If a tree falls in the Green… a close call during lunchtime performance

Passersby check out branch that crashed onto the busy Morristown Green at lunchtime on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Passersby check out branch that crashed onto the busy Morristown Green at lunchtime on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Passersby check out branch that crashed onto the busy Morristown Green at lunchtime on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Passersby check out branch that crashed onto the busy Morristown Green at lunchtime on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

By Kevin Coughlin

The 2016 Music Beyond Borders series went out with a bang on Tuesday, when a large branch crashed onto the Morristown Green during a lunchtime performance of Hawaiian- and Tahitian dance.

STORM AFTERMATH? Branch fell on the Green during a sunny lunchtime. Fortunately, nobody was struck. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
STORM AFTERMATH? Branch fell on the Green during a sunny lunchtime. Fortunately, nobody was struck. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Luckily, nobody was injured by the limb, which landed not far from a pair of people on a park bench and children on a blanket, according to an onlooker.

“It happened about 10 minutes into the show. I heard a crack and saw the limb hit the ground with a thud, bouncing back up a bit,” said Leslie Raff, who came for the free Lei Pasifika performance.

The branch came to rest across bushes and a paved walking path, near the heavily traveled Green entrance at South Street and South Park Place.

An “ooh!” went up from the crowd enjoying the dance exhibition, which continued without missing a step, Raff said.

AFTERMATH OF STORMS?

A trustee of the Green blamed the crash on a pair of violent storms that wrought extensive damage last month.

On Sunday, guests at Morristown’s Burnham Pool reported that a tree crashed onto a playground there. No injuries were observed.

The Bartlett Tree Experts company removed dead branches from the Green after the July storms. Surprisingly, the limb that plunged on Tuesday appeared to be healthy, said Doug Greenberger, a trustee of the Green.

“These are some of the most closely watched trees in the county, with a view to public safety. I don’t think you could find a dead branch up there,” said Greenberger.

“I don’t think there’s any cause for concern…This is really an aberration.”–Doug Greenberger, trustee of the Green.

The tree company will take another look, but the public should have no fears about using the Green in the meantime, he said.

“I don’t think there’s any cause for concern about using the Morristown Green. This is really an aberration, said Greenberger.

Tree limb spans walking path on the Morristown Green. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Tree limb spans walking path on the Morristown Green. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
IF A TREE FALLS IN THE SQUARE... and everyone sees it, it really fell. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
IF A TREE FALLS IN THE SQUARE… and everyone sees it, it really fell. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Always popular in summer, the historic Green–once trod by General George Washington and his troops–has seen an influx of visitors playing Pokémon Go, an “augmented reality” game on mobile phones.

Thousands of people are anticipated at the free Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival on the Green on Aug. 20, 2016.

Fortunately, the Pokémon hunters appeared to be elsewhere on Tuesday. And the dance crowd already had settled in at the center of the Green, which spans almost three acres.

“We are glad that nobody was injured by the falling branch from the tree at the Green during the Music Beyond Borders concert, and that everyone present enjoyed a wonderful performance by Lei Pasifika on a beautiful summer day,” said Ed Kirchdoerffer of the Mayo Performing Arts Center, which co-hosts the annual summer series with Morris Arts.

MPAC plans to continue the partnership next summer, for the eighth season of Music Beyond Borders,  Kirchdoerffer said.

Slideshow photos by Bill Lescohier

Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Karin Kolsky of Morristown with Bacchus, 6, and Royal Louise, 6 months, at Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Lei Pasifika ar Music Beyond Borders, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo by Bill Lescohier
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