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Mayor de Blasio Celebrates One Millionth Tree with Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bette Midler, Volunteers, and Community Members

November 20, 2015

One million new trees planted on streets and in parks across all five boroughs, two years ahead of schedule

City’s urban forest expanded 20 percent through MillionTreesNYC

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York Restoration Project’s Bette Midler to celebrate the planting of the one millionth tree of the MillionTreesNYC initiative two years ahead of schedule and encourage all New Yorkers to make a pledge to adopt and care for trees in their communities. The Mayor planted tree number 1,017,634, an American linden, at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx. At the event, Mayor de Blasio was also joined by NYRP Executive Director Deborah Marton, elected officials, third graders from PS35 Franz Siegel, and dedicated volunteers.

“I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for helping us build a more resilient, greener city for all New Yorkers. This one millionth tree highlights what New Yorkers can do when we work together for the greater good of our city, and is a strong example of the impact that volunteers are having in and around our communities every day,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Today is a major achievement in this city’s vision for a healthier, more sustainable city, and one that we are carrying forward through OneNYC.”

“We planted tree number one just down the road eight years ago and we've added one million more thanks to the dedication of so many: Mayor de Blasio and his team who carried the work through, our founding partner Bette Midler, the New York Restoration Project, dozens of members of our Administration and more than 50,000 volunteers,” said 108th Mayor of New York City Mike Bloomberg. “Each new tree planted makes our city a little more beautiful, the air we breathe a little cleaner, and our carbon footprint a little smaller. MillionTreesNYC was an important part of our comprehensive sustainability plan, which has led to New Yorkers breathing the cleanest air our city has had in 50 years. We worked extremely hard to expand and strengthen our parks, particularly in low-income communities. Seeing tree number one million take root is something we can all be proud of.”

“MillionTreesNYC has not only transformed our City’s green spaces – it has also helped reduce our carbon foot print and made New York more equitable for all New Yorkers, in all five boroughs,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This critically important initiative builds on the Council’s on-going efforts to make our City more sustainable and environmentally friendly and I thank Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor de Blasio and all of our partners for making this program a tremendous success.”

“We are enormously grateful to the thousands of volunteers, sponsors, and partners who donated time, energy, and funding to make MillionTreesNYC so successful,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, FAICP. “MillionTreesNYC was an unprecedented initiative in New York City and has become a renowned greening model used internationally. It has led to a host of valuable research regarding urban greening efforts and has transformed acres of parkland and streets into new, ecologically healthy, multi-story forests that provide benefits to all New Yorkers. Through the Mayor’s Community Parks Initiative (CPI), we will continue to make strides in creating an environmentally equitable city, engage New Yorkers in their parks in new and exciting ways, and reimagine our open spaces together.”

New York Restoration Project Founder Bette Midler said “There are now one million more reasons why New York is the greatest city in the world. Nine years ago, planting one million trees was a far-fetched idea. Today, we’ve done the impossible. One million trees means that every single New Yorker has a little more green space in their life. I’ve always loved this city, but I’ve never been more proud to call it home. Tonight, we’re lighting the Empire State Building, New York’s most beloved skyscraper, in forest green to symbolize the city becoming more sustainable and a healthier place for all of its citizens.”

“Greening every corner of our City is good for our economy, our environment – and especially good for the mental and physical health of New Yorkers. The achievement of MillionTreesNYC, along with the success of so many other city-wide public-private partnerships, demonstrates the power of collaboration. The Mayor’s Fund has proudly backed every aspect of MillionTreesNYC, from planting to ongoing care, and will continue to work with our City to create healthier spaces,” said First Lady and Mayor’s Fund Board Chair Chirlane McCray.

“Every New Yorker deserves the many benefits beautiful trees provide, no matter where they live or work,” said Deborah Marton, the Executive Director of New York Restoration Project. “With the planting of the 1 millionth tree in New York City, we have shown the world that it’s possible to bring green space to people everywhere – from backyards to sidewalks to neighborhoods. We’re proud to have collaborated with the city of New York on this truly innovative public-private partnership.”

“Everyone knows that trees drink up the carbon dioxide we emit, cool our concrete-laden cities on hot days, and are home to the diversity of birds who either live here or fly through during migration seasons. But in the glass, steel, brick and cement city we live in, they also remind us that we are connected to the planet and environment. Today’s saplings will grow along with our NYC kids to give their kids places to imagine they are in forts or magic castles or on a Broadway stage, and give them a cool spot on summer days to come,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Office of Sustainability.

“By planting one million trees, we have successfully improved the quality of our parks, streets, and other public spaces by increasing New York City’s urban forest by 20 percent. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor de Blasio, and the great Bette Midler for their partnership and their vision on this project. And of course, I thank every New Yorker who volunteered their time and effort to making this project a reality. Green spaces and urban parks not only present great environmental benefits, but provide tremendous quality-of-life benefits for all New Yorkers,” said Public Advocate Tish James.

