Elm Execution Stayed (For Now)

The elm tree on Hicks Street will live another day… for now. Brownstoner reports that the 145 Hicks (Mansion House) coop board meeting last night was held in the basement to avoid the general public from attending. "Tensions ran high" according to reports but the coop board did agree to further investigate tree-saving options while not rescinding its vote to chop.  Mansion House attorneys were also reportedly on hand to discuss the legal issues surrounding saving the American elm.

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  • Sebastian

    Let me state at the outset that I am favor for keeping this wonderful tree. If my comments seem one sided, so be it. My partner and I have been residents of this building for thirty-five years, The front garden, and the tree in particular, is one of the reasons we love the building so, and indeed has keep us here when we were considering moving. It’s always a pleasure to watching passerby stop to admire the building because of the garden and I feel lucky to be a resident.

    The meeting was held in our sweltering basement because the board decided that they did not want outsiders because this was a building issue. Wrong! This is a neighborhood issue and I know that many neighbors are as outraged over this decision to cut down the tree as most of us within the building. One ridiculous claim that the board is making is the fact that the tree is leaning and might become a liability. This tree has balanced itself for the past eighty-years and unless God hits it with a sudden bolt of lighting it could probable stand for yet another eighty or more. A letter was read from the neighbor directly across the street from our building, stating how important the tree was to her and that she would not sue should the tree fall.

    Another reason for our clandestine meeting was that they didn’t want word it gets out over disharmony in the building over this decision for fear it might lessen the value of apartments for future sales. Some of the new residence of this building might be thinking of it as just an investment or a “cash-cow.” This is my Home, and I can’t imagine not seeing The Tree as I leave and enter the building.

    Suggestions were made giving alternative methods for doing the necessary repairs and saving the tree. The broad seemed closed minded to most of them. The best comment of the meeting was by a resident who suggested that the final decision be made by the share holds and not by five members of the seven member board.

    I’d like to say a public “thank you” to Andrea Demetropoulos-Marcolini, friend and neighbor who has tended the garden and tree for many years making it a show piece. As a board with very little support she has fought and stood her ground against the majority to save the tree.

    The beautiful Elm tree that has graced our neighborhood for the past eighty-years should and must be persevered at all costs!

  • GHB

    Sebastian, who is the close-minded broad? Sorry, I just had to…

  • cs

    I think it’s a typo. I think he meant “board.” And that was a very good email from Sebastian. I hope the tree stays.

  • Heights

    I too was at the meeting on Monday night. The neighbor across did NOT say they wouldn’t sue if the tree fell into their building. Destruction of property is one thing, injury or loss of life is another. The board has a duty to act in a fiscally responsible way. I don’t think the tree is in danger of falling at this point. I hope a solution can be found to the electrical and water issues without damage to the tree. Even if the solution is temporary it will at least give us time to find a more permanant solution and the tree will be saved in the meantime.

  • No One of Consequence

    If the tree must go (and I’m not saying that I think it should) perhaps there are a few progressive things that could be done.

    This tree has shown itself to be resistant to Dutch Elm Disease (I don’t know what it is, or if this is true, but let’s assume). Have an arborist or other qualified individual take cuttings of the tree (i.e. clone). These can then be propagated and planted in other stands of Elm trees so that the genetic material that allows it to resist the disease can be passed on.

    One of these clones could be re-planted at the Mansion House so that the tree’s legacy can continue.

    Purchase carbon offsets so that the carbon dioxide that this tree would have been absorbing is still accounted for in other ways. (Planting the clones per above could also help with this.)

  • http://66squarefeet.blogspot.com Marie

    Quite accidentally I found myself under The Tree a couple of days ago. I had forgotten what street it was on and was jogging home. I actually screeched to a stop under it because I realized at once that it was THE tree. It is magnificent.

    I am no bunny hugger. I eat bunnies. With mustard sauce. But this tree is very special. It is old. Yes, one can get emotional about it. But is that bad? Perhaps because I’m not American (yes, I’m generalizing), even though I love this city and have lived here many years, I don’t see branches over a street and think Lawsuit. Or Death. Of course common sense dictates that its health should be taken into consideration, and that weak points should be monitored, and as I understand it, that has happened. As a garden designer, I know and have worked with Almstead (the arborists who have looked after the tree, according to this blog), and they are highly reputable. This tree should be a stop on walking tours of the neighbourood. It is gorgeous.