The saga of the Weeping Cherry Trees on Roosevelt Island

The saga of the Weeping Cherry Trees on Roosevelt Island

Off to look into stories coming from residents about problems in Lighthouse Park, I found something else that stopped me in my tracks. It was along the East Promenade near Coler Hospital. A long row of recently planted cherry trees was dying in the sun, their thin branches bending down instead of up towards the sun. But in the end, it was a lesson in how wrong first impressions can be.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

I took pictures, tested the soil, then did the smart thing any conscientious reporter does in many circumstances. I called historian and Roosevelt Island activist Judy Berdy.

Newly planted cherry trees along the East Promenade.

Not only is Berdy a goto source for many things other than history – her volunteer work extends into the politics of good government, senior matters, art and institutional healthcare – she also has led the charge for restoring trees on the Island.

Last month, she praised the work of RIOC‘s head landscaper Matthew Kibby and his crew in planting dozens of young trees along the West Promenade. But now, they seemed to be dying, drying up under a hot sun.

I sent Berdy an email. No, it was more like an SOS. I asked her to use whatever leverage she had to get someone to come out and rescue the trees. I attached photos.

Berdy – and not for the first time – took me to school. A concise, eye-opening lesson.

The Weeping Higan Cherry Trees

“These are weeping Higan cherry trees,” she wrote. And in case I didn’t get the message, she added, “They are weeping.”

Weeping cherry trees are a type of flowering tree that is known for branches that hang down, rather than grow up. The branches of the weeping cherry tree can reach up to 15 feet in length, and the tree itself can grow to be about 30 feet tall.

The weeping cherry tree is native to Japan and has been cultivated there for centuries. The tree was first brought to the United States in the early 1800s and has since become a popular ornamental tree in many parts of the country.

The weeping cherry tree is most commonly planted as an ornamental tree and is often used in landscaping around homes and businesses. The tree is also popular in public parks and gardens and is a common sight in many parts of the country.

The tree blooms in the spring, and its flowers are typically pink or white. The flowers of the weeping cherry tree are very fragrant and are often used in floral arrangements.

The tree is also known for its fruit, which is a type of drupe.


Although the young trees look like they are struggling, they’re just expressing the awkwardness of youth. Their weeping will soon evolve into lovely sprays of color.

Thanks to Judy Berdy for her insights and to her, RIOC, Matthew Kibby and his crew for a job well done.

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