5. Socrates, the Eastern Hemlock
Although the hemlock tree is not nearly as famous as the infamous hemlock plant, this particular tree earns its namesake because it’s the “oldest and wisest” tree in the Inwood forest, says Baisley. “As far as New York City goes, this is a very important tree.”
It is one of only seven Eastern Hemlocks in all of Inwood Hill Park, and Baisley believes it could be 400 years old or more — although there is no way to measure a tree’s age without taking a risky core sample or chopping it down. Several of its tree branches have broken off, and Baisley counted 100 rings on just one calf-sized branch. The enormous trunk, he says, would surely contain many more rings. Unfortunately, Socrates has been invaded by Wooly Adelgids, parasites that slowly feed on its nutrients. It is presently on medication. “We’re doing all we can to save it,” says Tainow.
Coordinates: 40°52’09.3″N 73°55’33.5″W