January 26, 2012 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Wood chucked — into lake! City turns Prospect Park waterway into lumber dumpster

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city axed more than half a dozen tree houses in Prospect Park in an attempt to save a delicate lakeside ecosystem — but then tossed the lumber into the water, creating a whole new environmental no-no, environmentalists allege.

To prevent a small colony of homeless people from living inside rotting trees, the Parks Department deployed forestry workers to chop down the sickly arbors on the east side of the lake and turn them into mulch.

But workers instead dumped at least two of the trees into the already-fragile urban watercourse — a move that could threaten aquatic life in the lake by knocking lake oxygen levels out of whack.

“Excessive nutrients [from trees] can lower oxygen levels and kill fish,” said John Gross an ecologist with the National Park Service.

The tree trunk dump-and-run comes a few months after a thick pea-soup colored bacterial slime appeared on the lake, cutting off some oxygen to water-dwelling creatures.

That concerns wildlife advocates, who say anything that further depletes those fragile chemical levels is an affront to Brooklyn’s backyard — and its winged and gilled residents.

“All lake life is suffering,” said park watchdog Anne-Katrin Titze. “The lakeside looks like it was hit by a tornado.”

Park spokesman Paul Nelson said the city instructed crews to mulch the trees on-site and to take large ones to a Greenpoint facility to be chipped. But workers ran out of time and were forced to revert to plan B.

Nelson confirmed that the forestry team left one willow tree in the lake.

“The crew was unable to remove the entire tree [because] they started work late in the day, it rained overnight and the ground was too wet to return to the site,” said Nelson, of the Prospect Park Alliance spokesman

Nelson says having trees in the lake can be good for the ecosystem, providing nutrients and “shelter to fish, turtles, frogs and birds.”

But nature experts say it isn’t that simple.

“It’s a balance,” said Gross, explaining the way oxygen levels in aquatic environments work. “It’s a lot like sugar: Your body needs a little — but too much is not good.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:

How do you spell L-A-Z-Y?

Ever see those Parks Dept workers "working"?
Jan. 26, 2012, 9:51 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Leaving the trees to rot in place would have been letting nature take its course. Cutting them down to "save the delicate ecosystem" makes no sense. But OK, you cut the trees down to appease that clueless busybody Titze (sp?) and her sidekick. Some of the wood was left in the water, which is a perfectly natural thing that happens all the time in nature. And now the same group of people is complaining that that too is threatening the ecosystem? Come on! Stop throwing around the word "ecosystem" if you have no idea what it means.
Jan. 26, 2012, 10:27 am
Chris from Windsor Terrace says:
Anyone who believes that nature is taking its course in Prospect Park is the one who is clueless.
The lake is overflowing with waste and "some wood" is not left in the water. What has been created is a lake dump, that has not been emptied, nor mitigated in years.
Jan. 26, 2012, 10:48 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Prospect Park sucks! Cars, stupid cones obstructing the bicyclists, two winters without an ice rink...very disappointing.
Jan. 26, 2012, 10:52 am
Laura from Park Slope says:
Let us not forget all the concrete in the lake. Habitat for Humanity could build shelters for all the displaced tree people with all the materials unnaturally dumped in the lake.
Jan. 26, 2012, 12:05 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
They should have just burned them and been done with it.
Jan. 26, 2012, 12:57 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
They should have just burned them and been done with it.
Jan. 26, 2012, 12:57 pm
Andrew from Windsor Terrace says:
If they put any more in that lake, only alligators, snakes, and the creature from the black lagoon, could survive the mire.
Jan. 26, 2012, 2:08 pm
ro says:
breaking news - Anne-Katrin Titze spots several negroes in prospect park, and not the good kind. concerned they may linger.
Jan. 26, 2012, 2:41 pm
Josh from Park Slope says:
The standards are so low for the care of Prospect Park and they have been kept low by the Alliance.
Deny the obvious, and then if that doesn't work, concede as little as possible and keep the public ignorant.
Jan. 26, 2012, 3:05 pm
K. from Arkady says:
The algae blooms are caused by the massive amounts of fertilizer they use on the lawns. It runs off into the lake when it rains, and creates the blooms. I'm sure John Gross knows this. A rotting tree will not cause this. Look, why don't you just pave over the park entirely and have done with it. It's what most of you want.
Jan. 26, 2012, 4:06 pm
Clark from Windsor Terrace says:
Clean up the lake and start protecting the trees. There are so many issues left undealt with and we get no acknowledgement from the Alliance. They have dropped the ball, over and over again.
Jan. 26, 2012, 4:29 pm
Malembi from BK says:
Who gives a ——-it's a ——ing tree. in the water. wow. shut the —— up.
Jan. 26, 2012, 4:31 pm
Mark from Park Slope says:
Lower and lower the expectations go for Prospect Park Playing games with language and using those who are uninformed to help spread the disinformation.
Jan. 26, 2012, 5:13 pm
paul bunyon from deep woods says:
How about chopping the wood up, and perhaps selling it? I've heard that a few people in Brooklyn have fireplaces.
Jan. 26, 2012, 7:34 pm
Pearl from Park Slope says:
Bunyon, great idea, the Prospect Park Alliance could sponsor that on Groundhog Day.
Jan. 26, 2012, 8:05 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Indeed; I'm sure you could find plenty of rich fools who will buy waterlogged wood from a rotten tree for firewood.
Jan. 26, 2012, 10:13 pm
Frank from Prospect Heights says:
Has Park spokesman Paul Nelson seen the lake, never mind, his comments prove he has not.

