HELL'S KITCHEN — In its 25 years on West 45th Street, the soaring honey locust tree bore witness to birthdays, construction, block parties and more.
But all that came to a sudden — and loud — end early Saturday morning, when a dairy truck crashed into the tree, cracking its trunk and destroying the iron tree guard around it, neighbors said.
Residents said a Bartlett Dairy delivery truck lost control after blowing out a tire and slammed into the tree outside of the Sherrie Arts building at 341 W. 45th St. Cared for by the West 45th Street Block Association, 8-9th Ave., for nearly a quarter-century, the tree added a bit of green and shade to the urban block near Times Square.
Last year, a block association member had adopted the tree bed and planted pansies around the now-destroyed honey locust. The flowers were no luckier than the tree.
The block association plans to contact the city's Parks Department to get a new sapling planted in the spot, and hopes that Bartlett will put up the cash to pay for a new tree guard.
"It will be many years before we have a full-grown tree giving shade, providing oxygen and removing pollutants from the air," wrote co-chair Timothy Tanner on the block association's website.
"Our street trees are so vital to the health and beauty of the neighborhood — it's a sad day for the block."
Bartlett Dairy company did not respond to requests for comment.