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40-Foot Tree Comes Crashing Down in Greenwich Village

By  Natalie Musumeci and Sybile Penhirin | August 12, 2014 3:27pm 

 A 40-foot tree fell outside of a Greenwich Village apartment building Tuesday.
Fallen Tree in Greenwich Village
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GREENWICH VILLAGE — A 40-foot tree came crashing down in front of a West 11th Street apartment building Tuesday morning, residents said.

Tenants of the building, located between Fifth and Sixth avenues, said the trunk fell onto the sidewalk at about 9 a.m., directly outside the nine-story building. No injuries were reported.

“It was such a lovely old tree. It’s a real shame,” said Jane Studds, 50, who lives on the prewar building's fourth floor.

Some tenants blamed the destruction of the tree on construction workers, saying they sawed off its roots when they replaced a concrete slab of sidewalk last month.

“Construction workers were working on the sidewalk and weakened the tree by cutting its roots,” said first-floor tenant Eric Oxendine, 69, who heard the tree fall from inside his apartment.

“Thank God the street was quiet and nobody was hurt,” he said.

Construction workers at the building Tuesday afternoon disputed claims that they caused the massive tree to fall.

“We have nothing to do with it. We worked on the sidewalk but did not touch the tree,” worker Ahmed Chondary said.

Another construction worker, who witnessed the tree falling, said a delivery truck hit the tree and knocked it down.

“He did a reversed-parking and hit the tree. As the truck drove forward to park better, it pulled the tree down and branches broke its front mirror,” said a 27-year-old worker who would only identify himself as Joe.

A lawyer for 56 W. 11th St., Mitch Kossoff, provided pictures showing a truck owned by Nouveau Elevator with a broken driver's side mirror parked in front of the fallen tree.

Several calls to Nouveau's main number were not answered. 

A Parks Department employee on the scene said the tree will be replaced this summer.

Two construction workers involved in the renovation of 12 units in the building were hurt last week when the cables of the elevator suddenly snapped and dropped the elevator half a floor.

The workers had opened the elevator car’s ceiling hatch to fit pipes in the elevator, but the pipes got tangled in the cables and snapped them, officials said.

“It appears work in this building is being done unprofessionally and the incident with the elevator is just another example,” said a longtime 53-year-old resident, who asked not to be named.

Residents said the building has been without a working elevator since the Aug. 6 incident.

A representative for the construction company working on the property did not immediately respond to requests for comment.