Fallen Branch in Riverside Park Lands on Woman’s Foot, Causes Amputation

  Last modified on January 24th, 2022

On July 5, Molly Smith was taking a walk in Riverside Park by the Classic Playground near West 74th Street when a branch landed on her foot, “causing crush injuries that caused the partial amputation of toes on her left foot,” according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday, October 14 against the City of New York, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and Riverside Park Conservancy.

“Smith also suffered a cut on her foot and was taken to Mount Sinai West by emergency responders,” reports Patch, which went on to detail, “Smith and her lawyers believe that the tree limb was taken away on the day of the accident by the Parks Department and stored in a nearby maintenance facility. Smith states in the suit that it is ‘likely’ that the collapsed limb is still at the site, but when she sent a request to inspect the limb she received no response from the department.”


The petition, filed in the Supreme Court of New York State, seeks to inspect the fallen tree branch as soon as possible, “before its condition deteriorates due to weather conditions.”

The suit indicates that the fallen tree limb came from tree #225 in Riverside Park, and compels the Parks Department, the City, and Riverside Park Conservancy to “search for” and “locate” the collapsed branch as it is “valuable physical evidence” and may be crucial in determining if the tree was in an unsafe condition when the limb fell. The Parks Department tracks roughly 670,000 trees across the City’s five boroughs, with 5,653 trees currently tabbed on the Upper West Side.

The suit also asks seeks an order “compelling respondents to search for any records regarding this tree and prior inspections or pruning done to the tree.”

We reached out to the NYC Parks Department which responded, “We don’t comment on pending litigation.” We’ve also reached out to Riverside Park Conservancy which has yet to respond.

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