NYC Parks Department says Agency Planting More Trees than Ever, Despite Inaccurate Reports
By Yehudit Garmaise
Many New Yorkers dream about thousands of additional trees potentially transforming the city’s concrete jungle into an urban forest.
Planting thousands more trees across the five boroughs would not only add much-need greenery and beautify the city, but trees also serve to absorb traffic’s dangerous carbon emissions, new research shows.
Gothamist reported that the number of trees that the Parks Department planted in public spaces across the city in the past year has fallen to the lowest level in 15 years, however, NYC Park’s senior press officer Dan Kastanis told BoroPark24 the number of new trees planted in the city is actually up.
Using the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (PMMR) which tracks the performance of city agencies, Gothamist reported that the number of trees city’s Department of Parks and Recreation planted last fall was 2,748, but Kastanis said that number is not accurate because the city’s tree-planting efforts are ongoing.
“We don’t plant based on the PMMR’s schedule,” NYC Park’s senior press officer Dan Kastanis told BoroPark24. “Our goal is to plant as many trees as possible in the most favorable conditions, which are unpredictable due to fluctuating temperatures.”
In 2022’s complete fiscal year, NYC Parks actually planted 13,000 trees, said Kastanis, who added that NYC is on track to surpass last year’s large number of new trees.
“Our fall planting season is still ongoing, and the PMMR is not reflective of our total tree plantings for the season, Kastanis explained. “In fact, our numbers our up.”
Last fall, the city actually planted 6,800 trees, which was up over the 6,118 planted in fall 2021, and dramatically increased from the 4,950 trees the city planted in fall of 2020, during the pandemic.
Many New Yorkers who look forward to seeing more greenery in the city remember when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in 2008 that he wanted to plant 1 million trees citywide.
“Whatever happened to Mayor Bloomberg's 1,000,000 trees being planted in NYC?” one Gothamist reader asked online. “I was happy to hear that years ago, I was hoping before my time is up, NYC would a lot less like a concrete jungle and more inviting.”
One New Yorker said she thinks the lack of greenery citywide adds to residents’ stress levels.
A Boro Parker, however, worried that more trees would take up the space that people need to walk and block the light the streetlights give off at night.
Menachem H., however, was open to more greenery in the neighborhood.
“Sure, why not?” said Menachem. “NYC has enough city life; more trees won't hurt.”