UPPER EAST SIDE — A tree along the East River Esplanade had to be cut down because of damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy, the Parks Department said — saddening locals who wanted the city to inform them of the removal.
Some residents upset by the loss of the London Plane wish that the Parks Department had done more to inform them before the tree suddenly disappeared, they said.
The tree — located at the foot of the esplanade stairs at East 80th Street and FDR drive — had to be axed because it posed a threat to cars, department spokesman Philip Abramson said.
Wind caused the tree to lean dangerously, he added.
"Since it’s located over the FDR, it had to be removed for safety reasons," he said in an email.
It's unclear when exactly the tree was removed.
"It's not there anymore, and it's unfortunate," lamented David Rosenstein, who lives in the neighborhood. "It was beautiful. It was a canopy over that bridge, and it's gone."
Rosenstein said he wished officials would have done more to notify neighbors.
"If nothing else, they should tell us, 'We have to do this, and this is the story,'" he said. "Not just do it."
Replacing the tree will cost approximately $1,900, Abramson noted.
Some 25,000 trees were downed or seriously damaged by Hurricane Sandy, he explained.
"As part of a massive citywide cleanup effort, emergency crews from Parks and other city agencies, as well as contractors, worked hard to address each of the conditions to ensure public safety," he said.
The confirmation came shortly after department officials announced that some 90 percent of plant life along the East River park might have been lost due to Sandy.