Six trees coming down in Rockefeller Park — maybe today

The Battery Park City Authority confirmed over the weekend that six trees are coming down in Rockefeller Park to make way for the state’s “Essential Workers Park” — and from the comments here, it seems the work may start today. Two diggers are in place as of yesterday, though it is going to take some serious work with cherry pickers to take those trees down.

Neighbors already protested on Saturday (N. sent these pics) and intend to be at the site again this morning.

If this goes through, there should be a charge of arborcide against the state. I am not joking. What kind of sane agency/government/elected official — which claims to be a steward of the city’s green spaces — fells six huge, spectacular trees IN A PARK in the name of a monument to serve the public? What kind of demented landscape architect designs a grove of trees by taking down a grove of trees?

This is the first offense. Then there’s the crime of adding paved paths through an already overused lawn. And then there’s an eternal flame, intended to be a somber reminder of the ultimate sacrifice — most often used as a remembrance of the war dead. How is that the right message here? And who can justify burning gas all day and all night? And putting fire in a public park that is specifically designed for active recreation and play?

I could go on, and have already, but the message here was to confirm that commenters are correct in both their ire and their predictions.




  1. Also could be worth contacting Jerry Nadler (his district) and/or AOC (vocal about environment, generally dislikes Cuomo). Only way to stop this is if the press picks up the story or via legal injunction. Absolutely can’t let the trees go down, like Robert Moses trying to pave over a playground in CPW.

    Another point aside from the immediate destruction of green space is that this will turn the entire park into an active construction site, disrupting a highly used area during the peak summer months at a time when residents need and deserve peace and quiet outdoors after a difficult year. At least delay the work until the winter and allow for community input.

  2. I also added Jumaani Williams to my letter. His office often responds quickly. Here is my letter:

    Dear Representative of our Fair City,
    Trees may be felled in Rockefeller Park today due to Gov. Cuomo’s plan to install a monument on the site of a children’s play area. This may happen today and a stop work order is ESSENTIAL and needs to happen fast.  
    There was no ZERO (0) public input for this project. None! This is a neighborhood with comparatively little green space. While the monument itself seems to be a heartfelt gesture honoring essential workers, the secretive way it has been handled and the misguided siting has been undemocratic.
    Please see to it that these 40 year old trees are not felled today.
    Heide Fasnacht

  3. if anyone has any connection to news organizations please contact them immediately!

    • Suvannah Guthrie lives down there. As does Jenna Bush. Someone could contact them; facebook, or if you see them in the neighborhood.


    People are there, children are there, the police are not bothering anyone. People are starting to slowly leave for work/camp/etc, if you have time, get there to provide reinforcements and be heard.

  5. Thanks to you, Urban Cowgirl and Heide Fasnacht for the contact info for various officials. Please note that Senator Kavanagh has no “u” in his name (or his email address). The email is

  6. Isn’t there an attorney out there that can file for a temporary restraining order? People can’t stay in the park forever.

  7. Ridiculous! Submit this to the major local news networks!

  8. we need people at the site!!
    *4:45pm Neighborhood Party at the site today* so that the orange fence doesn’t become a more permanent wall at 5pm.

    Share with neighbors.

  9. Too bad the park isn’t home to an endangered species. Anyone seen any rare birds lately?

  10. Thank you all for the information about how to fight this. I have signed the petition, written to all the contacts provided above.

    Is there any objection being coordinated on environmental grounds? In addition to the absurdity of cutting down mature trees, paving grass and plopping an artificial circle of trees in a park otherwise designed to complement the beautiful natural surroundings rather than competing with it, the concept of the eternal flame is really wrong. Would that be powered by natural gas and would it waste resources, cost money and create pollution?

    • Yes, most likely, yes and yes, though I am not sure how much gas it actually uses. The one at Arlington costs several hundred a month, but it all depends on gas prices.

  11. Thank you for publishing! Join the conversation here:

  12. Has anyone tried Senator Shumer? Or Amy Shumer? She has such a big social presence and is a New Yorker with a small child. I’m sure she’d be supportive!

  13. people need to get there now or someone needs to speak with cuomo directly- we have the support of local leaders and yet they are bringing in iron rods to erect a stronger fence to keep protestors out!

  14. All of the Democrats who elect leaders such as those running New York haven’t yet learned: peaceful protests don’t matter. Rioting, looting, vandalism, and attacking police officers might get some attention. Perhaps concerned citizens who elected these leaders should use better tactics.

  15. There was a WSJ article about this in March:

    Perhaps those with Twitter accounts can reach out to the author to write a follow up article?

    Irene Plagianos

  16. So well put; you said it perfectly. Can’t fathom how felling such beautiful trees that have grown over years and years is not a crime of epic proportion. To cause pain to a community over a memorial they don’t want is sickening. Oh and a memorial that reportedly has Cuomo’s name on it. So destruction of a community treasure over a vanity project…

  17. In all fairness, it did get some media attention back in March and apparently CB1 also opined on the idea earlier.

    That said, it’s still an honorable idea at exactly the wrong spot for all the reasons outlined above.

    • it is my understanding that the exact location -the open lawn where children play- was just released last wednesday. if it was in an area that wasnt taking away from sports and leisure activities, i don’t think it would be as much of an issue whether it was in the battery or not.

  18. I am an essential worker and live in the area. This news is devastating as this park has become a bit of a refuge for me and many other essential workers who need the space for our mental health. I have contacted the Governor and local legislators/officials via email. What else can we do?

  19. From Congressman Nadler

    Rep. Nadler
    New York’s essential workers deserve our honor and respect—and we can commemorate them with a memorial. But bulldozing vital open space in lower Manhattan isn’t the way to do it.
    needs to #PauseTheSaws and consult with the community on location and design.

  20. Also, a sincere and hearty thank you to the families who spent the night at the park last night. Their dedication to the park is amazing.

  21. communities have no say so any more. This is very sad to me.

  22. Happy to report that “City and State” has an excellent story on our pushback against Cuomo’s monument, with fine headline, “Battery Park City residents rebel against Cuomo’s planned memorial.”