Rogue tree branch in Central Park puts tourist in hospital - New York News

Rogue tree branch in Central Park puts tourist in hospital

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Advocate calls for change, park trims limbs, walkers keep walking

By MAC KING | Fox 5 News

NEW YORK (MYFOXNY.COM) -- A day after a falling tree branch struck a 59-year-old woman in Central Park on Tuesday, walkers, bikers and passersby could find crews taking buzz saws to some park boughs. St. Luke's confirmed the victim remained in stable condition Wednesday, while park-users found tape and barricades diverting them from the scene.

Among those forced to make a slight detour: a young girl in a stroller named Eva. She hitches a free ride through the park with her grandfather, Boris Khurgin, daily and relies on his navigation to keep her safe.

"I try to walk around suspicious trees," Khurgin said.

Still, most regulars Fox 5 found Wednesday seemed unfazed by the prospect of an unstable Central Park canopy.

"No, I do not worry about tree branches falling on me," boot camp instructor Maria Smallwood said. "I feel it's safe."

Jeffrey Tabeck doesn't work in the park like Smallwood, but does walk back and forth through it on his way to and from work.

"The Parks Department does a really great job," he said.

One man less psyched with the city's stray-branch-proofing efforts was Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.

"Decade after decade," Croft said, "[the city] allocate[s] a fraction of the funds needed to properly secure our parks."

Croft called this latest rogue branch part of a greater trend and not just a fluke incident.

"We're spending an enormous amount of energy on this million-tree program," he said, "but we're not hiring the proper people to take care of them."

The NYC Parks Department expressed its condolences for the victim after the incident occurred Tuesday, but did not respond to Fox 5's further requests for comment.

Since 2009, two people have died and another suffered brain injuries from falling Central Park limbs.

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