On this rainy Friday morning, I guess no one from parks is working outdoors.
Jan. 27, 2012, 11:18 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
They're vacillating on whether they want the park to be a nature preserve or a cultivated garden. In a nature preserve you don't cut trees down or cull geese or prevent all outdoorsman activities. In a garden, you do. Either way is fine, really, because they both have their advantages. But playing fast and loose with the line between the two in order to beat up on homeless people or minorities or anything that gets your dander up while you're prattling on at high tea is intellectually dishonest and pathetic. How about devoting some of that energy to improving the liveability of the non-park areas of Brooklyn and building ties across all sectors of our communities? That would be super.
Jan. 27, 2012, 12:52 pm
Greg from Windsor Terrace says:
It should be obvious, even to Scott why Prospect Park's trees are dropping dead when the roots are rotting. The Prospect Park Alliance twiddles their thumbs and cannot even fill the holes of the uprooted trees and the rotten stumps removed.
Jan. 27, 2012, 1:22 pm
Karl from Kensington says:
Scott you sound like a real outdoorsman living in Park Slope. This summer you will be able to camp out with the rangers and compete for merit badges
Jan. 27, 2012, 2:32 pm
Drinkingat from workagain says:
throw the bums in the water with the trees!
Jan. 27, 2012, 3:27 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Greg is right - trees live forever.
Jan. 27, 2012, 3:47 pm
Paul from Park Slope says:
The ignorance that emanates from Scott's comments make him sound like a Prospect Park Alliance employee.
Jan. 28, 2012, 7:34 am
ro says:
i've no problem w. what scott's saying - sounds sensible to me.
Jan. 28, 2012, 8:06 am
Walter from Prospect Heights says:
Scott and ro could care less if all the trees die as long as the Alliance does not have to do any work or spend any money to deter the decay. Under their ignorance is bliss doctrine they would get rid of all the workers in the park while the decline accelerates at an even faster rate.
- sounds sensible to who
Jan. 28, 2012, 9:24 am
ro says:
to 'whom,' jerkoff.
Jan. 29, 2012, 12:55 am
Martin from Park Slope says:
What a coincidence that all these trees decided to commit arborcide at the same time and then throw themselves into the lake.
Sounds natural to me!
Jan. 29, 2012, 12:56 pm
Marion A says:
When did people start thinking that Prospect Park was all natural? It's man-made, the alleged 'virgin' patch has long been replaced. So there's nothing wrong with cutting trees down, dumping wood in the lake, or killing geese.
Jan. 29, 2012, 2:34 pm
Drew from Windsor Terrace says:
Blame the trees, blame the geese, blame the horses, blame the bicyclists, blame the pedestrians, blame the cars, blame the dog owners, blame the birders, and on and on.
This is how the Prospect Park Alliance plays the blame game. It is never their fault, and there are no problems, no worries, mate.
It is not your park, they think it's theirs to not do whatever they want.
Jan. 29, 2012, 10:14 pm
Marion A says:
but it's OK for drew to blame prospect park alliance. . .
Jan. 30, 2012, 10:01 am
James from Prospect Heights says:
Marion you clearly do not know Prospect Park and yet you do not hesitate to mouth off
Jan. 31, 2012, 4:36 pm
Marion A says:
James, very persuasive use of "clearly." It doesn't appear that you're adding anything to the conversation, so clearly you should go back to j-rking yourself off.
Jan. 31, 2012, 4:59 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:

Most parks are quite artificial. Forest preserves imply they are original forest that was set aside and spared development. The Thain Forest in the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is an example of the latter. Prospect Park, though, is really the former.

In the 70's they chopped down all the undergrowth in Prospect Park because crime was rampant and they wanted to decrease the use of cover in muggings. The current regime in Prospect Park wants to let the park 'return to nature.' OK, great. It's fine to do that, because a park, after all, is more like a cultivated garden designed for human recreation than a patch of original wilderness spared the depredations of development.

There's really no problem with choosing to follow either approach. Personally I love pristine nature, but also love parks/gardens designed and maintained for human use. The objection I have is when the definition that separates the two states is arbitrarily moved to practice racism and classism against people who have fallen on hard times.

For people like Titze, who play fast and loose with the definition of "environment" and "nature" in order to persecute harmless people with, gasp, dark skin, they ought to drop the pretense and simply state they want those people out of Prospect Park because they hate anyone who doesn't share their race, and/or because seeing them fills them with shame for the manner in which they got the wealth that separates their comfortable lives from those who are making do in hollow f-ing trees. "My Side of the Mountain" notwithstanding, camping out all the time is not a comfortable way to live.

For the record, I have nothing to do with the Prospect Park Alliance or employees of the Park or the City or anything else. I'm a resident.
Feb. 9, 2012, 11:54 am
Donna Harry says:
Any further feedback? Impact doors pompano beach
Feb. 11, 2012, 5:06 am

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