The city is planting one million trees —but hey, you left one naked!
That’s what a Morris Park Avenue shop owner is barking after the city fenced in all the other trees on the strip except for the one outside his store.
“It looks stupid when you walk down this block now,” said Jimmy Lanzetta, who runs Morris Park Flooring between Paulding and Colden Avenues.
Lanzetta was shocked when contractors working with the city’s One Million Trees Project recently installed wrought-iron fences around the other trees on his block, while ignoring his tree.
He tries to keep his storefront looking sharp, with Christmas lights in the winter and Easter decorations in the spring. But he said the lack of a matching fence around his tree sends a bad message about his business.
“It’s an eyesore,” he said. “Everyone’s been walking in the store and asking me: how come you didn’t get one?”
Slip thru city cracks
The Parks Department has the answer, albeit a convoluted one — Lanzetta’s tree is simply too old.
A city policy bars Parks from funding a fence around any tree planted more than two years ago. And the tree in front of his store at 1008 Morris Park Ave. misses the cut because it was planted in 2008, said Parks spokesman Nathan Arnosti.
The other three trees on the block were planted in 2013 as part of the city’s One Million Trees program, a public-private partnership that aims to grow one million trees over the next decade, including 220,000 on city streets.
Fences have been proven to help keep young trees alive by shielding the trunk from damage and its soil from pet leavings.
Lanzetta said that city contractors got his hopes up last year when they expanded the concrete area around his tree the same way they did the others on the block. But his tree was passed over this spring, although it looks primed for a similar fence.
“If you look at the bottom, there is enough space to put one of those fences in,” he said.
Parks has no problem with Lanzetta finding his own way to put a fence around the tree, as long as the city does not have to pay for it.
But the local businessman will have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to decorate his beloved trunk.
He can ask the Borough President’s office for help, shell out a donation to the New York Tree Trust, or even hire a private contractor, so long as he applies for a “Tree Work Permit” with the city.
“I’m happy to pay for it,” Lanzetta said, “But I need a permit? You must be kidding.”