Corlears Hook Park protest

New York, NY, USA

Caged blossoms

Flowering cherry trees behind chain-link in Corlears Hook Park

New York, NY, USA

With the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project now in full swing, and the lower half of East River Park reduced to a devastated wasteland, the project planners decided that they weren’t quite done cutting trees. The designated victims this time weren’t in East River Park itself, but in the small adjacent Corlears Hook Park, on the far side of the FDR Drive.

Part of the ESCR plan calls for the replacement of the pedestrian bridge linking Corlears Hook to East River Park, something that is unarguably necessary: the existing bridge is looking increasingly dilapidated and perhaps even unsafe. Unfortunately, taking out a bridge requires heavy equipment, and the planners have decided that they need to turn the lower half of the park into another demolition site.

For a community already raw from the wholesale destruction in East River Park, this was insult to injury. In an added irony, the closure of the park and tree-cutting was scheduled for the moment of the year when the park's ornamental cherry trees were in full blossom. Over the course of a few days, most of the trees were quickly reduced to conical piles of yellow wood-chips. One last tree held out for a day or two longer, before being destroyed in its turn.