Picking up the pieces - and making money - after Irene
Dragoneitti Landscaping and Tree Removal took care of fallen trees at the Wyckoff Gardens housing development in Brooklyn this week.
August 30th, 2011
10:23 PM ET

Picking up the pieces - and making money - after Irene

Irene’s winds uprooted thousands of trees in and around New York on Sunday, leaving plenty of debris to clean up this week. Fallen branches littered communities for hundreds of miles around. At least 2,000 trees were downed in New York City, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Let me remind New Yorkers: It really is a bad idea to cut down or remove trees yourself. Leave it to the professionals,” the mayor said during Monday morning’s update on the storm cleanup.

One of those professionals is Anthony Dragonetti. He and his family own Dragonetti Brothers, a landscaping and tree removal business in the city. Shortly after the storm had passed, Dragonetti was cleaning up the mess in Brooklyn, New York.

“Every tree that’s leaning down or down on the floor, we’re cutting it up, putting it in the chipper and getting out of here,” Dragonetti said. He expected to be busy for a few weeks. “There’s a lot of downed trees, downed trees all over the place,” he said.

Dragonetti’s services don’t come free of charge. There is money to be made in storm cleanup. An informal survey of several landscaping business found that the going rate for the removal of a small tree lying in a front yard is a few hundred dollars. But the bill can increase dramatically. If a very large, old tree fell through the back wall of a home, and it’s not easily accessible, that’s a more complicated job. A crane would need to be called in, and a crew would have to work slowly to not cause any more damage. A job like that can cost up to $5,000.

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. 10 and 2

    Bloomberg forgot to mention that new yorkers should not drive..thats equally as dangerous... .

    August 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      Only a small portion in Manhattan actually do drive. But if you're talking about NY State, I can't imagine better drivers that those who live in the Greater NY and Long Island areas.

      August 31, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ken Whidden

    Sad to see the amount of destruction, odd that it's not down here in Florida.

    Ken Whidden, DC
    Emerald Coast Chiropractic

    August 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    Wow. What you New Yorkers call dangerous we Vermonters call a weekend chore.

    Once we're dug out and cleaned up here, we'll be happy to take care of those few trees for ya. We're neighborly like that.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Right on

      August 31, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • lgny

      LOL. Of course, in VT, you don't have buildings in all directions within the drop zone for the tree.

      Nevertheless, city folk are too drilled on "don't try ... leave it to a professional"

      August 31, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. NY Mayor's Little Shop of Horrors

    Feed Me...

    August 31, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. NY Mayor's Other Endorsements

    Urban Eatery: They're FRESH and LOCAL...

    August 31, 2011 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. William

    The trees downed are a result of wind damage but look around NYC and you can see rusting bridges which may be attributed to salt or moisture in the air. America and the rest of the world is in a contant state of deterioration, corrosion and wear from the elements and time. If you have ever seen the Grand Canyon you saw what can happen over millions of years to the earth's surface by the natural elements brought on by the weather. Even if you just bought that dream HDTV and are watching it right now one day that too will be sitting in some landfill or recycling center. So now the point is how much does this add to the cost of living? As we live in the world of high technology we also live in a world where things have to be replaced it seems more often just to keep up. If we are going to fix our economy we need to address the real cost of living. Some things break even before they get paid for. The tree removal service will make money but on top of that the insurance company made money. It just adds up to disaster just like our debt. Could this be the straw that broke the camels back? Hurricane season just started!

    August 31, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. JW

    So now there are what, 5 trees left in NYC? You guys can't afford to lose too many more . . .

    August 31, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • jon

      I'm pretty sure Central Park has a few more than 5 trees.

      August 31, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |

    Any garden centers up there ? Replant 😉

    August 31, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Only 2000 trees uprooted in New York. I had 27 60 foot trees uprooted on my one acre lot and home twisted and sucked out of the ground (uprooted) during Hurricane Katrina in Slidell Louisiana and had feet of water in my home. Glad I had Wind and Flood Insurance.

    Anyway, my heart and prayers are with all those who suffered damage, injury, and deaths from such terrible storms. Hurricane Strength is often the guide for the devastation, injuries, and death. What they forget to mention when trees are uprooted it is usually caused by spin off turnadoes mor so then the actual hurricane path and strength. I am sure the Northeast was more damaged from these spin off tornados and ground saturation from the surge.

    August 31, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tina

    I was just in NYC for my first time and was surprised to see so many trees and flowers. Sad that so many are down but I'll bet they are replaced! New Yorkers, we had a wonderful time!

    August 31, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Anonymous

    Not that I am glad this happened, but we have to deal with damage like this all the time in the south. I feel no pity for having to pick up debris. That's almost a monthly thing down here.

    August 31, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ywgwie malmsteen

    Here in phoenix i got some dust in my eye yesterday and my dog got thirsty

    August 31, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |