Tree Down on Joralemon Street

Reader photo via Sara Weintrob

Many readers have sent us photos of a downed tree and subsequent damage it caused (ie smashing a car) earlier today.

BHB reader “Cindy” writes:

Just moments past noon today (7-13-11), I witnessed a large branch of a street tree fall on a passing car stopped at a light on Henry St. at the intersection of Joralemon. The branch landed on the front hood of the car on the passenger side. The driver sat for a moment, then shut of f the engine and got out of the car. He said he was not hurt, and he had no passengers. Police arrived within minutes, followed a few minutes later by a fire truck.

The tree is a Bradford Pear, which is best known for the mass of lovely white flowers it produces in early spring before the leaves emerge. It’s not uncommon for branches of Bradford Pears to break off like this. The acute angle of the branching allows moisture to accumulate, leading to rot.

Orange cones at the scene had been set up earlier by Con Ed workers, serving to surround a manhole cover ≈25 feet north of the intersection. One of the workers said the cover had been opened to check the water level around a newly refurbished Con Ed line.

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  • Heather Quinlan

    Yesterday I saw a branch fall on a car on Henry and Montague. Is the sky falling?

  • Reggie

    “Many readers have sent us photos….” So, do Sarah and Cindy win anything?

  • Homer Fink

    A Brooklyn Bugle t-shirt if they want!

  • William Spier

    The City plants these pear trees which produce heavy limbs the tree properties cannot support. I notice them broken all over the borough as well as at least two each year in back of our garden which faces Old Fulton. Two trees the City plants and should not: the pear and the Norway Maple, yet they do.

  • kcg

    I just want to thank everyone, including both owners of Iris Cafe and a nurse, who helped my boyfriend. He was walking our dog and the tree fell on them. After he pulled himself out, he realized our dog was missing, either under the tree or had taken off. Onlookers told him our dog ran off so he chased down and found him by our front door next to Iris Cafe. It was only then that he realized he was injured. Iris Cafe and the nurse took care of him until I got home and the ambulance arrived. We were sent to the trauma unit at Kings Co., but I am happy to report that Ari, although he looks like he lost a few rounds with the tree, will be fine.Thank you again to everyone who helped find our dog and watched over Ari.

  • bornhere

    Today’s tree was a replacement for a tree that was “rearranged” by a truck years ago; and by the time I got home this evening, it had been completely cut down, its massive limbs festooning both sides of Henry and Joralemon.

    William — I may be wrong, but I really thought the owner of 236 Henry planted this tree (and its sibling) himself.

  • AnnOfOrange

    New York City no longer plants these beautiful trees. According to the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station/Rutgers website: “Callery pears have weak branches due to their steep upright angles to the main stem. As these trees approach 15 to 20 years in age, the branches often begin to break off during wind or ice storms. Once the tree matures, there is little you can do to solve the problem.”

  • dog lover

    Some of us don’t think this was a Pear Tree, but a Little Leaf Linden cultivated in North America as a substitute for the native Tilia americana (Basswood or American Linden) which has a larger leaf, coarser in texture; it has been renamed “Little-leaf Linden”. the leaves are distinctively heart-shaped. The small yellow-green hermaphrodite flowers are produced in clusters of five to eleven in early summer with a leafy yellow-green subtending bract, have a rich, heavy scent; the trees are much visited by bees

  • kat

    @kcg, oh thank goodness! I saw it fall on him (he ran like a freaking action hero to try to get out from underneath) and called 911. I tried to get the people your pup was running past to stop her, but no dice. I’m so, so glad he’s okay!

  • William Spier


    You could be right about that. If the owner did plant the pear, it may be because the owner had only a few allowable choices.

    Japanese Hornbeans do very well although they do grow slowly. The City did plant a few along Henry near Clark; but if I remember, they planted a pear too. I am not sure though; I have enough trouble remembering the fifty or so different trees planted in our garden and I live with them every day..

  • kcg

    @kat. Thanks so much for your help. He was so focused on our dog that he just didn’t understand what had happened. He’s beat up, but should be good as new in a few weeks. Sadly, our pup got hit too which we didn’t realize, but he should also be ok. I think he is more traumatized then injured. All in all, a very scary moment that could have been so much worse.