Some of the most devastated varieties included Sycamore, Oak, Maple, Linden, Cherry & Apple Blossoms, Evergreen, and Weeping Willow. A fallen tree took the life of 30 year-old PA-resident Aline Levakis on Grand Central Parkway, cars were smashed, utility poles and traffic lights fell, and properties with major damage had to be condemned.

This tree giveaway event is made possible by the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance in partnership with New York Restoration Project and MillionTreesNYC (MTNYC), and through the generous support of Put Down Roots tree giveaway sponsor JetBlue, and MTNYC lead sponsors BNP Paribas and Toyota. Forest Hills Jewish Center will be the holding site for the trees prior to the event, and Key Food will loan load luggers to help transfer trees to MacDonald Park. 4BNPA and Rego-Forest Preservation Council will design an installation depicting the tornado's devastation locally, and name each tree on the basis of local "landmarks," notable residents, and historic street names. Students of the Queens Community House Beacon Program will design an installation of trees with poetry and slogans.

Tree Species Photos

Nyssa Sylvatica Blackgum
Prunus Cerasifera Thundercloud, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder
Prunus Cerasifera Thundercloud, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

Prunus Cerasifera Thundercloud, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder
Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis, Courtesy of midwesternplants com
Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis, Courtesy of midwesternplants com

MacDonald Park throughout its many seasons before the tornadoes....

MacDonald Park, where 56 trees fell after the tornadoes, with many more damaged.....

The monumental Weeping Willow trees outside The James Madison before & after the tornado...

More tornado destruction....


  1. Some work you put into this Michael. Hope it is a success history.
    Teresa Noonan

  2. Thank you for your kind words! It is my pleasure, as well as that of my colleagues, to create a promising event. We hope to repair the damage the tornado has caused to Parkway Village, as well as to other parts of our communities.