Looks like it’s Christmas in July for Woodhaven.
After upset Woodhaven residents called on city officials to replace the community’s holiday tree, which was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, with something more festive than the deciduous tree recently planted by the Parks Department, the city said there would soon be an evergreen at the spot on Forest Parkway near Jamaica Avenue.
“This tree was part of an annual tree lighting ceremony run by the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation and a source of year-round pride in our community,” Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association President Ed Wendell wrote in a July 7 email to Parks Department officials, area legislators, Community Board 9, and other civic leaders. “Sadly, it was felled by Hurricane Sandy, but the residents of Woodhaven gathered last December around an artificial tree under the expectation that a new holiday tree would soon be in place. However, what we currently see in its place is a completely inadequate replacement.”
The tree destroyed in Sandy was a massive structure that stood three stories tall and was used for holiday lighting ceremonies for nearly 30 years. Known to many throughout the city, the tree landed the number four spot in the Daily News’ top 10 holiday trees in 2011 – placing just behind the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in Manhattan and the Citipond at Bryant Park.
It was beloved by many – which is why after Hurricane Sandy took down the towering tree, distraught residents said they could not wait until it was replaced.
However, when the Parks Department did replace the tree, they did so with a small, deciduous one – not an evergreen tree that would allow holiday revelers to decorate its branches.
“We’re sure it’ll grow to be a lovely tree – but it’s a titanic step down and a huge disappointment to the residents of Woodhaven,” Wendell wrote in the same July 7 letter. “We’d like to get a better understanding of how this particular tree was chosen for such an important spot in our community, and we want to explore how we can get a tree more suitable to the history and traditions of Woodhaven.”
The Parks Department said it would plant the new deciduous tree in the neighborhood and plans to replace the holiday tree with an evergreen one in the coming months.
By Anna Gustafson