Update: Yes, it's official, it was a tornado--like we hadn't figured that out.
We're not in Flatbush anymore, Toto. At least that's what it looks like this morning. The news claims that a tornado "may have" hit Bay Ridge , but so far no one is reporting on the devastation a block south of us in the Prospect Park South historic district, what we call "the magic land" for its magnificent Victorian homes and trees. Most of the homes were spared anything but minor damage, from the look of it on a steamy walk this morning, but the trees are a fallen forest in what was one of the city's leafiest enclaves. Here's a tour.
Just south of Church Avenue on Marlborough Road, this mid-sized maple outside Temple Beth Emeth peeled off the underground cement pad where it must've grown as a weed tree. It's amazing it lasted this long on such a shallow pad of superficial roots. The victim car seems strangely cozy in its cage of branches.
Going south, the corner of Albemarle and Marlborough Roads--a four-way-mansion intersection--is a scene of ruination. Lots of neighbors on cell phones gazing at lots of felled maples, pines, lindens. (Nobody going anywhere on the train--there's also a tree across the subway tracks in a nearby open culvert.) Everyone describes a house-shaking "freight train" wind before dawn, and the swath of destruction is totally unlike the "twigs down" scale we were blessed with just a block away. If this ain't a tornado, it's close enough for me.
The snapped-off trunks stand in a row like palings on Marlborugh just south of Albemarle.
Over on Buckingham Road, neighbors reported hearing lightning strike this lovely old hemlock, splitting it in half. It would've been quite a show if anyone had been foolhardy enough to be sitting in the balcony of that gorgeous turret.
Every intersection was barricaded by fallen trunks, and police, fire, and MTA vehicles prowled around them. Here is Rugby Road looking north from Beverly Road--a strangely bucolic pedestrian mall.
I stepped over countless twisted roadblocks; for some, it was not an option.
On Argyle Road, our neighbor with the famous double-depth garden showed me her backyard--what had been a spacious lawn was a shoulder-deep tangle of fallen woods. In front of the house, a twisted metal sign had been deposited from blocks-distant Coney Island Avenue.
As I headed back to Church Avenue, a crew of strapping young men from the FDNY strolled down the middle of the street with a chain saw, a welcome sight (and not just because of their firefightery gorgeousness).
Finally, back in my own little sliver of "Caton Park" north of Church Avenue, my neighbors on Rugby Road awoke to their own roadblock. Blessedly, no one was in the car.
It seems a miracle now that the Crazy Stable and our looming Mighty Ent were spared. And even in the ravaged Magic Land, I saw no missing roofs or other major house damage, thank God.