Storm Damages 1,000 Central Park Trees

By Ben Fractenberg on October 31, 2011 10:48am 

CENTRAL PARK — Central Park resembled a disaster zone Monday, strewn with debris from a freak storm that reportedly destroyed 1,000 trees.

Fallen branches still closed pedestrian paths after Saturday's record snowfall.

"400 acres have been damaged w/ poss of 1,000 lost trees. Pls support & RT," tweeted the Central Park Conservancy on Sunday.

The damage shocked local residents.

"Not even with a hurricane do you see this," said Donald Gottheimer, 65, who lives a block away from the park and was walking his dog Monday morning. "It looks like chaos."

The conservancy's website said all playgrounds in the park were closed Monday and that "visitors are advised to use extreme caution while cleanup efforts are underway."

Calls to the group were not immediately returned Monday.

Gottheimer said park workers will have their hands full cleaning up before the New York City Marathon next Sunday.

"You can't imagine they budgeted for this," he said.

Tourists were surprised by the weather.

"For me it's an unexpected surprise," said Pero Rout, 41, who was visiting the city from South Africa. "I've only seen snow once in my life."

Saturday's freak storm dumped 2.9 inches of snow in Central Park, the most ever in the park on that date since records started being kept in 1869.

City parks were closed Saturday, but reopened Sunday with officials warning park goers to watch out for falling branches and trees.

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