Hundreds of new trees

Dear Editor:
Jersey City and Union City residents, recently Mayor Stack mailed a letter about a park project for Washington Park (on the Jersey City-Union City border) in which he states “hundreds of new trees will be planted in the area.” I wonder exactly what he means by ‘area’ as the drawing on the letter, in fact, shows under a hundred trees. The letter does not, tellingly, mention cutting down most trees in the existing park.
These trees range in thickness from 4.3 feet to 9.5 feet. Their height is higher than the floodlights in Cal Ripken Little League, higher still than the houses and buildings along 2nd Street. As for age, they were planted sometime during the Great Depression era, around 80 years ago. One lone, surviving oak, could be over a 100 years old. The letter shows a drawing of the project with a dark “X” over the doomed
trees. Shown is a walkway around an island of trees that will be spared-4 small, thin sycamores. The island measures have lengths about 38 and 53 feet and widths about 33 and 64 feet.
An “X” wipes out a light pole on this parcel of ground and it will be removed along with its thickness of under a yard. The thicknesses of these trees are similar to that light pole: 30.75 to 32.5 inches. A DPW trash receptacle in comparison is 71.5 inches or enough space to hold 2 trees inside. Thus under the project which Mr. Stack approves, these puny trees keep their lives but the rows of majestic trees lose their lives.
What to make of talk of planting new trees? Here’s a sampling of new trees planted this year in Washington Park with an average height of 14 feet. New oak with 11.25 inch trunk, new maple with 7 inch trunk, new flowering cherry with 4 inch trunk, and another new maple with a 7.25 inch trunk. All under a foot thick compared to a sycamore now standing at 9.5 feet, a jolly green giant of a tree, I call it.
Mr. Stack writes about the fake field being “expanded” by 200 feet. Imagine if we stack up (no pun intended) the sycamore trees facing extermination. With an average height of 60 feet, they would measure nearly 8 times more than this 200 feet expansion, much more, in other words, than even the length of the proposed chemically-green field that Mr. Stack favors as landscape.
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” In the matter of the life or death of these trees, I cannot stay silent. Without them the park we have now expires and is replaced with a recreational facility instead. Mayor Stack calls that “tremendous” but I wonder if a cheer leaders facing a future of globing warming will shake pom-poms when the last, old tree comes crashing down near Cal Ripkin Little League. Sycamores No More.

Your fellow neighbor,
Tony Squire

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