Pacific Street residents will lose 20 street trees next week to make way for more construction at Atlantic Yards, and it could be decades before they are replanted.
"I am just horrified," said Christine Schmidt, a 59-year-old psychotherapist whose 7th floor apartment in the Newswalk building looks out on the trees.
Schmidt, who moved into the building 11 years ago, remembers petitioning to get the trees put in around 2002.
"They finally started to get beautiful and were finally stating to provide shade and I can't believe that they will ever replace them with trees of those size," she said
"It will take years before new plantings can reach the kind of stature that they can affectively be cooling the street and the sidewalks," she added.
The trees on the south side of Pacific Street will stay, but those adjacent to the rail yards, between 6th and Carlton avenues face, the (literal) chopping block next week.
The Parks Department gave developer Forest City Ratner the go-ahead to remove those trees, along with 66 others, in 2008 as part of approval for construction of the Barclays Center, residential highrise mega-project. Ratner has promised to replant 99 trees once construction is done, but the trees don't have to be returned to the same spots, a Parks Department spokeswoman said.
Forest City Rater intends to return the trees to Pacific Street, said spokeswoman Ashley Cotton. But when they will return remains unclear.
"We will get then in as soon as possible, but we will not replace the trees before we know our work is done," she said.
Dean Street Block Association President Peter Krashes said he's disappointed the developer isn't able to give a more concrete timeline.
"If they need to cut the street trees down for construction that's understandable, but they ought to be held to a timetable to restore them," he said.
"The trees in this location are really important because they block the view of the rail yard. When you cut them down you're moving them backwards in terms of livability," he added.
The trees are surrounded by expensive metal tree guards, which cost, by some estimates, around $700 a pop. Cotton says she's looking into giving them to either the Prospect Heights Street Tree Task Force, the Brooklyn Bears Community Garden on Flatbush and Pacific, or dividing them between the two.
"We understand the community frustration and we feel the same way," Cotton said, adding that she wants to "thank the community for their patience."
But with the current estimate for completion of the Atlantic Yards construction falling around 2035, Pacific Street residents may have to be patient for decades to come.