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New Yorkers Fear Falling Trees As New Storm Approaches

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 6, 2012 8:40am

NEW YORK — Thousands of trees turned into a deadly force during Hurricane Sandy, killing people, crushing houses and cars, and causing blackouts by destroying power lines.

Now with a Nor’easter in the forecast for New York this Wednesday, residents fear trees weakened by the monster storm will cause even more damage.

“It’s a big concern because these are old trees and some of them are hollow inside,” said Olga Gurevich, 42, a musician from Sunnyside.

She said that during Hurricane Sandy three trees in front of her house fell and that one broke a window.

“Nobody was hurt but it was quite scary,” she said.

There were reports of fallen trees from every neighborhood in New York City, from Coney Island in Brooklyn to Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx and several incidents were fatal.

Among those killed by falling trees were two people killed in Ditmas Park in Brooklyn after an enormous tree fell while they were out walking their dog during the storm. Another man was crushed by a tree in Kissena Park in Queens, the FDNY said.

A massive tree that fell durine hurricane Sandy in Astoria trapped an elderly couple, including a 78-year old paralyzed man, inside their house on 28th Street for four days.

"They are traumatized," said their son, Paul Karamantzanis on Saturday. "They are freezing, and my father's blood pressure went up." The tree also tore down power lines on the street and smashed two cars.

Another tree fell onto the 5 train tracks in The Bronx last Tuesday, temporarily interrupting subway service, the MTA said.

It’s still impossible to count how many trees fell during hurricane Sandy, said Keith Mellis from the Office of Emergency Management.

“We are still in the midst of debris removal,” he said.

Asked about the predicted Nor’easter, he said the city is hoping for the best, but said it was impossible to predict the damage it might cause.

According to the OEM, residents can report downed trees to 311 or online here.

Many of the city's parks also suffered significant damage during Hurricane Sandy, and some remain closed.

Jennifer Hoppa, the administrator for Northern Manhattan parks, said that more than 100 trees in Fort Tryon Park had been damaged or destroyed.

At Inwood Hill Park, the storm uprooted several large trees, and fallen branches and tree limbs have rendered several walkways impassable.

Hoppa cautioned that the fallen trees are just the beginning of the damage.

“We ask for your patience and support during this process,” she wrote in an e-mail, saying that the process of reopening parks will take time.

Cherlynn Low contributed reporting.