“New York City is a healthier, greener, and more livable place because Mayor Bloomberg set the ambitious goal of planting one million trees eight years ago. Now, ahead of schedule, we are set to plant our one millionth tree, which is a true testament to the collaborative spirit we share as New Yorkers,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Committee on Parks. “The contributions of community volunteers who got their hands dirty, helped plant lasting roots, and promoted the principles of environmental stewardship were instrumental to making this achievement possible. Now, more than ever, we need New Yorkers to continue to step up as guardians of trees in their neighborhood and the city to commit the necessary resources to allow street trees to flourish.”

“Mayor Bloomberg's One Million Trees Initiative was the kind of smart, bold move that delivers progress on multiple fronts,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “A sustained campaign of tree-planting at this scale gave our city opportunities to address heat islands, stormwater management, street and park beautification, inequities in neighborhoods without enough trees and parkland, and more. This project shows what's possible when we think big, and I thank both mayors for their vision in pursuing it.”

“Brooklyn is a greater, greener place thanks to MillionTreesNYC, an initiative that has resulted in over 180,000 additional trees across our borough,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “These plantings have helped our city breathe easier and look better than ever before, making a real impact in neighborhoods from East Williamsburg to East New York. MillionTreesNYC is proof positive of the potential that public-private partnerships have to transform the landscape of New York City, literally and figuratively, for the better.”
“The vital and ambitious MillionTreesNYC program represented a major step toward transforming New York City into a healthier, cooler, cleaner, and more sustainable city. Since 2007, fifty thousand volunteers have planted one million trees and in the process provided over 8 million New Yorkers with numerous health and environmental benefits, along with the esthetic beauty these trees provide. My sincere thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor de Blasio for the creation and fulfillment of this transformative urban initiative,” said State Senator José M. Serrano.
MillionTreesNYC is a public-private partnership between NYC Parks and Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, through which one million new trees were planted and cared for throughout the City’s five boroughs. The initiative was a key aspect of NYC Parks’ mission to create a healthier, greener, and more equitable city. MillionTreesNYC expanded the City’s urban forest by nearly 20 percent, providing New Yorkers with important health, economic and environmental benefits, and created a more sustainable urban environment. Since its launch in October 2007, public, private and non-profit organizations have rallied nearly 50,000 citizen volunteers to plant trees in what has become an unprecedented tree planting campaign and urban environmental movement. To learn more about getting involved in NYC Parks’ greening and stewardship efforts, visit or call 311.

This initiative would not have been possible without the support of dedicated presenting sponsors including TD Bank, Toyota, and Jet Blue, as well as the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Bloomberg Philanthropies, David Rockefeller and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, BNP Paribas, The Home Depot, American Express, Con Edison, CIT, US Forest Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, The Wells Fargo Foundation, Tiffany & Company Foundation, and Citigroup, Inc..

Mayor Bloomberg allocated more than $350 million towards this monumental effort through the PlaNYC initiative and NYRP contributed an additional $30 million through private funding. Today, Mayor de Blasio is moving the City’s sustainability and resiliency vision forward through OneNYC, a plan for a strong and just city. Together with all New Yorkers, the de Blasio administration is acting on its plan for growth, sustainability, resiliency, and equity. Thanks to additional funding remaining in the budget, the City will continue to aggressively plant new trees, exceeding the one million already planted by planting an additional 150,000 new trees over the next three years. The City is also developing new strategic tree planting targets, including working with the Office of Sustainability to combat heat islands, working with DEP on stormwater mitigation and bioswales, and in Mayor de Blasio’s new OneNYC initiative Parks without Borders, which envisions a seamless public realm that improves access to public space and uses trees to create green pathways and boundaries.

One Million Trees: Planting Breakdown

Number of Trees Planted by Borough:
•   Bronx – 276,600
•   Brooklyn – 182,593
•   Manhattan – 80,016
•   Queens – 284,755
•   Staten Island – 173,134
•   (Borough unknown) – 2,902

Number of Trees Planted by Type:
•   Street trees: 155,000 (+ 2,020 since planting of the Millionth Tree)
•   NYC Park Trees: 595,000 (+ 15,614 since planting of the Millionth Tree)
•   Private and other open space: 250,000 

Street tree plantings in six specifically targeted underserved neighborhoods (which are now Community Parks Initiative (CPI) neighborhoods):
Morrisania – 2,787
Hunts Point – 1,409
East New York – 7,952
East Harlem – 2,206
Far Rockaway – 2,840
Staten Island
Stapleton – 1,859

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