Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Tornado in Brooklyn

My coworker Andy told me to leave when the clock struck 5PM, but I was so close to being done with a massive pile of transcript requests that I ignored him. Holy low pressure front, Batman, was that a mistake. The difference between leaving at 5 and leaving at 5:10 put me on the street in the middle of a Brooklyn tornado, which is neither a fancy cocktail nor a sexual favor, but one of TWO actual tornadoes that trashed Brooklyn's ritziest dog-and-stroller neighborhood and turned parts of Queens into "Escape from New York." Observe the path of destruction!

We all knew that it was going to rain that afternoon, but I don't think any of us were expecting a storm like that. I even forgot my umbrella and simply trusted that I'd get home just in time for the sky to open. It's happened before, and I always feel quite proud of myself when I can open the curtains in the evening and see the little peebles dashing about on the streets below in a vain attempt to escape the wet, because I'm kind of a bastard that way.

But that extra ten minutes had me popping up to street level just as the first drops hit the pavement. Hell, I thought as I ducked under the eaves of the doggy day-care by the subway station, now I'M the dashing little peeble. I did think about making a run for it, but my apartment is a ten minute walk from the subway, and that rain was coming down awfully hard. And the wind seemed to be picking up a bit--more than a bit, actually--wait, what the crapola is happening?! I pressed myself up against the door behind me and tucked my head against my chest as enormous gusts of wind and rain tore through the street. I couldn't see ten feet in front of me. All I could think about was the guy who died on Fifth Avenue this spring when a tree fell on him during a windstorm. Self, I thought to myself, don't be be that guy!

After a few minutes, the storm passed over me and went on to uproot trees in Park Slope, break windows in Bedstuy, and tear off roofs in Queens. I walked home in nothing worse than a steady downpour and the next morning, snapped these pictures of the damage done in my area. If you want to gawk at the carnage done to the rest of the outer boroughs, the New York Times had a slide show up on their home page by the time I'd hung my wet clothes over the shower rod. They also have an appropriately hyperbolic article.

All kidding aside, a woman was killed when a tree fell on her car, and the governor may declare parts of Queens a disaster area. We were lucky here in Cobble Hill to only suffer a downed crosswalk box.

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