Bloomberg: “Bette Midler is the model for all of us”

New York Daily News
Harlem gets the 500,000th tree planted – with help from Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, Mayor Bloomberg
Friday, October 21st 2011, 4:00 AM

Mayor Bloomberg may get stumped when it comes to shoveling city snow, but planting a million trees across the city by 2017 appears to be a breeze.

Flanked by the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, Rep. Charles Rangel and neighborhood high school kids, Bloomberg planted a pin oak in St. Nicholas Park in Harlem on Tuesday.

The ceremony marked the halfway point – or 500,000th – tree planted as part of the Parks Department’s MillionTreesNYC initiative.

“This is an important day for New York City, because a really important tree is about to hit the ground,” the mayor said before lifting his shovel. “We are halfway to a million trees, and… we are 12 months ahead of schedule,” he boasted to applause.

“If Charlie Rangel could get those in Congress to do that, we’d all be better off.”

According to officials, 120 species of trees have been planted across the city since October 2007, with Manhattan getting 49,045, or nearly 10%, of the 500,000 trees; the Bronx getting 135,626 trees (27.1%); and Queens getting 123,452 trees (24.7%). Brooklyn has received 99,779 trees (20%) and Staten Island has received 92,098 trees (18.4%) so far.

MillionTreesNYC is a public-private partnership between the City of New York and Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project.

The Divine Miss M came to the mayor several years ago with the idea, one that he and Deputy Mayor Patti Harris at first thought was crazy. But it turned out to be inspired.

“I always say a lot of people that help this city are great New Yorkers, great Americans. But Bette Midler is the model for all of us,” the mayor said. “She really is somebody who has had great careers in her own life, but also manages to give back and make this city a lot better.”

Three thousand New Yorkers to date have volunteered to take care of the trees, pledging to water, mulch and weed. People who take a free tree-care class get a bucket or garden hose.

Brooklyn-born Knicks forward Anthony also got in on the act, pledging to adopt a tree.

“It’s great to be back in New York and to see it getting greener every day…” said Anthony, who promised to plant a tree outside his home. “Our kids need and deserve clean air, beautiful neighborhoods and the sense of pride that comes from working together to plant trees and care for them all over our city.”

For more information about how to adopt a tree, call 311 or visit

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