About 5 Trees Felled in Tompkins, But No Elms Down

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While Sandy hit the city harder than Irene did, Tompkins Square Park got off easier than it did during the storm last year, according to a gardener. 

Deborah Hulse, one of two park gardeners, was in the middle of another long day of cleanup this afternoon — the first day the park was open after the superstorm touched down late Monday. 

She said approximately five small trees, including a crabapple and two from the sycamore family, were felled by wind and rain — three of them in the park and two on the street. 

“None of our beloved American elms got knocked over completely, but several lost major branches that were very old,” she said. On the northern end of the park, one elm was cordoned off because its branch had cracked onto a neighboring tree. Ms. Hulse said a parks department forestry crew would determine what to do about the branch, which could break off and fall to the ground at any moment. 

The gardener said practically every tree in the park — including elms, oaks, lindens, and ginkgos — lost branches. “The place looked liked an explosion of branches,” she said, adding that some were the size of small trees. 

Still, the park didn’t see the sort of damage East River Park did. “Somehow we didn’t get the beating that other parks got, though it looked horrendous,” said Ms. Hulse. She added that visitors, some of which have volunteered to clean up, have been happy to return to the park, and squirrels have been happy to see them.

“The squirrels were like, ‘Will you please let the neighborhood people back in, because they feed us peanuts?'”