Storm Cleanup Goes On In Central Park

The massive cleanup is continuing this week in Central Park, where the severe storm of Aug. 18 battered landscapes and brought down more than 250 trees. The storm lasted less than 30 minutes, but left areas of the Park’s north end devastated. It also left months of cleanup estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tree Damage on the East Side Drive

Tree Damage on the East Side Drive

“It was an incredibly localized storm,” said Neil Calvanese, vice president for operations for the Central Park Conservancy, surveying the battered landscapes near the North Woods. “It’s unbelievable. You walk in the south end of the Park, below 90th Street on the East and 85th on the West, and there’s nothing – not a leaf blown off the trees.”

Among the hardest hit areas were the Peter Jay Sharp Children’s Glade and Great Hill, particularly its southern slope near the Pool. Since the storm hit, about 50 Conservancy staff members have been working tirelessly with 28 contractors to assess the damage, clear the debris, and secure affected limbs. Volunteers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have also been on hand, canvassing the Park to help appraise trees and determine their fate. Crews are on schedule to finish cleanup – the first of three recovery phases – and reopen areas to the public by Friday. The chipping and removal of trees will follow, with the final, and longest, phase being replanting and restoration.

While the damage is staggering, the Conservancy knows the Park is a living, breathing canvas that’s always evolving. “That’s the nature of it,” says Calvanese. “We’ll replant and we’ll restore these beloved landscapes.”

Please take a moment and contribute to the storm damage fund.

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