Yesterday, we spotted a video posted on Reddit that shows a group of men in Kensington at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning chopping down a ginkgo tree with an axe, apparently to steal a bike. Today we received a tip today from reader Mike, who sent us the location of the fallen tree, along with the above "photos of the tree in Brooklyn the assholes cut down to steal the shitty bike." And two days later, that tree is sure looking sad.
We checked, and it's definitely the same tree, despite its withered current state, that is lying on the pavement at East 8th Street and Avenue C in Brooklyn. Mike told us that he recognized the block from the video as the same one where he walks his dogs all the time, one block from where he lives. He said he didn't recognize any of the axe-wielders, who some believe live on the block; he also noted that there really aren't many bikes locked up around that part of the neighborhood, because it's mostly red brick or single-family homes.
In NYC, it is illegal and punishable by law for citizens to remove, kill, or damage a street or park tree (fun fact: if you search "arborcide" in Google, the first link is to the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation). Unless, of course, those axe-wielders were Parks employees... which we doubt, for some reason.
TenThousandSuns, the original poster on Reddit, said the tree was planted by his father, which is what makes the incident really hurt: "My dad co-paid with the landlord for the foresters to plan[t] this specific tree. I don't know if it's actually his legally, but it's definitely his in spirit...my dad really wanted that type of tree as allegedly it's very long lived. A legacy if you will. I'll pass your knowledge on." You can watch the security video ("at 4x speed and 100x the rage") below.