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Clinton’s stately trees tagged by vandals

Graffiti has marred Dewitt Clinton High School’s distinguished row of trees. A handful were tagged some time ago, neighbor Saundra Hartley said. At least three facing Mosholu Parkway still bear graffiti.

“The trees are old and beautiful,” Hartley said. “Why tag a tree?”

Hartley, a Tracy Towers resident, is worried that spray paint will damage the trees. Near Clinton, graffiti is on the rise, she said. Vandals also target residential buildings on the Grand Concourse near E. 206th Street.

“It’s out of control,” Hartley lamented. “It feels like the 1970s all over again.”

Clinton is waiting to remove the graffiti. The school’s custodian has graffiti removal solution but doesn’t want to use it on the trees. He recently contacted an expert at the city’s Parks Department for help.

The Parks Department expert recommended a tree-friendly solution; the custodian hopes obtain the solution and remove the graffiti soon.

“It happened at night,” principal Geraldine Ambrosio said. “It’s terrible. Trees are living things.”

The tags are an eyesore, Ambrosio admitted. She and the custodian want to act. On the other hand, they’re determined not to damage the trees. Ambrosio has alerted the 52nd Precinct.

The trees tagged are among 13 planted in 1924 when the school opened, one for each original American colony. On September 11, Clinton students tie red, white and blue ribbons around the trees.

“The trees are important,” Ambrosio said. “We don’t want to lose them,”

In April, students planted ten trees in the school courtyard, courtesy of Con Edison.

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