NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some residents in Queens are outraged after the city cut down several Cherry Blossom trees in preparation for a multi-million dollar glass atrium project.

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said the trees behind Queens Borough Hall were taken down to make way for construction equipment.

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The Cherry Blossom trees have been a staple of the area for years.

“It’s pretty devastating,” Croft told 1010 WINS. “People for decades have come to that area to paint, to sketch, to just lie down and read a book and now it looks like a tornado went through there.”

Croft claims a tree removal permit was not posted at the site.

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“They’ve cut down close to a dozen Cherry trees in full bloom,” Croft said. “It looks like a massacre.”

Croft said officials are claiming the trees were diseased and plan to replace them.

“Some of these trees are 40-years-old,” Croft said. “You can’t just destroy living infrastructure and just easily claim, ‘Oh, we’re going to replace it.’ That’s not how this stuff works.”

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The $21 million project is expected to be completed in a year.