Instead of Taking Down a Fruit Tree, Building Around It

Sheya Wieder owned a small old house on a large lot in Borough Park, Brooklyn, until about six years ago, he said, when he decided it was time to knock it down and build an upgrade. He was all set to go when it occurred to him that the big, shady tree, standing tall and proud right where his new stoop would go, might cause a problem. He took a branch to Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where he was told it was a mulberry tree.

“The rabbis wouldn’t let me take it down,” Mr. Wieder said. “They told me if there is any possibility, even if it costs you money, you should work around it.”

So he did.

Today, a black metal staircase wraps partly around the tree, and a beige wheelchair-accessible elevator stands beside it. The tree looks perfectly happy, right there in front of the door.


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