Washington Square Parks Famous “Hangman’s Elm” To Get Minor Surgery

Written by NY Press on . Posted in Breaking News.


Various community members, CB2’s Parks Committee and a representative from the Parks Department, met last Wednesday to discuss the department’s decision to do some pruning on the popular “Hangman’s Elm” in Washington Square Park. The nearly 250-year-old tree has vast community significance: It graces the cover of the Parks Department’s publication on “great New York City trees,” as well as being a popular hangout and landmark for locals.

The Parks Department representative, in his presentation on the planned modifications, expressed the Department’s desire to keep community members apprised of these recent development, which have been deemed necessary to preserve the health and structural integrity of the tree. The spokesperson assured community members that a full survey of the tree had been conducted, and this course of action guarantees the best possible outcome for the tree, particularly in preventing further damage and susceptibility to Dutch elm disease.

The discussion grew briefly heated as various community members, including a woman who regularly feeds squirrels residing in the tree, urged department members to look for an alternative method, claiming “the tree looks as green as ever.” Proposals involving tree limb support methods were also advanced. The department will go ahead with the pruning, employing climbers to reach affected tree limbs. Community members also pushed for greater communication and transparency on the issue between the Parks Department and the general, tree-enjoying public.

—Alissa Fleck

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