NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – Friday, May 23, 2014, 2:31 PM

Dozens of protestors demonstrated outside of the Asphalt Green athletic field on Friday morning. Eight Bradford Pear trees were cut down on the property, which borders the site of the garbage transfer facility, to make way for construction of an access ramp. The eight who were arrested had blocked tree-removal crews from reaching the site and refused to leave when commanded to do so by police.




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Eight protestors were arrested early Friday for trying to block workers from cutting down trees as part of construction for the controversial reopening of a garbage transfer station on the Upper East Side.


“We begged the Department of Sanitation commissioner not to do this,” said Jeffrey Dorn of Asphalt Green, a nonprofit sports center located next to the transfer station site, which is on the East River waterfront, east of York Ave. at E. 91st St. “Protestors were here before 5 a.m.”


Eight Bradford Pear trees lining the north side of the Asphalt Green sports field were slated for removal to make way for construction of an access ramp for the transfer station — a project several years in the making that has been met with intense community opposition.


Dozens of protestors blocked a gate leading to the Asphalt Green property, preventing tree-removal crews from accessing the trees. A standoff ensued, and police ordered the protestors to disperse. Most obeyed, but eight did not and were arrested.



Carol Tweedy, executive director of Asphalt Green, was among the eight. Each was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, police said.


Following the civil disobedience arrests, the Bradford Pears were felled. Department of Sanitation officials have vowed to replace the trees once construction is completed.

The garbage transfer station, located just three blocks from Gracie Mansion, was shuttered in 1999. Under a program known as the Comprehensive Waste Management Plan, the site was selected to be reopened in 2016 to handle transfer of refuse from Manhattan. The purpose of the plan was to reconsider how waste is removed from each borough and to make the process more equitable. The station is meant to lighten the burden on neighborhoods in north Brooklyn, the South Bronx and southeast Queens, where much of the city’s garbage has been processed for decades.


“This administration has taken a new approach to implementing the city’s Comprehensive Waste Management Plan, which is guided by a commitment to fairness and borough equity,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said in a statement in response to Friday’s protest.


About 150 trucks a day will use the access ramp, a number that could rise to 500, officials said.

Locals fear an adverse impact on quality of life and property values from foul smells emanating from garbage-laden trucks and from an increase in traffic.


Locals fear an adverse impact on quality of life and property values from foul smells emanating from garbage-laden trucks and from an increase in traffic.


MARCUS SANTOSU.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (right), who represents the area, joined the protest.

“I’m ready to move after all of this,” said Malissa Young, a local mother of three who joined the protestors. She said she is particularly worried that the riverside garbage transfer station would flood during severe weather and befoul the neighborhood.


“It’s ridiculous. I thought this would never happen.”


Mayor de Blasio supports reopening the transfer station. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, state Sen. Liz Krueger and Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos — all Democrats representing the area — were among the protestors Friday.


Engineers are considering a plan to relocate the access ramp in response to community concerns, but removal of the trees was still considered a necessity, officials said.
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