West Village isn’t pining for trees, unlike Little Italy: Report

A tree-lined section of W. 10th St in the West Village. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

BY GABE HERMAN | Downtown Manhattan has some of the most and least tree-dense areas of the city, according to a recent study.

The report was done by real estate Web site localize.city, which ranked neighborhoods in every borough except Staten Island based on the number of trees per square mile. The trees considered for the study were those on sidewalks and maintained by the city.

The West Village has the fourth-most trees over all, with 5,102 trees per square mile. Park Slope came in third, Floral Park was second, and Cobble Hill was first, with 5,783 trees per square mile.

Gramercy was eighth on the list, with 4,687 trees per square mile. Other Manhattan neighborhoods in the top 1o included the Upper East Side at number five and the Upper West Side in 1oth place.

The city has made a push in recent years to add more trees, including the 2007 launch of the MillionTreesNYC initiative by the Parks Department under former Mayor Bloomberg. The one millionth tree in that program was planted in 2015.

There’s lots of greenery in the Village at Minetta Lane and Bleecker St. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

Parks also has a street tree map for the entire city, which includes statistics about the environmental benefits trees provide to New York. Each year, trees reduce carbon dioxide in the city by more than 612,000 tons and remove 635 tons of air pollutants. Trees’ other benefits include energy conservation, intercepting storm water, and of course shady relief on sweltering summer days.

In City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s recent progress report in this paper, he touted the importance of adding trees to the local landscape. He said he has allocated more than $800,000 for new street trees and tree guards in his Council District 3 (Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen), with several hundred new trees scheduled to arrive this winter.

Subsequently, in response to the localize.city report that shows the West Village is among the leaders in tree density, Johnson on Aug. 20 tweeted that every neighborhood should follow suit.

“As the councilmember for District 3, my goal is to fill every empty tree pit in our district with a new tree by the time I leave office,” he tweeted. “Street trees have many benefits and every neighborhood across NYC should be lined with them!”

The tree study included some sobering news for Manhattan, however, as two neighborhoods were among the worst in tree-density. The Garment District had the third-fewest number of trees per square mile at 327. And Little Italy had the fourth-fewest at 875 trees per square mile.