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Just in time for the holidays, New York Restoration Project and the New York City Parks Department presented a truly green gift to the residents of Bushwick. NYRP planted 74 new trees at Maria Hernandez Park to replace the damage caused by the September 16th tornadoes. After remarks from NYC Park’s Commissioner Adrian Benepe, NYRP Executive Director Amy Freitag and local officials, students from P.S. 123 read a heartfelt poem they composed about how much Maria Hernandez Park and its trees mean to them. In an impressive display, several attendees joined Amy Freitag and Adrian Benepe in opening an oversized gift box in Maria Hernandez Park, revealing one of the 74 newly planted trees.

More than three months ago, New York City suffered a severe blow when a tornado blew through three of its boroughs. On September 16th, two tornadoes and one marcoburst tore through neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. This massive storm uprooted and damaged more than 3,500 trees and cars, ripping off roofs from buildings in its path. The local urban forests were hit the hardest, especially Maria Hernandez Park. The massive caliper trees that once covered the park were uprooted by strong winds and split by lightning. The fallen trees littered playgrounds and basketball courts, leaving local residents with concerns about how to pick up the pieces after this unexpected storm.

After surveying the destruction, NYRP and NYC Parks worked together to create a restoration plan, which has since replaced the more than 50 trees lost in the storm and brought back life to Maria Hernandez Park. The new trees are a diverse group: Silver and Little-leaf Lindens, Pin Oaks, Japanese Zelkovas, Dawn Redwoods, Flowering Kwanzan Cherries and Yellow Woods which will afford the residents the health, environmental, and economic benefits that large caliper trees provide. The tree planting was made possible by MillionTreesNYC lead sponsors BNP Paribas, The Home Depot Foundation, Toyota, and proceeds from NYRP’s annual fundraising gala, Hulaween. NYRP donated $150,000 for the replanting and the Bryant Park Corporation and the 34th Street Partnership contributed an additional $100,000 in grants to support further landscaping and maintenance of the park.

NYRP wishes a green holiday season to Bushwick residents and all New Yorkers. Let the gifts keep on growing!

View more photos of Maria Hernandez Park by going onto our Facebook page!

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