Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Bronx Tree Climber, Above the Law - New York, NY

A Bronx Tree Climber, Above the Law - Metropolis - WSJ
There are 2 million trees on public land in New York City, and it’s illegal to climb any of them. That makes the workshop offered by the Botanical Garden’s David Fedczuk, a climber and pruner on staff, one of the only lawful ways to climb a tree for most city dwellers.

“We want to give people the chance to do something they aren’t normally allowed to do,” he told the Journal’s Jo Piazza in a recent interview. “I know recreational tree climbing is an underground sport like bungee jumping. If it isn’t illegal somewhere, it will be if it gets popular.”

He learned his trade by going above the law, literally:

Fedczuk, a Bronx native, became adept at tree climbing by going outside the law. He said he would find isolated areas in the Botanical Garden’s 250 acres and shimmy up a trunk. Once in the canopy, he would pull the ropes off the ground to avoid detection, he said.

That illicit skill led to a job on the garden’s staff, where Fedczuk now climbs tress for a living. WSJ’s Hilke Schellmann reports visited him on the job last year. Take a look back at her video report on the life of an urban tree-climbing professional.

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