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A tree grows in Bayside, to chagrin of some

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In the 223rd Street cul-de-sac between 41st Road and 41st Avenue in Bayside, a large tree growing at a nearly 45 degree angle to the street has caused some adjacent sidewalk slabs to protrude nearly six inches over the next in a step-like fashion. The tree is located between the sidewalk and the curb next to 222-31 41st Rd.

Some nearby residents, wishing to remain unnamed for the sake of neighborhood tranquility, see the tree as a danger and have marked the offender with a large white X.

"At one time the tree was standing upright, and it split in half, like somebody took a knife and sliced it in half on the top," one resident said recently in a phone interview, speculating that lightning had divided the tree. "But the rest of the tree grew back tilted. The part of the tree that was good was on the side of the street."

The sidewalk poses a real threat to pedestrians, she said.

"A little boy fell, and he was all bloody. He was riding a bike on that sidewalk," the resident said. "It's a hazard. There are little kids on the block."

And, she continued, some other anonymous residents think the tree ought to stay.

"The people across the street like the tree even though the tree is ripping up the sidewalk," she said.

The owner of the house at 222-31 41st Rd., Lynna Chan, could not be reached for comment. Technically, the tree is not on her property.

"If a tree is located between the sidewalk and curb it is a street tree and under Parks jurisdiction," a Parks Department official said.

She said that although no official complaints about the tree had been filed, the department would send an inspector to look at the situation. To repair the sidewalk, she said, the slabs must be opened by the city Department of Transportation to expose the roots of the tree, which would then be shaved.

Had the tree been located on Chan's property, she would have been responsible for the sidewalk cracks herself. "The homeowner would have to hire a contractor," the Parks official said. "They have to pay for it. They're responsible for the sidewalk in front of their property."

To file an official request to repair their sidewalks, homeowners can call 311 to make an appointment with the Queens Forestry Department.

Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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