Nosy Neighbor: What happened to the tree in front of PS 234?

Linda wrote in comments: I am wondering if anyone knows why the tree that was planted in front of the entrance to PS 234 maybe 17 years ago appears dead. It was planted in memory of Nick Silvestri, a beloved fifth grader who died in a tragic accident, and it flourished every year until now. (A memorial plaque is placed in front of it.). Additionally, the weeping cherry to the left of it also appears dead. I also want to thank the group that maintains these beautiful gardens.

The group in question is the garden committee of the PS 234 PTA, and indeed, they deserve tons of credit for creating and maintaining one of the prettiest and most texturally diverse gardens in the neighborhood. I am constantly taking pictures there — there is always something interesting blooming. They rely partly on the talents of pro gardener Mark Davies, who also consults at Duane Park, but mostly on the sweat of their team of volunteers.

So back to the trees: sadly, three were killed by a steam leak under the garden bed. And they will be replaced. There was a magnolia, a weeping cherry and an oak on the sidewalk, as well as some plants in the plot just north of the school door, near the magnolia, that were all killed. Magnolia trees are best planted in late fall or early spring, so nothing will happen before then.

And the magnolia tree is indeed dedicated to Nick Silvestri, who died in 2004; there is still a plaque to him at its base.




  1. That tree was not planted for Nick The tree planted for Nick has a small sign at its base and it is in the next garden plot over (to the North) on the street side. The tree is doing very well.

  2. This garden has beautiful flowers. Saddens me when I see it filled with trash from people.

  3. How about the sidewalk shed eyesore that’s been around the school for well over a year with no visible construction work going on?

    • I’m glad someone else brought that up; the shed has been up for well over three years, yet there’s no one ever working on it.
      More than a year ago I tried to get an answer from the school’s office, the school’s custodial engineer, and the Department of Education. No one had a clue as to when the eyesore would be taken down, or when someone would actually be working on it, or why it is actually up there in the first place.

      • That shed has been up for way longer than that — and I have asked the BOE for an answer on it at least 5 times. I will continue to ask — and I will repoint the thing myself if they will let me.

  4. I didn’t find Nick’s plaque last time I passed by and was quite saddened. Glad to know it’s still there and will definitely pay a visit.