New York City Trees: A Field Guide for the Metropolitan Area

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Overview

If you're not a tree lover now, this pocket-sized gem--dedicated to the idea that every species of tree has a story and every individual tree has a history--will make you one. Produced in consultation with the City's Parks and Recreation department and the New York Tree Trust, this book is a reference to the stories of New York City's trees, complete with photographs, tree silhouettes, leaf and fruit morphologies, and charming and informative explanatory texts. It is divided into four sections: "The Best Places to See Trees," full of insider's tips and helpful maps; "New York City's Great Trees," a directory of the oldest, strangest, most beautiful trees; "The Tree Guide," arranged for ease of identification by leaf shape and size; and, finally, "Sources and Resources" for future investigation.

With over 700 beautiful color photographs, drawings, and detailed maps, this is the ultimate field guide to the trees of the Big Apple and the metropolitan region.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

New York Magazine

The Parks Department's excellent field guide to more than 125 metro-area species proves that we're not all about asphalt.

Time Out New York

Contains vivid photos, maps and descriptions... famous individual trees... and suggested 'tree walks'.

The New Yorker

Explains which park was razed by Civil War soldiers, why Orchard Street is so named, and where to find the city's little-known sassafras thickets.

The New Yorker
While walking in South Africa in 1829, the British missionary Robert Moffat came upon a giant fig tree so large that, according to his report, it housed seventeen huts in its branches. The historian Thomas Pakenham, in Remarkable Trees of the World, spent four years searching for such giants -- "trees with noble brows and strong personalities" -- and recording their mythologies. The baobab, native to Africa, Madagascar, and Australia, was of special interest to him; according to African legend, trees were gifts to animals from the Great Spirit, and the hyena, enraged to be given the baobab, speared it into the ground, leaving its tangled roots to become branches. American trees are equally impressive: one of California's ancient sequoias, the "Stratosphere Giant," stands taller than a thirty-story skyscraper.

In 1848, New York needed trees: they were considered the "lungs of the City," according to a new field guide published by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, New York City Trees, written and illustrated by Edward Sibley Barnard. The guide describes more than a hundred local species, and it also explains which park was razed by Civil War soldiers, why Orchard Street is so named, and where to find the city's little-known sassafras thickets.

The environmentalist Robert Marshall's The People's Forests first published in 1933, urges public ownership of forestland to guard against logging and other urban perils. On the other hand, Marshall acknowledges the persistence of nature. "The death of the forest and the death of man are not quite the same," he writes. "When a man dies it is the end."( Lauren Porcaro)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231128353
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 8/29/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 482,834
  • Product dimensions: 4.02 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Sibley Barnard is an editor, writer, and photographer specializing in fully illustrated how-to and nature books for adults and children. He lives and tree-watches in New York City.

Columbia University Press

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Wonderful guide for identifying trees in the Metropolitan area

    Wonderful guide for identifying trees in the Metropolitan area

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Undiscovered country...impress your friends!

    So many times we walk around the city oblivious to the trees all around us. If you're looking for one resource to identify that tree right in front of you without overwhelming tree-geek-speak, this is the guide for you. It's small enough to put in your back pocket and easy to use. The guide is limited to those trees planted on our city streets so it's not bulky. I carry it with me all the time.

    Filled with beautiful photos and, yes, some technical data, it's everything you need to know to i.d. that tree and start to feel a kinship with the city's often ignored trees. As you become proficient in identifying the trees on your street you'll start to appreciate the variety and condition of the trees in the entire city. Each street will take on a different appeal and your friends will be impressed with your knowledge of city flora.

    It's also a great way to explore new neighborhoods. Each tree reference provides a community guide and locale for viewing mature specimens. A small blurb regarding the tree's city history and how it came to be a "City Tree". Do you know why there are so may London Plane trees on our streets? They were Robert Moses' favorite.

    Take a walk and enjoy the view. You don't have to leave our streets to experience the woods. Each block, every neighborhood, is an opportunity to enjoy these wonders that decorate our sidewalks and beautify our neighborhoods while scrubbing the air we breathe. Bring this guide along; it's all you need to know.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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