Some Brooklyn Sites Still Recovering From Irene

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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden and nearby Green-Wood Cemetery are still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene, nearly three weeks after it ripped through Kings County.

The cemetery suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damages to trees, monuments and obelisks.

"The most shocking things to me were the trees, where huge limbs were ripped off," Green-Wood Cemetery President Rich Moylan said. "Unfortunately, those trees are probably so damaged now that they're not going to recover."

Moylan said trees continue to topple because recent rains — before and after the tropical storm — have saturated the 478 hilly acres of the cemetery, a National Historic Landmark established in 1838.

Thousands of dollars in donations — Moylan put the number "in the low five figures" — have poured in since Irene hit following several email blasts with images of the damage, but there are still months of repairs to be done.

At the Botanic Garden, the Native Flora Garden will remain closed for another week, after a grove of four 80-year-old persimmon trees were uprooted and torn asunder by the wind. 

"A beautiful old wrought iron fence is now a two foot mangled mess, you know, after these trees come down on it," said Uli Lorimer, curator of the Native Flora Garden.

A sweet-bay magnolia was crushed, and the top of a 50-year-old beech tree that snapped off now hangs precariously overhead. The garden plans to hire a contractor with a crane to remove a mangled 10-foot-tall sugar maple stump.

Lorimer said various smaller "shrubby" plants like hollies and azaleas were "rudely treated" by Irene, but there is a silver lining.

(Photo: One of the many damaged tress at Green-Wood Cemetery./courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery)

"It's not all gloom and doom and boo-hoo because we lost trees," Lorimer said. "Storms, disease, other things take trees down and create light gaps in the canopy. And that's an opportunity for new things to take their place."