Brooklyn Heights Loses a Weeping Willow

The Brooklyn Eagle’s Mary Frost reports that the weeping willow tree that’s called 75 Henry Street’s Whitman Close home for 47 years has fallen and died.

RELATED: Birthplace of Whitman’s ‘Leaves Of Grass,’ Cranberry & Fulton, 1949

Brooklyn Eagle: A gardener called in to cut the tree up said that it was very old – up to 75 years – and showed signs of rot. According to online sources, 75 years would be quite old for a weeping willow, but not impossible.

It is more likely, however, that the tree was planted when the 75 Henry St. complex, called Whitman Close, was built in the late 60s, making the willow roughly 47 years old. Older residents confirm that the willow was put in before the landscapers planted the London plane trees that grace the property.

If so, the tree was planted at the same time as the red brick print shop where Walt Whitman set the type for the first edition of “Leaves of Grass” was torn down. The print shop was removed to make room for Whitman Close, named in honor of the poet.

While the print shop is gone, old-timers say that its red bricks were saved, and can be seen embedded in the ground around the large circular planter near the A train stop on Cadman Plaza West.


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  • Andrew Porter

    75 Henry was built in the 1960s; I remember it as under construction in 1964, when I used to take the train across the Manhattan Bridge. By the time I moved to BH in 1968, the entire block bordered by Henry, Clark, Cad Plaza W. and Pineapple Walk had been leveled and was rubble.

    Don’t forget that the grassy areas in front of 75 Henry and other other buildings are actually rubble-filled a few feet down, from the demolition of the structures formerly there. So any trees now there likely have little deep root strength.