October 26, 2018
Today we learned from 3TC, that they will begin taking down over 30 trees along Covert Avenue; north and south of the railroad grade crossing between First and Fifth Avenues. They explained that the trees must be removed “…to make way for utility relocations in anticipation of the work on Covert AS WELL AS the under-grade crossing.” 3TC added that every tree removed off of the LIRR right of way will be replaced. The tree removal may begin as early as Friday, October 26th.
Naturally, the Village Board is very upset about this disturbing consequence of the third track project. Trees are a very important aspect of our village. They create the soft suburban character of our community. They absorb noise and cleanse the air we breathe. The trees often obscure otherwise unsightly views with their natural beauty. Many of you know that we are averse to taking down healthy trees, even when their impressive girth imposes on nearby inanimate infrastructure. We have always given the living tree every chance we can to preserve it – unless there is no other reasonable alternative. The Village Board has a program to plant more, street friendly trees that won’t interfere with sidewalks, curbs or overhead wires. We chide PSE&G for the way the trees’ appearance is butchered in deference to the wires that are strung through their branches.
These are some of the reasons the USDA Forest Service in connection with the New York State Department of Conservation and the National Arbor Day Foundation has designated New Hyde Park as a “Tree City”. These are also reasons why we are deeply saddened that this deforestation is happening in our village.
Not that it is any condolence, but our neighboring villages are going through a similar experience. Trees along the LIRR mainline are being removed to prepare for the construction work to follow. This has negatively changed the landscape in many places.
A treeless Covert Avenue is one of many hardships we will bear as the project gears up in the coming weeks and months. We will see the building at 124 Covert Avenue be demolished very soon. Covert Avenue will be closed in February for 6 months and the 24 hour a day excavation of the underpass will begin. The entire area will be a construction zone. To say that it will not be a pretty sight is a gross understatement.
We must take heart though, that this is a temporary situation. The project will be completed in the fastest way possible. New trees will be planted and grow in place of those that were sacrificed. The new trees will provide shade over new roads after the project is finally done.
The ultimate result will be a safer, quieter and landscaped roadway and underpass that compliments the suburban village it runs through.
And we will plant more trees.
Lawrence J. Montreuil
Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park