The Magnolia grandiflora at 679 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn is the only tree that is a designated New York City landmark. The specimen is a rare example of a flourishing laurel magnolia growing as far north as New York. The tree was brought as a seedling from North Carolina and planted around 1885 by William Lemken.
Beginning in the 1950s, it was protected by Hattie Carthan, who enlisted neighborhood schoolchildren to help raise money to protect the tree, which was threatened by the construction of a parking lot. After the trees designation as a landmark, Carthan founded Magnolia Tree Earth Center, a non-profit focused on urban beautification and environmental awareness. The center is housed in the brownstone adjacent to the tree.