NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some residents of Fresh Meadows, Queens are feuding with the city over tree removal.

They watched this past summer as six dangerous trees were marked for removal, but the city hasn’t lived up to that.

To Howard Schlossberg and his neighbors, the tiny marker pins inserted into trees symbolize big problems: It means the trees are dangerous and must come down.

“They came out and marked the trees, but they are taking their time about knocking them down and taking care of it,” he said.

Schlossberg says at the end of July, a crew came to inspect six trees on 168th Street between 75th and 76th Avenues and deemed them unsafe. Since then, the city has only removed one.

“I am feeling bad about this. To get that one tree cut down, I had to call four times 311,” he said.

Some trees have holes in them. Others have lost their bark. Residents in the neighborhood want all of them down as soon as possible for safety’s sake.

“If I keep calling them, it’s my phone, my time, and they are not doing anything,” Schlossberg said.

Through the city’s Tree Risk Management program, dangerous trees are prioritized into four categories. Work is addressed for category A within seven days, which is the most dangerous; 28 days for category B, but for categories C and D, which the trees in question are under, there is no set time frame. That leaves the residents in Fresh Meadows in limbo.

“It’s supposed to be faster than that. It’s not good to keep it that long,” said resident Emad Badewi.

“I really worry about that, I am very angry with them,” another resident said.

Neighbors fear something will only be done if a crisis happens, so they’re hoping the city rethinks its approach.

“The city is very inefficient, it waits for an accident before they move,” said neighbor Manuel Kyriannis.

“If someone gets hurt, I will really make a storm about it,” Schlossberg said.

On the block, looking out for dangerous trees gives a new meaning to neighborhood watch.


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