May 16th is national "Love a Tree Day,” and what better way to celebrate, than by visiting the oldest and largest tree in New York City. As NY1's Lindsay Tuchman reports, that tree happens to be in Flushing.
More than 130 feet tall, and 18 feet in circumference, a tulip tree in Flushing is what’s believed to be New York City's tallest tree. According to the parks department, it’s also the city's oldest tree.
Experts say the tree known as the ‘Queens Giant,’ is around 350 years old.
You can find it by hiking through the woods in Alley Pond Park.
"Over the centuries it has survived having highways built around it, homes developed around it,” Urban Park Ranger Joe Czeisel said. “It has weathered hurricanes, floods, and draughts."
The giant was a mere sapling in the mid 1600s; more than a century before the United States gained its independence, and even a few decades before Queens was established as a county in 1683.
According to Queens historian Richard Hourahan, the tree was around when the Matinecock Indian tribe called the area home, when the Dutch settled here, and other historical milestones.
"Purportedly when George Washington was retreating from the battle of Long Island, which took place in Brookyln, he came right through Alley Pond,” he said. “So that was the retreat and how we got away."
The tree has been around for parts of five centuries, which may lead you to wonder, if only trees could talk!
"I'm here, I've seen a lot,” Hourahan guessed. “And I'll probably be around longer than you are!!”
Since May 16th is national “Love a Tree Day,” it's a reminder of the importance of trees like this.
"They do things like provide shade for people, they provide fresh air for people, they also help reduce flooding on the sides of the roads and of course it provides both food and shelter for all of the animals that live here in Alley pond park,” Czeisel said.
With a fence as a barrier from harm, the Queens Giant is still going strong. Tulip trees can grow more than 150 feet and live up to 600 years.