Woman Suffers Fractured Neck After Central Park Tree Crushes Her

Dashed Arrow Scott Heins / Gothamist

The 39-year old woman who was struck by a felled tree in Central Park on Tuesday sustained a fractured neck in the incident, and her two-year-old son suffered a fractured skull, according to reports. Update: The Central Park Conservancy says the tree was decayed. [More below.]

Anne Monoky Goldman was in the park at around 10 a.m. yesterday morning when the massive elm tree came down on top of her and her children near 61st Street and West Drive. Goldman was briefly trapped under the tree, and after FDNY rescuers got her out using chainsaws, she was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "She looked okay. She was talking when she went into the ambulance," witness Jaki Johnsen told Gothamist yesterday.

Goldman was in the park with her three children, two sons ages 4 and 2, and a 1 month-old newborn who was strapped to her chest. She was pushing a stroller when she was struck. "The tree fell, she never saw it coming and it landed right on top of her and her kids," witness Jack Jones told CBS 2. “It was giant, it was across all of them, we were able to pull the branches back and get the [kids] out pretty easily but then the baby was strapped to her so that took a little bit. They had the stroller tipped up against her so I think that kind of saved them.”

FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer told the Post, "The mother hit her head trying to shield branches from striking the children."

Goldman, who lost consciousness after the tree came down, was diagnosed with a fractured neck. "She’s still going through a lot of treatment, she’s getting a CAT scan and MRIs," her brother-in-law, Ryan Goldman, told the Post. All four Goldmans were hospitalized on Tuesday, and though Goldman's oldest and youngest children were discharged by the afternoon, her middle son, 2-year-old Grant, suffered a cracked skull.

The Parks Department told Gothamist they were investigating why the tree fell yesterday, and noted that the Central Park Conservancy is responsible for tree maintenance. The Central Park Conservancy has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Parks Department documents suggest that injuries caused by falling trees are rare in city parks, with data noting 31 people were injured by falling trees or branches between 2011 and 2015. Still, the incidents aren't rare enough. In 2010 alone, a 6-month-old baby was fatally struck by a falling branch near the sea lion exhibit at the Central Park Zoo, a 53-year-old man was killed when a branch fell on him near the corner of East Drive and 68th Street, and three people were injured when a tree branch fell on them near 74th Street and the East Drive.

The year prior, a 33-year-old Google engineer became paralyzed when a 100-pound tree branch struck him in Central Park. And in 2013, a woman was injured when a branch fell on her at 86th Street near Central Park West.

Update: The American elm tree fell as a "result of decay in the root system beneath the surrounding pavement," according to DNAinfo. A Central Park Conservancy spokesperson said, "The tree had been inspected annually over the last six years, most recently in November 2016, and there were no visible signs of decay or disease. The Conservancy employs tree crews seven days a week who regularly inspect and maintain Central Park’s nearly 20,000 trees according to industry standards."

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