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Workers Trim Central Park Trees Ahead of Hurricane Earl

By Ben Fractenberg | September 3, 2010 12:51pm | Updated on September 3, 2010 12:58pm

By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

CENTRAL PARK — Workers in Central Park were cutting down and pruning trees ahead of Hurricane Earl on Friday.

Earl is expected to bring sustained winds of up to 20 miles per hour by Friday evening and upwards of 40 miles per hour Saturday, increasing the possibility of falling tree limbs in the park.

"The conservancy will be closely monitoring the weather," said Kari Wethington, spokeswoman for the Central Park Conservancy, which maintains the park. "Over the weekend we'll have extra [tree care] staff."

The storm comes a little over two months after a 6-month-old baby girl, Gianna Ricciutti, was killed when a tree branch fell on her and her mother just outside the Central Park Zoo.

A falling branch also killed a man in February and another man was put into a coma after being hit in July 2009.

Some workers in the park said they weren’t too worried about the possibility of falling tree limbs on Friday or Saturday.

"We have tree care so we are not concerned," said Dorin Birca, 21, who drives a pedicab in the park. "They are cutting the branches that are about to fall."

However, a Central Park vendor said he became worried about failing limbs after Ricciutti’s death.

"We were concerned, but not after they cut the branches on these big trees," said art vendor Tenzin Kunga, 40, while pointing to trees along the park’s edge at 59th Street.

Jim Choate, 37, decided to take a jog around Central Park Friday. Choate, who is visiting the city from Texas, said he would be looking up occasionally at the branches while he ran through the park to make sure none seemed ready to fall.

"You guys have humongous trees here," said Choate.