WILLIAMSBURG — Seven months after the beloved "Geraldo tree" was toppled in McCarren Park by Hurricane Sandy, the man who helped plant it is returning to put new roots in its place.
Journalist and Brooklyn native Geraldo Rivera — whose more than a decade-old green donation was a community centerpiece for McCarren Park families and environmental activists — is returning to the North Brooklyn spot this afternoon as part of an "informal community" ceremony, a Parks Department spokeswoman said.
"The tree planting is on!" spokeswoman Meghan Lalor wrote in an email, echoing the excitement of locals who lamented the former sapling's demise.
Rivera, who announced this winter that he would replace the fallen tree in the park, reminisced about playing in McCarren Park as a child on his radio show and called the tree's loss "very sad."
"The tree will grow again in Brooklyn," he said in January. "We'll deliver it, we'll make a big deal about it, we'll plant it...I swear to God let's do this."
For locals, who held holiday celebrations and children's games around the towering tree, the park hasn't been the same without it.
"Children played around it, they played hide-and-seek around that tree," explained resident Sandra Cheng, who informed Rivera of the tree's demise.
Starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, those games can begin again, when Rivera returns — just as he pledged this winter.
"At least I'll leave some monument behind," he said.