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Heineken Plants New Trees in SoHo After Vandalism in Front of Billboard

MANHATTAN — As city officials investigate the illegal hacking last month of a pair of trees that obscured a SoHo billboard advertising the Tribeca Film Festival and Heineken, the beer company planted two new trees a block away this week as a "gesture of goodwill" following the mystery hatchet job.

Heineken worked with the city Parks Department to cover the costs of planting two 4-foot honey locusts on the southwest corner of West Houston Street and Thompson Street, a Parks Department official said.

As DNAinfo.com New York first reported, Downtown residents noticed in early April that someone had lopped off the tops of a pair of decade-old honey locust trees on the southwest corner of West Houston Street and West Broadway.

It's illegal to damage trees on city property, and violations can be punishable by fines as much as $15,000 and a year in prison, according to the Parks department website.

Heineken said it was not behind the "reprehensible" pruning and offered to replace the trees in front of the billboard, but the Parks Department said the trees could not be touched until an investigation of the vandalism is complete.

In the meantime, the beer sellers offered to plant the trees one block west, a spokeswoman said.

"The net outcome is there will now be four trees planted in the neighborhood instead of two, which is great news all around," she added.

The city has not yet determined next steps for the damaged trees in front of the billboard, a Parks Department official said.