September 7, 2016
The Kwanzan cherry trees on Bleecker Street fascinated passersby in the fall but especially in the spring. I, too, was taken with these trees. The trees were removed this week to accommodate the demolition of the NYU Coles Gym and the construction of 181 Mercer Street. Per a communication released by the university, an independent arborist concluded that possibly only three of the seven cherries "might survive a transplant under the right conditions" (emphasis in the original). Suitable relocation sites could not be identified in the neighborhood so NYU proceeded with removal with a NYC Parks tree removal permit. The wood will be donated to Big Reuse, a nonprofit that recycles and repurposes various types of urban wood. Finally, the university "is paying restitution to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and those funds will be used to plant new trees in New York City. In addition, at the completion of the project, NYU will be responsible for planting new trees around the perimeter of 181 Mercer Street." NYC Parks uses a tree valuation protocol to determine the replacement value of trees. I was not aware that the land in which the trees grew fell under the purview of the parks department but given its involvement in permitting the tree removal, it clearly has jurisdiction over this parcel. I am curious about the species that will be planted around the new university building.