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J.J. Byrne Playground

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 Best Of Parks Awards: Tornado Response

September storm cleanup in Brooklyn’s Washington Park.
Malcolm Pinckney

Parks & Recreation held the 9th annual Best of Parks (BOP) Awards on October 28th in the City’s newest waterfront park, Brooklyn Bridge Park. This holiday week, Parks takes a moment to give thanks for the wonderful efforts of so many public service workers who came together after September’s storm.

On the evening of September 16th, a sudden storm system landed a historic blow on New York City, causing more damage from a natural event in at least 25 years, if ever. In less than an hour, two tornadoes and a macro-burst left a wide path of destruction from the southwest tip of Staten Island all the way into eastern Queens, roughly along a straight line on the map. Thousands of trees and tree limbs were brought down on homes, roadways, vehicles and in parks. Traffic was all but stopped in some areas, and electric lines and power were knocked out in parts of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. There was substantial damage to homes, sidewalks and facilities.

As dramatic and immediate as the damage from this event was the response of New York City government and its partners. Thanks to leadership from City Hall and coordination through OEM, City agencies instantly sprung into action. Parks operated well over a hundred forestry crews, public and private, each day after for weeks. NYPD and FDNY cleared roadways and addressed emergency issues. DSNY took the lead in debris removal. Con Edison cleared the electrical wires. City DOT and DEP sent inspectors, forestry crews and dump trucks. The National Guard and City SCOUT did damage inspections throughout the impacted zones. State and County partners including NY State Parks and State DOT, the Port Authority, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester all sent critical forestry and waste removal resources through mutual aid agreements. NYC Service organized volunteer efforts in coordination with Parks. The US Forest Service even sent their “hotshot” forest firefighters, who lived up to their billing. DDC arranged to get the sidewalks repaired when the debris was gone.

Together, all levels of government banded together to allow New York City to quickly recover from nature’s fury, an event the President recently recognized with a Federal Disaster declaration. As the 311 map of tree calls so clearly shows, trees were at the heart of the damage in this event. Never before has Parks received so much extraordinary help in a tree emergency, and Parks is grateful for this important collaboration.

At the Best of Parks awards ceremony last month, the following agencies and divisions were honored:

City Hall
New York City Department of Sanitation
New York City Fire Department
New York City Police Department
New York City Department of Environmental Protection
New York City Department of Design and Construction
New York City Department of Transportation
New York City Office of Emergency Management
NYC Service
Mayor’s Office of Operations, SCOUT
The New York Army National Guard
U. S. Forest Service
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
New York State Department of Transportation
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historical Preservation
Nassau County
Suffolk County
Westchester County
City of White Plains
City of Yonkers
Town of Hempstead

Parks divisions
Bronx Forestry
Brooklyn Forestry
Manhattan Forestry
Queens Forestry
Staten Island Forestry
Citywide Operations
Central Forestry
Capital Projects
Partnerships for Parks
Contracts Unit
Technical Services
Information Technology
Telecommunications

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. “
e.e. cummings
(1894-1962)

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