Shade trees chopped down in Oval, management says some trees were overgrown

Workers remove trees from the Oval on Tuesday.

Workers remove trees from the Oval on Tuesday.

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday around midday, workers began to cut down trees, specifically every other shade tree surrounding the interior walkway around the Oval, to the horror of some residents passing by.

The resident who snapped this photo reported, “This removed half the shaded areas covering many of the benches used by the tenants. These trees were planted a number of years ago when the tree service organization cut down all 40 of the original, mature and healthy, London Plane trees that shaded the same areas. London Plane trees have a life span of over 200 years. It took a number of years to regain the shade provided to the tenant by the current trees. When I asked the individual supervising the tree service personnel why they were removing the trees his only answer was ‘We were told to.’ It will take many more years for the trees that now remain to grow and possibly provide shade to the benches that the tenants currently utilize.”

This move follows work last month to remove much of the plantings around the Oval, that CW spokesperson Brian Moriarty said was part of ongoing landscaping around the entire property.

Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg, meanwhile, said she hoped the area would be replanted soon.

“When Tishman Speyer cut down many mature trees several years ago, we were assured they did so because the trees were beetle-infested or dying (whether one believes it or not is another story),” she said. “I would hope that is the case now rather than a sheer landscaping decision. Some of the trees in our community must be more than 65 years old and are treasures.  Moreover, they have taken out what was an absolutely beautiful and lush arrangement of plants and bushes around the perimeter of the Oval, leaving us with barren earth. If they don’t plan on replanting the area with an arrangement equally breathtaking, shame on them.”

A spokesperson for CWCapital did not respond to a request for an explanation by T&V’s print deadline on Wednesday.

However, on Friday afternoon, in one of CompassRock’s emailed newsletters, management discussed the ongoing landscaping work. One of the goals, apparently, is to remove trees that are “overgrown” as well to correct landscaping work done during Tishman Speyer’s ownership which eventually resulted in hundreds of newly planted trees dying or having to be removed from the grounds.

On the recent work in Oval crescent-shaped flowerbeds, in which plantings were stripped, CompassRock said, “This work is part of a property-wide landscaping stabilization program currently in progress, with the goal of establishing a landscape environment which will thrive for years to come. This requires the correction of programs undertaken by prior ownership, which did not ensure adequate care or space for plants to grow, including many instances of tree, shrub and flower plantings in inappropriate soil and sunlight conditions.”

Management also said the landscaping renovation includes “the transplant of trees and shrubs to other locations in the property; removal of several overgrown trees and plants; remediation of the soil; and improvements to the existing irrigation and electrical infrastructure embedded in the crescents. The new tree species being planted in the crescent beds will be lower in height and density, allowing the trees the space they need to prosper, as well as increasing  visibility into the Oval for both passers-by and security. When completed, the gardens will have a cleaner look and a new, lush ground with perennials to add color. The final plantings will be completed in the coming three weeks and new fencing will be established to protect the area and keep it healthy.”

11 thoughts on “Shade trees chopped down in Oval, management says some trees were overgrown

  1. interesting that they are removing all old trees, bushes, shrubs and plants and replacing them with new – especially in Peter Cooper. But yet we still don’t have finished basements or *GOOD* washer/driers! Stop with the planting and actually focus on services that we NEED. Those poor trees were perfectly fine!

  2. Numerous planted trees were ginko trees which upon maturity, about four to five years drop fruit which smells disgusting. There were hundreds of these trees planted throughout Stuyvesant Town. THen they were uprooted and removed. Luckily we did not have to experience the naseau enducing odors. Management seems to constantly re-landscape the grounds. Eventually they will get another MCI

    • Those trees were planted by Tishman Speyer when they had an absolute orgy of planting all over the property. They didn’t use any common sense or even sanity in the way they went about planting. Then, of course, the trees all had to be removed. The trees that this regime is removing are the healthy, mature shade trees that were planted 50 or 60 years ago and were the home to many species of birds (and, of course, squirrels). What this current batch of numbnuts has done is wanton destruction and I suspect they are doing it to make the Oval more amenable to commercial activities. Those trees they have murdered provided shade and protection to the grass during blistering heat waves and torrential downpours. Compass Rock sees nothing but dollar signs in everything they do and most of what they do is useless and destructive. I doubt they would have the intelligence and horticultural skills to plant a window box.

  3. Pingback: CWCaptial: This Is Why We Killed The Trees | Escape Stuy Town

  4. They didn’t chop down the trees that TS planted with impunity and thoughtlessness; they chopped down beautiful, mature shade trees that had been here decades and were perfectly healthy. I don’t think these “landscapers” could manage a terrarium! This is make-work, boondoggle, let’s pull in more fees business. They must think we are as stupid as they are corrupt. How insulting.

  5. “Overgrown?” A tree with an average life span of 200 years is overgrown at this point in time? Ridiculous. Also, they claim to be “replanting” many of the trees removed; I’m wondering how that’s remotely possible since they’re hauling them all, in pieces, straight to the woodchipper. Wow! These arborists must be super talented to pull of that kind of a feat! I had no idea that we were so very lucky to have such pros working on our behalf.

    Meanwhile, to all those folks (many without A/C) who used to sit on the benches in the shade, enjoying the lushness and cool shade those trees provided, I’d recommend some serious sunscreen & a very, very large fan (or three). Fear not- remember, patience is a virtue, in another short 50 or so years, you’ll once again be able to enjoy the reinstated shade, provided that you duck down, since they’ll be substantially shorter. But really, what’s another 50 years in the scheme of things? Such silly, silly tenants! Sometimes, they just don’t appreciate all that’s being done for them. How petty and greedy they often are!

  6. Well, Congratulations, Compass Rock and CWCapital! You have managed to completely destroy everything that was ever good about living in Stuyvesant Town. You’ve driven hard-working adult tenants crazy by flooding the property with noisy, boozy students; encouraged transients to come and go at will and now you have ruined the Crown Jewel of Stuyvesant Town: the Oval. I hope you feel very, very pleased and proud of yourselves. Bringing down those beautiful shade trees was the last nail in the coffin and you executed it with the panache of a hired death squad. Now, why don’t you all go out and celebrate tonight with nice stiff shots of hemlock. Make them doubles.

  7. Do the half-wits who “run” this property not realize that trees not only provide shade, but also absorb heat and generate oxygen? Leave it to this bunch of goons to cut down the biggest and most shade-providing healthy trees just as we are having a record-breaking heatwave! Not that there would be any excuse for their mindless barbarism even if we weren’t having a heatwave and the summers weren’t getting hotter each year. It would be really nice if there was some intelligence running this place instead of these profit-hungry, ignorant morons who haven’t got the brains of a tadpole. If brains were made of dynamite, this hideous bunch collectively couldn’t blow one paper hat off.

  8. Want to know which trees are coming down next? Keep an eye out for trees with yellow police tape tied around their trunks. I saw one like this in PCV. Some of the upper branches didn’t have leaves, so I guess this specimen is wood chipper–bound.

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