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It’s leaf lunacy!

The city planted 10,000 trees and 2,000 shrubs in Marine Park last Saturday yet — once again — none of the carbon dioxide inhalers were planted where people could truly enjoy them!

All of the saplings were rooted near the edge of an untouched, mosquito-filled salt marsh used by nature lovers and bird watchers, but not near the heart of Marine Park — the section boarded by Avenue U, Fillmore Avenue, Avenue S and E. 33rd Street — where thousands of park-goers stroll every week.

“I don’t understand why they don’t put the trees where people can see and enjoy them, like around the oval,” longtime community activist John Manzola said, referring to the area where people of all ages jog, ride bikes or simply walk around while enjoying the balmy weather.

This salt marsh, which is located across Avenue U near E. 36th Street and a nearby golf course, are all considered part of Marine Park, but the core of the extensive greenfield — which some refer to as “Marine Park proper” — gets the most foot traffic and attention.

That part of the park was left tree-deprived — and far too sunny — after a Nor’easter blew through the neighborhood last year, toppling more than 50 trees, as well as 60 trees on surrounding streets.

A spokeswoman for the Parks Department said the massive planting — the largest in the city — was part of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to plant one million trees in the five boroughs over the next decade. A few days earlier, more than 5,000 trees and several hundred shrubs were planted in the same part of the marsh — the spot where the Army Corps of Engineers finished a wetlands reconstruction project.

The spokeswoman wouldn’t say why none of these trees were set aside for more popular areas, but claimed that more than 60 trees were planted “in the main part of the park” last fall.

“[Those trees were planted] to replace those lost in the 2010 storm,” she said.

Still, residents are hoping for a bit more “tree-lief.”

Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park), who joined Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and 900 volunteers at Saturday’s salt marsh plant-a-palooza, hopes to do just that: he’s setting aside $250,000 for tree planting and landscaping around almost-completed park house near Fillmore Avenue in the 2011-2012 budget, he said.

“I can’t say why the city wants to put more trees in one part of the park rather than the other,” he said. “Frankly, I think they’re both appropriate places.”

The long-delayed park house project is expected to be completed this fall.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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