Tree Care

Tree Care Committee

The Tree Care committee co-chairs are Julia Bradford, Suzanne Goldstein, and Virginia Pitman. Carnegie Hill residents see their team on Saturday mornings in the spring and fall pruning trees. However, they do a lot more where their hands are not so visible. CHN surveyed empty tree sites in Carnegie Hill as well as on an almost barren Third Avenue and applied for new trees through MillionTreesNYC. As a result, there are more than 180 new trees in the Carnegie Hill area, both in newly created and formerly empty beds. More empty tree beds in Carnegie Hill will be filled in the near future. The committee also assists in dead tree removal. For issues concerning dead tree removal please refer to this link.

The Tree Care committee also assists other groups with tree and planting projects; it has helped Hunter College High School select plants for their tree beds, offered direction to the greening project at PS 198, and pruned some growing saplings being tended to by the East Harlem Herb Gardeners.

This spring, the preferred planting around tree beds have been hedge type plants, which do not survive because they require a lot of water. Here is some advice from MillionTreesNYC about planting in street tree beds:

1. Use perennials, annuals and bulbs

2. Tree health comes first

3. Choose plants that require little water

4. AVOID planting bamboo, ivy, vines, woody shrubs or evergreens. They all require a lot of water and can harm the tree

Citizen Pruner Course

In 2017, Carnegie Hill Neighbors partnered with Trees New York to bring a Pruner Course to our neighborhood. Members of Carnegie Hill Neighbors joined together to take part in this wonderful opportunity to learn about tree care and to become certified tree pruners.

CITIZEN PRUNER COURSE DESCRIPTION

The Citizen Pruner Course is usually given at the Arsenal.

A healthy urban forest is invaluable to the health of our city. Trees improve air and water quality, lower air temperatures, reduce energy demand, and beautify the streets.

Stewardship and pruning hugely reduce a tree’s vulnerability to pervasive urban threats such as pedestrian and vehicular traffic, drought and storms. In New York City, where there is limited funding for tree maintenance but significant need, CitizenPruners provide a tremendous benefit to our urban environment.

Classroom Details: 8 hours in the classroom – Students meet for four 2-hour classroom sessions. The comprehensive curriculum includes tree biology, street tree identification, common tree problems and solutions, tree stewardship and pruning. After the in-class sessions, there is a 4-hour Saturday field outing to apply newly learned pruning skills.

Our NYC Chairman, Keith Powers assists in tree care.

Tree Guards

Tree Care committee members are asking buildings near trees newly planted by the City to fill their tree gators on a regular basis, at least once a week. Each new tree needs an advocate. If you can be that person, please contact CHN.

 Tree guards are the best way to protect street trees. The NY Tree Trust, created by the Parks Department in 1997 to foster public/private partnerships, now offers an option to provide guards in our neighborhood through a tax-deductible contribution to the Trust. These guards are attractive, available in both steel and aluminum, are three-sided and slope down on the street side, making them less likely to be damaged by vehicles.

There are 11 designs to choose from, and prices range from $525 to a little over $1,000 for a 5’ x 5’ tree bed. Contact James Kaechele of the NY Tree Trust at james.kaechele@parks.nyc.gov, who can assist you in choosing your preferred tree guard design. Be a Carnegie Hill Neighbors Tree Guard-ian! CHN will thank you in the Carnegie Hill News.

Streetscape

Carnegie Hill Neighbors strives to maintain and improve the quality of life in Carnegie Hill in a variety of ways that make our neighborhood unique. CHN’s Quality of Life Manager, Josephine Mazur, regularly inspects the streets of Carnegie Hill, notes any conditions to be addressed, calls 311 and reports any infractions that a city agency should fix, and follows up until the situation is rectified. She also calls 311 about issues noted in the evening by the CHN security guard such as unlit street lamps or graffiti on solid security gates, and meets frequently with the guard to review problems and progress.

Susan Gottridge oversees the many aspects of the following projects, many of which depend upon the cooperation or assistance of residents.

Cleaning Graffiti and Maintaining Street Furniture

If you see graffiti, please contact us with the location. State the address and whether the writing is on a building, solid security gate, mailbox, etc. Our detail cleaner cleans small graffiti spots on mailboxes, lamp posts, and sign posts as needed, and periodically we have large graffiti sites in the area cleared. For issues concerning overflowing of garbage cans, we recommend reaching out to DSNY through this link.

Because CHN’s detail worker cannot always hit every graffiti spot in Carnegie Hill, we ask all superintendents to keep their buildings and street furniture graffiti-free, and for residents to take the initiative on their block or corner by painting a sign post or mailbox.

When painting dark green sign posts, please use the color “Central Park Green.” For cleaning graffiti, we recommend GoofOff and GoofOff Graffiti remover.

At CHN’s urging, the city has recently painted most of the lamp posts in Carnegie Hill. However, CHN is prepared to handle any touch-up painting needed going forward.

Solid Security Gates

Solid gates are a magnet for graffiti, obscure visibility into a store and suggest an unsafe block to pedestrians. We encourage all store owners to install open gates. Solid security gates will not be allowed beginning in 2026.

