The residents of north Brooklyn are rejoicing after their favorite tree in McCarren Park was replanted.
But who was the old guy with the excellent mustache breaking the soil for their beloved spruce?
It was Geraldo Rivera, TV, radio personality and incidentally, the man the tree was named after.
Local environmental groups and frequent park-goers thought the 40-foot Blue Spruce’s on-again-off-again name, “Geraldo,” was just a rumor.
“He was the one who planted the first one? I love that tree,” Tara Deporte, executive director of the environmental non-profit Human Impacts Institute, told The Observer.
“I didn’t even know he was from Brooklyn.”
Mr. Rivera, a Williamsburg native, paid for the tree about a decade ago to help spruce up the place. He was saddened to learn that his beloved tree had fallen during Hurricane Sandy seven months ago.
Mr. Rivera vowed to come back to replace it. “It’s special to do this today while President Obama is down on the Jersey Shore with Gov. Chris Christie,” Mr. Rivera said.
The new tree is the 745,236th tree in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Million Trees NYC campaign. Many other New York celebrities have slapped their names on some trees, including New York Knicks player Carmelo Anthony, actor and comedian Jerry Stiller and longtime New York Restoration Project supporter Bette Midler.
But remember, Mr. Rivera put his name on trees before it was cool.