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Thousands of dying, dangerous trees along NYC streets after Superstorm Sandy

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Thousands of trees were lost because of Superstorm Sandy. But dead ones still line New York City streets. A branch fell from one in Coney Island a few weeks ago and it almost hit Jahna Siciliano. “I was coming out of my house to walk my dog and a huge branch, bigger than my body almost hit me and my dog,” Siciliano said.

Sandy’s flood water did more than just ruin property. The water deposited salt that seeped into the soil and that salt can kill trees. This happened across New York City in the areas that were flooded. And the trees were left to rot.

Ida Sarnoff, a nature conservationist in Brooklyn, said she started to notice the dead trees a few months ago. “It started in the spring, the evergreens turned brown first,” Sarnoff said.

According to the New York City Parks Department, foresters have surveyed close to 48,000 trees. In a statement a spokesperson said,  “At this time we are planning to remove about 2,000 trees and we will monitor about 4,500 others that had low leaf coverage this year. We are also continuing to monitor the soil around trees and test for levels of salt and other elements that may have gotten into the soil as a result of the storm.”

Tree removal will happen in all five boroughs but the Parks Department was not able to prove PIX 11 with locations.

Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates has criticized the Parks Department for its tree removal timeline. “It’s coming up on a year and we are just dealing with this stuff now,” Croft said.

Falling trees can be deadly. In early August a pregnant woman was killed by a tree in a Queens park. And while this Parks Department operation focuses on street trees, Croft said the city needs to put more resources into tree inspection everywhere.

According to the Parks Department, there are more than 40 foresters inspecting trees and 120 climbers and pruners. And the city expects to hire more foresters.

If you have a dead and possibly dangerous tree in your neighborhood, you can call 3-1-1 to report it.

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