After 19 months of finger pointing and contentious legal battles, Sean Lennon (son of John and Yoko) has been ordered by a Manhattan judge to remove a tree on his Greenwich Village property at 153 West 13th Street after being sued by neighbors Gary and Addie Tomei (parents of actress Marisa Tomei).
As 6sqft previously recounted, the Tomeis claimed the tree had spread its roots onto their property, cracking the stoop, breaking the railings, and coming through the basement floor of their townhouse. Though they also asked for $10 million in damages, it looks like the judge didn’t move on that part of the suit, though she did quote Beatles lyrics in her ruling.
Lennon bought his three-story townhouse in 2008 for $9.5 million, and the Tomeis have owned theirs since 1994. As 6sqft explained last year:
The tree in question is a 50-year-old, 60-foot-tall ailanthus, better known as a “tree of heaven,” which is an invasive species native to China. In their suit, the Tomeis are claiming that the tree is diseased and partially hollow and that they’ve asked Lennon to remove the tree repeatedly, but he’s “refused to remedy the problem even though his own arborist and mason confirmed the hazardous condition.”
Things turned ugly this past July when Lennon reportedly demanded that the Tomeis cut the iron railing of their historic stoop to save his tree, which his arborist testified could live another 25 years. The couple’s lawyer Gerald Walters said in response, “The proposed solution . . . to preserve the tree . . . for purely aesthetic reasons while requiring that plaintiffs alter the historic and architectural character of their regulated property . . . is arrogant, presumptuous and unreasonable.” He also called Lennon a hypocrite since he allegedly removed part of the tree’s roots when he installed an elevator in his townhouse.
Walters’ argument worked, because today Judge Debra James ordered Lennon to immediately remove the tree, along with any of its roots that made their way into the neighboring property. She also wrote in her ruling, “No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low, Strawberry Fields Forever (Lennon/McCartney).”
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Neighborhoods : Greenwich Village