Courier Life’s

Bobby's Department Store won't get fined for paving over tree pits

Bobby's Department Store is getting away with aborcide, neighbors say

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The city is treating Bobby’s Department Store with kid gloves, claim outraged neighbors who are slamming the Parks Department for not fining the store for systematically killing all the greenery around the Church Avenue shop — then cementing over the tree pits to prevent more trees from being put in.

The Parks Department removed two locust trees from in front of Bobby’s back in May — a move that coincided with the building of an extension to department store, residents say, adding that the city didn’t bat an eye when Bobby’s Department Store workers cemented over the tree pits — guaranteeing that nothing would grow in front of the store in the near future.

“Bobby’s new big entrance shows why the trees had to go: they were in the way,” said Ditmas Park resident Nathan Thompson, who accused Bobby’s workers of calling the Parks Department and reporting that the trees were dying and needed to be removed, even though they were perfectly healthy. “Even the workers [doing construction] that I talked to on the site admitted the convenience of the coincidence.”

The city claimed that it removed the trees because they were “in decline,” even though no disease or damage was noted in the report.

The Parks Department claims that it will not fine Bobby’s Department Store for cementing over the tree pits — the agency will simply rip up the sidewalk when they decide to put new trees on Church Avenue in the next 24 months.

“When Parks plants again at this location, we will make new pits there,” said Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department, who would not say why the city didn’t fine Bobby’s Department Store for sealing up the tree pits.

Residents say they are furious at the department store, claiming that the business has set back efforts to beautify the bustling but neglected commercial strip. “The removal of two locust trees from the strip in front of Bobby’s has created an eyesore for the neighborho­od,” said resident Barden Prisant. “There is room along that block for no fewer than five new trees. If these could be planted, it would at least help break up the visual impact of the crowds which invariably form in front of the store. I would ask that Bobby’s spearhead the effort to have those pits dug and new trees planted.”

A manager at Bobby’s Department Store said that it never pulled out the trees — the city did. The tree pits were sealed up so no one would trip and fall, the manager explained, refusing to comment further.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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Reader Feedback

Mark from Kensington says:
That area is one of the city's dirtiest, rudest and most unattractive. The residents of the area and patrons of Bobby's and other retailers are more accustomed to throwing their trash into the Subway tracks, side walks and streets then a garbage bin. The persistent double parking and illegal u-turns of gypsy cabs delivery trucks at any give time of day obstructs.....stops for long periods of time traffic from moving. People, kids shoot and kill each other...... I wonder if a young tree could even survive this toxic environment.....
Aug. 21, 2012, 12:17 pm
Once again, there's no substance to this story in the Murdoch owned rag. Whjen the City plants new treets, they routinly cut new tree pits in the cement. No trees could have survived the massive construction project. Bobby's in the anchor store on that strtch of Church Avenue and serves the rich and the poor. Stop knocking Bobbys!
Aug. 21, 2012, 1:17 pm
Dumb from Azz says:
@Mark - Yeah persistent double parking killed the trees in front of my house too.
Aug. 21, 2012, 7:46 pm
Jack from Prospect Heights says:
Bobby's is awful - and only a Department Store in the loosest sense of the word. I believe they should recieve a large fee, if nothing else to teach others that it's not remotely worthwhile to consider doing this.
Aug. 22, 2012, 1:22 am
Jill from Church avenue says:
@jack Yes I agree they should receive a fine because the park department removed the trees!!!
What would the lesson we learn from that be?
What did they do wrong again?
Oh yes fill in an empty tree pit.
Aug. 22, 2012, 10:15 am
Jack from Prospect Heights says:
Jack from Prospect Heights is awful!
Aug. 22, 2012, 12:46 pm
Mark from Brooklyn says:
Eli Rosenberg,
You are misleading your readers!
Aug. 26, 2012, 5:50 am
Jason from Fort Ashby says:
I like Bobby's because I can walk to it.....All in all.....this place is a hot mess.....I mean is this stuff hot?.... How do you have fines over cutting a tree down? Seriously people? It's a flipping sidewalk and a cut down tree you are bickering about? If it was not for my job, I would move back to West Virginia.
Dec. 1, 2014, 8:31 pm

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