Dying sycamore trees along Shore Road in Sea Cliff on...

Dying sycamore trees along Shore Road in Sea Cliff on Aug. 13, 2018. Credit: Karin Barnaby

For 80 years, residents and visitors to Sea Cliff have strolled under an iconic sycamore allée that lines a mile-long stretch of Hempstead Harbor. Designed by renowned landscape architect J.J. Levison and planted in 1931, these trees are as much a cherished Sea Cliff landmark as the village’s Victorian homes.

Unfortunately, more than a decade ago, many of the sycamores on Shore Road north of Tappen Beach failed and were taken down. Repeated efforts to replant them have been futile. Last year, I counted 28 trees that were dying. Just this past week, 15 were marked with orange paint and removed.

Clearly, replanting more trees is not an answer. I suspect that saltwater that floods over the seawall may be to blame. Why needlessly sacrifice any more trees?

We need a more humane and creative solution to replace the shade and beauty that the trees once provided. Perhaps there could be an engineering, artistic or landscaping competition to design an alternative. Perhaps there could be an arcade or allée of artificial tree-like structures, tarps or cleverly designed solar collectors. We have the imagination, talent and resources to solve this problem. All that is missing are the will and courage of our political representatives.

Karin Barnaby, Sea Cliff

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