Memorial trees moved from grove

Kathleen and Jack Lynch stand in front of a sapling tree they replanted on May 17 in honor of their son Michael, a firefighter who died on 9/11. The Lynch tree is the only one from the May 17 still standing, with the other saplings moved to a more secure location.

In what can only be described as an ongoing saga, the fate of the 9/11-memorial grove in Ferry Point Park has changed again.

After a tender, heartfelt replanting of the grove last month, most of the trees have apparently been moved by an anonymous, civic-minded person who was worried the saplings would be destroyed because of foot traffic and horseplay on the path leading into the park.

The 15 black-birch saplings, part of the five “living memorials” to 9/11 victims from the Throggs Neck area in city parks, stood at the entrance to the park, near the spot where people gathered on September 11, 2001 to watch tragedy unfold before their eyes as the twin towers collapsed.

The Parks Department confirmed the recent removal, but could not answer inquiries about whether the same do-gooder may have been involved in the previous sapling disappearance.  

“Recently, an unknown person, without Parks’ authorization and unbeknownst to Parks, removed 12 remaining living saplings from near the parking lot and replanted them in the planting area adjacent to the knoll, within the Park,” said Jesslyn Taio, a spokeswoman for Parks.

Parks told Dotti Poggi, of Friends of Ferry Point Park, the latest incident was performed to save the living monuments from accidentally being damaged by park patrons.

The relocation of the trees   came as a surprise to Poggi.

“I just got a phone call over the weekend saying that [Parks] had decided to relocate the trees,” Poggi said. “I am in the process of getting in touch with Jack Lynch to tell him. Michael Lynch’s tree is still [standing] in its original location, as of today.”

Two other trees were damaged beyond repair and were not among those relocated.

Poggi had asked Parks to move up a green fence that was originally behind the trees, in order to close off the area where the trees were, and let them grow safely.

“I even went so far as to purchase fencing [for the site].” Poggi stated.

Parks expressed worry to Poggi, telling her that if she put up her own fence, she would be responsible and liable for anything that happened in connection with it. Furthermore, Parks thinks that the final replanting of the trees will serve them well.

“Since the saplings are now located in a more secure location than the previous location, Parks will not relocate the trees again,” Tiao stated.

Poggi is hopeful that the final replanting will also bring closure to the tumult over what to do with the trees since the grove was vandalized last November, and completely torn up in January.

The Parks Department urges all park goers to communicate concerns or suspicious activity to 311.  Using a common phrase usually reserved for crimes and terrorist acts, Tiao states, “If you see something, say something.”

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