Category Archives: Trees

Lamp Posts, Martin Beck and Summer Meeting

From this to this:

Every so often we make an effort to clean up the lamp posts on the block. They’re a magnet for flyers for available apartments and for many other purposes. The Midtown Community Court has a program where those who committed minor offenses and whose sentences include community service will clean and paint the posts. They are good as new, at least for a while.

Lamp posts on the north side of the block have been done and we’re hoping the south side will get painted soon.

The large branch from the damaged tree in front of 359 W. 45th St. is still sitting on the sidewalk seven days later. We’ve called it in several times. But being August, perhaps city government is on vacation more than usual. We’ve also asked the Parks Department to determine if the rest of the tree that is still standing can be saved.

Martin Beck Theater through the years

Yes, it’s now the Al Hirschfeld Theater (302), but to many of us, it’s still the Martin Beck Theater. Similarly, the Aladdin Hotel (317) is still the Longacre Hotel and the Sherrie Arts (341) is still the Hildonia. We came across this web site showing the Martin Beck at various times going back to 1935.

Summer Meeting

We had hoped to schedule our regular summer Block Association meeting, but our regular meeting place at the 45th St. Theater is unavailable. We’re glad to see the theater booked, even though it’s not good for us. Charley O’s (an occasional back-up location) is gone and we really don’t want to go back to St. Luke’s Church on 46th Street.

So instead we’ll have an Executive Committee meeting this coming Thursday, August 9th. Most likely we’ll grab a booth at the Westway Diner on 9th Avenue (43-44) around 6:30 PM. If anyone is interested in joining us (as space will be limited), please send us an email or call to 212-581-9022. We’ll confirm by email one way or another when we decide where we will be.

We will cover block issues and you can raise problems on the block. If you can’t make it and have issues to raise, please send us an email or use the contact form on the web site at

New tree in front of 357 W. 45th

We were able to secure a new tree for the spot in front of 357 W. 45th St. As is often the case, it takes much too long to get a replacement tree when one is damaged or destroyed. According to Parks Department officials, Mayor Bloomberg’s “Million Trees” program is siphoning off many available trees, delaying needed replacements.

Nevertheless, we’re still glad to finally see that new tree. Perhaps the green will give some cheer to whatever residents remain in 357 West 45th St, the building appearing on the Public Advocate’s NYC Worst Landlords list with over 200 violations.

Destroyed tree

Destroyed tree

New tree

New tree

We lose another tree

The block has lost another tree, this time in front of 355 W. 45th St., closer to 9th Avenue. Other trees have suffered the impact of trucks or buses; this time we don’t have evidence of what caused this.

We reported this immediately to the Street Trees (Department of Parks) office, but they tell us it can take up to two years to replace a tree. It took almost that long for the one across the street at 360 W. 45th to be replaced. Ever since the city started the so-called “Million Trees” program, it’s been increasingly difficult to replace dead or damaged trees. They only plant new trees in the Spring or Fall, so if don’t see a new sapling in the next several weeks, then we might have to wait until the Autumn, or next year.

Almost two years to get a tree

Broken tree at 360 West 45th St.

Broken tree at 360 West 45th St.

It took nearly two years to replace a downed tree at 360 West 45th St. Since August 2008, when the tree was destroyed, we called the Forestry Department every few months seeking a replacement. Trees are planted only in the Spring and Autumn. But for the last few years, it seemed that Mayor Bloomberg had commandeered the process with his Million Trees plan. Trees aren’t available, they said. We don’t have the budget, they said. But finally, in early June, they came through with a new tree.

click to enlarge

Instead of planting the new tree in the existing tree pit, they dug a new tree pit a few feet to the West. What’s left is the old pit, sans tree. We’ve asked Forestry to pave over the old tree pit … something they normally do. They said they’ll look at it and try to get their contractor to pave it over — maybe in the Fall. The other option is to try to get the owner of 360 W. 45th to do the repairs. Normally owners are responsible for the condition of the sidewalks in front of their buildings, but in this case, they didn’t create the mess.