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Geraldo Rivera Pledges to Plant New Tree in McCarren Park

By Meredith Hoffman | January 14, 2013 7:48am | Updated on January 14, 2013 9:30am

WILLIAMSBURG — Geraldo Rivera proclaimed the news on his radio show: "The tree will grow again in Brooklyn."

After the white spruce Rivera donated to McCarren Park fell in Hurricane Sandy this fall, the Brooklyn-raised journalist has pledged to plant a new one its place.

"I swear to God let's do this," he said on his radio show Thursday of replacing the neighborhood's legendary sapling. "We'll deliver it, we'll make a big deal about it, we'll plant it...the tree will regrow in Brooklyn."

Rivera, who was informed by local resident Sandy Cheng of the uprooted tree, asked Cheng when she called into the show Thursday to find a replacement tree and that he would "bankroll it."

Rivera reminisced on McCarren Park as one of the main parts of his "early years" and lamented the tree's fall as "so sad."

And Cheng echoed earlier comments by neighbors that the "Geraldo tree" had become a centerpiece for community activities, holiday festivities and kids' games.

"Children played around it, they played hide and seek under that tree," Cheng said.

Rivera assured her that fresh branches would take their place soon.

"At least I'll leave some monument behind," he said.

A Parks Department spokesman said they had not received any communication from Rivera about the tree, but that the agency would welcome one.

"We have not received any formal proposals, but would be happy to work with Geraldo if he is interested in planting trees in Brooklyn," the spokeswoman said.

Rivera's office did not immediately respond to calls requesting comment on his plans.