intersection 04.30.04


We're not really tree-huggers, but you have to admit that trees are having their moment in the sun.

Last week it was the tranny in a tree story.

This weekend, the cherry blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanic.

And up in the Bronx, the new visitor center, designed by Hugh Hardy, opens tomorrow at the NY Botanical Garden. As the Times reported, the center was built around the trees that are part of a "50-acre forest containing the last remaining stand of native oaks, maples and hemlocks in New York City, some of them more than 300 years old…"

There's a terrific book called New York City Trees, written and illustrated by Edward Sibley Barnard (Columbia University Press, $17.95). Learn about the Hangman's Elm in Washington Square Park, thought to be over 300 years old, where they hanged traitors during the Revolution, the tree in Brooklyn celebrated by poet Marianne Moore, and info on everything from Callery pears to Kentucky Coffeetrees.

In Harlem, where the Williams Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, ACP [131st/132nd] is now, was previously the site of the Lafayette Theatre, a significant legit theatre for African-American performances in the '30s. In the median across the street from the theatre used to stand The Tree of Hope. People leaned against it or rubbed it for the luck it was said to bring. Read here how a piece of that tree has become part of Amateur Night at the Apollo tradition.

"There's a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky." Betty Smith's classic, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, was reissued a few years ago with a new foreword by Anna Quindlen.

The northeast corner of 3rd and 13th is the site (right near Kiehl's) where Peter Stuyvesant planted a pear tree in 1647, said to be the oldest tree in NYC. (Kiehl's used to be called Pear Tree Pharmacy.) The tree was killed in 1857 by an accident involving two horse-drawn carriages. Last year, a new pear tree was planted on the site.

Tree groups: Trees New York, New York Tree Trust.

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