In the late 1990s, while still working at the Parks Department, I wrote the text and took the photographs for a walking guide to New York City’s 120 Great Trees. Published in 2000 by the New York Tree Trust (a now-defunct division of the City Parks Foundation) with the help of a grant from the Arthur Ross Foundation, and designed by Toby Allen Schust, the book was beautiful and popular but the Parks Department, not being in the publishing business, had a hard time figuring out how to market it and eventually, after a misunderstanding in a Parks Department warehouse on Randall’s Island, the entire remaining stock of the book was destroyed. It was making the photographs for this book, though, that taught me the importance of trees in connecting citizens to their local landscapes–and turned me into a tree photographer. It is hard to believe how many of the trees I photographed for that book have subsequently been lost. But then again, perhaps it is more remarkable how many remain.
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