Post-storm cleanup for gardens in Brooklyn, Bronx

Associated Press Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx were cleaning up and assessing damage from Superstorm Sandy Wednesday, but both planned to reopen this week, the Brooklyn garden on Friday and the New York Botanic Garden on Thursday.

More than 100 trees at the New York Botanical Garden, including "some of our ancient and most magnificent oaks," were destroyed, the garden said in a statement. Hundreds more trees were damaged, along with fences and other structures.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden lost about 20 trees of various types, but the garden's beloved cherry trees, which are the centerpiece of annual spring festival themed on Japanese culture, were not harmed, according to spokeswoman Kate Blumm. The garden's Japanese pond area, another favorite with visitors, was also not hard-hit, she said.

The Brooklyn garden's reopening Friday coincides with the start of a pre-planned free admission on weekdays that will last through March 1.

Many sections of the New York Botanical Garden, including its Victorian-style glasshouse, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, will reopen Thursday, but other areas, including its forest, Azalea Garden, Ross Arboretum, and Benenson Ornamental Conifers will remain closed until the damage can be fully assessed and paths cleared.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory houses the garden's popular annual holiday train show, which will open as scheduled Nov. 17.

Both gardens serve as repositories of historically significant and sometimes irreplaceable specimens.

The gardens are not part of the city's park system. Central Park, which reported that at least 250 mature trees were felled by the storm, remains closed along with other city parks as damage assessment continues.