A brave Manhattan mom was critically injured trying to shield her infant and two tots from a massive tree that suddenly crashed down on them during a stroll through Central Park on Tuesday, witnesses and authorities said.
Mom-of-three Anne Monoky Goldman broke her neck in the horror, while her 2-year-old son, Grant, suffered a fractured skull, a relative said.
If not for Goldman’s heroics, “they could have all been killed,” a witness said of the three little boys.
The mom, 39, was walking along West Drive near West 62nd Street with her 1-and-a-half-month-old infant, James, strapped to her chest and Grant and his 4-year-old brother, Will, in a stroller when the towering elm toppled on them at about 10 a.m.
“It was terrifying,’’ said witness Jamie Brown, 42, a Virginia tourist. “You heard the tree fall and didn’t know what happened, and then you hear a baby scream.’’
Goldman instinctively tried to protect her little boys, according to passers-by and authorities.
“The mother hit her head trying to shield branches from striking the children,” said FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer.
Goldman lost consciousness while pinned under the tree, and rescuers had to use chainsaws to cut her out of the tangled mess of branches.
When the mom came to, she reached for her children, witnesses said.
“She was out for 3 minutes, then woke up immediately asking about her kids,” said Jack Jones, 39, a nurse from Michigan who had been jogging with his wife.
Goldman was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a fractured neck, according to brother-in-law Ryan Goldman.
“She’s still going through a lot of treatment, she’s getting a CAT scan and MRIs,” he told The Post by phone.
Grant had a cracked skull, but his two brothers — including James, who was born just 41 days ago — were discharged from the hospital Tuesday afternoon, according to Ryan.
Even though she is badly injured, Goldman is more concerned about Grant than herself, Ryan said.
“Nothing [is] more important to her than her kids. No question that when her sons recover from this, she, too, will get better. But for the moment, she is struggling,” he said.
Photos posted to the mother’s Facebook page are almost exclusively of her children.
Several witnesses recounted the swell of good Samaritans who rushed to the family’s aid after hearing the tree fall and the unmistakable wail of children in trouble.
“I … [started] rushing over and pulling branches away,” Brown said. “I saw the baby on her mother’s chest, and then there was another gentlemen jogging who was first on the scene and helping. He handed the baby to my wife and she held the baby by the police.”
Photos of the scene show a Central Park police officer cradling James.
It’s not clear what caused the tree, which was ripped from its roots, to topple. Winds blew between 0 and 3 mph from 9:51 a.m. to 10:51 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
“It just snapped, and it was so loud, and when it came down, it was just a huge noise,” Brown said.
The city Parks Department said the tree was supposed to be maintained by the Central Park Conservancy.
The conservancy did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Additional reporting by Daniel Prendergast and Kevin Fasick