Advertising Fliers

After receiving complaints about advertising fliers that were dropped on the steps of buildings and wound up blown around the neighborhood, creating a mess, CHN contacted the advertisers to let them know that their ads were turning into litter.

The distribution has ceased on the targeted block. Please contact CHN if these fliers appear on your block and let us know which stores are advertising. We will pursue the issue with the advertisers, the Department of Sanitation, and others.

Sidewalk Vendors

Most food and merchandise street vendors are licensed and authorized to set up shop on our sidewalks. We prefer that these vendors, who pay a nominal annual or seasonal fee to sell their products, not draw customers from our valued store merchants who pay rent, real estate taxes, and are subject to health and other regulations. Unfortunately there are few options for eliminating vendors, but the most effective are economic: if potential customers only patronize brick and mortar stores, vendors will leave. Also, a vendor who is reported for breaking a rule and fined frequently may ultimately leave.

Food Street Vendor Regulations

May not sell packages of cut up fruit or vegetables as they do not have proper refrigeration

Stands (and only stands) are limited to a display area of 10 by 3 feet

Regulations for All Street Vendors

May not vend within 20 feet of any entrance to a building or in a bus stop

Must be at least 10 feet from any crosswalk, driveway, or subway entrance

Must have all their items under their cart, not on the sidewalk

General Street Vendor Regulations

Are limited to a display of 8 by 3 feet

May not be on a sidewalk less than 12 feet wide

Must vend at least 20 feet from sidewalk cafes, at least 5 feet from public telephones and newsstands and cannot vend on ventilation grills

Must not display their wares directly on the sidewalk

Must not let their displays touch any building, lamp post, mailbox fire hydrant, etc.

Snow Removal

New York snow removal laws state that snow must be removed within four hours after snowfall stops. If the snow stops between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., buildings have until the morning to start removing snow from the sidewalk.

CHN strongly urges building staffs to avoid deicers that are harmful to trees, plants, pets and concrete. Magnesium chloride is the newest deicing salt and is safest for plants, pets, and concrete. It melts snow and ice up to temperatures as low as -13º F. Local superintendents recommend Safe Steps Power 8300, which contains magnesium chloride.

When the snow has melted, sidewalks should be hosed to remove ingrained residue left by snow deicers that can damage concrete and hurt plants and pets. Sidewalks should also be power-washed of gum and other waste frequently, and used after snow has melted.

Residential Garbage

Residential garbage may only be placed outside after 5:00 p.m. on the day before pickup.

Commercial Garbage

Commercial establishments may only place refuse out for collection one hour before closing. If the merchant’s waste is collected during the day, refuse may not be placed outside unless it is within two hours of actual collection time. Avoid tickets—sanitation fines are from $50 to $250.

Awning Regulations

ONLY a name and address are permitted with print limited to a 12-inch maximum letter height and 12-square-foot maximum area.

NO illumination of awning graphics.

NO awnings may be lower than eight feet above the sidewalk (except for a loose skirt, which can be no lower than seven feet.

General Signage Regulations

NO flashing, blinking, or moving signs are allowed outside of Times Square.

NO signs, such as ATM signs, may be hung from awnings or canopies.

NO advertising signs, including ATM signs, may be displayed for other than the resident business.

NO signs or posters are permitted on the walls of buildings in residential districts.

NO wall signs may project more than 12 inches.

NO perpendicular signs may project more than 18 inches.

NO ground signs may project beyond the building line.

News Boxes

Call 311 to report news boxes that are blocking cross walks or are abandoned or click here to file a complaint. If a news box is in front of your building, call the publisher responsible and request that it be removed. Such calls have been successful. Take a photograph of the newsbox to send to the publisher.

A Guide To Signage & Awning Regulations

CHN’s Newest Quality of Life Initiative

Clean Streets

The CHN Clean Streets initiative, formed in 2017, supplements the NYC Sanitation Department with a weekly maintenance roster that includes street sweeping, emptying and bagging trash bin overflow and general maintenance of Carnegie Hill’s commercial streets.

 In addition to street maintenance, our Clean Streets interns and staff receive hands on training from the NYC Parks and Recreation Department, whilst planting, caring for and maintaining an often overlooked green gem in Carnegie Hill; the little flower garden on the 97th Street Park Avenue Mall. Our Clean Streets team now waters, weeds and cares for the park, under the guidance of the District 11 gardener for Parks.

This program is made possible with targeted sponsorships covering: tuition assistance for training and certification courses, gardening tools and supplies. A community collective of local businesses has coalesced to create outreach opportunities for children and adults to experience this public green space with seasonal events held at the 97th street garden. Keep a lookout on our website for upcoming events.

Our Clean Streets Advisory Board

Lynden Miller

Founder, (parksgardendesign.com)
Professor, NYU Department of Art History in Urban Design & Architectural Studies

Mark Goldsmith

Co-Founder, President, and CEO
Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO)

Jose (Panama) Arboleda

Head Gardener, District 11 Harlem
NYC Parks & Recreation

Our Clean Streets Sponsors