Flower sour: Local man drums up opposition to new trees, plants

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He speaks against the trees!

A longtime Dyker Heights resident is going door-to-door drumming up opposition to a city scheme to plant flowers and trees throughout the neighborhood, and has already collected a whopping 135 signatures for his petition demanding the city back off its gardening scheme.

“It’s more work for the homeowners is how I see it,” said John DeAngelo “People are going to let their dogs go by and do whatever.”

The Department of Environmental Protection plans to install rain gardens on hundreds of sidewalks within an area roughly bounded by 11th Avenue, 61st Street, Bay Parkway, and 81st Street, which are made to absorb rainwater that would otherwise spill into the sewers and contaminate local waterways during storms, according to city planners.

The plan is to fill the gardens with cheery perennials, shrubbery, and trees, but the cynical Dyker Heights resident envisions pits overflowing with mud, garbage, and pests, saying the neighborhood would be better off with regular old slabs of concrete.

“With the amount of rain we get, all that the water’s going to do is turn the dirt to mud…I don’t think they’ll be effective at all.”

Reps for the Department of Environmental Protection rebutted DeAngelo’s arguments at a meeting of the Dyker Heights Civic Association earlier this month, saying the gardens are designed to drain in 48 hours or less — meaning water won’t be sitting long enough to attract mosquitoes — and claiming that city workers will clean the enclosures once a week. Residents can also opt for a concrete variant rather than a full garden, where rain falls through grates and onto a stone bed, soaking into the soil.

But DeAngelo doesn’t want to see anything new on his block — plants, grates, or otherwise — and the local offered photos of poorly maintained gardens throughout the city as evidence the city will forget the new infrastructure as soon as it’s installed.

“You’ll clearly see that the water sits there, which brings mosquitoes” said DeAngelo, referencing photos of rain gardens throughout the city. “The water is still going to sit there underneath the grate.”

Many other residents have warmed up to the rain gardens, especially after city planners explained at a meeting of Community Board 10 that it wouldn’t install the enclosures in front of houses with handicapped residents, which would block them from their cars.

“There were some concerned residents, but by the end of the presentation they seemed more receptive to the proposal,” said Josephine Beckmann, district manager at Community Board 10.

The agency says it will begin installing hundreds of the gardens throughout the area in 2022.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Updated 3:17 pm, September 30, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
The City needs trees, they help keep things cool, reduce haze, and since NYC does not yet use previous concrete, help with drainage from rains and melting snow. Hey John, if you don't want any trees around, get in your car and move to Arizona. Sounds like you'd fit right in.
Sept. 30, 2019, 2:38 pm
the order of things says:
Sidewalks for walking, and everything thing else second.
Sept. 30, 2019, 4:09 pm
Stephanie from Park slope says:
We have rain gardens in park slope and I love them
Sept. 30, 2019, 4:32 pm
Other John from Ditmas park says:
This John sounds like an a-hole.
Oct. 1, 2019, 7:27 am
John from Coney Island says:
“With the amount of rain we get, all that the water’s going to do is turn the dirt to mud…I don’t think they’ll be effective at all.” Therein lies the problem with Red America. People who don't KNOW anything THINKING things without knowledge. The Dunning–Kruger effect.
Oct. 1, 2019, 8:18 am
Elissa Settecase from Bensonhurst says:
There is no room on many streets for a wheelchair to pass let alone an electric scooter. When will the City start considering its residents with disabilities in these initiatives? They will exempt one house if a person with a disability lives there, but that only means that person can only pass outside their own home! They cannot even pass up their own block in some cases. Crazy not to consider this!!
Oct. 3, 2019, 6:21 pm
Elissa Settecase from Bensonhurst says:
Wheelchairs cannot pass let alone electric scooters. This is a total disregard of the city’s residents with disabilities. Exempting one house where a person with a disability lives only means they can only have access outside their own home. In some cases they won’t even be able to travel up their own block.
Oct. 3, 2019, 6:24 pm

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