The Deacon's Bench

And Queens. And Staten Island. And all over the place.

When I got home late last night, I knew something was wrong when I got to the subway stairs and saw they were choked with leaves. Then I got up to the sidewalk. It looked like a war zone.  Massive trees up and down Queens Boulevard were demolished — not just broken or bent, but utterly uprooted and upended. Cars were crushed. Yellow crime scene tape was blocking off entire blocks. It was dark, but people were wandering around with cameras, taking pictures, shaking their heads in disbelief.  I thought for a moment that maybe we’d been paid a visit by Godzilla.

Well, I later learned, it wasn’t Godzilla; it was a freak storm, probably a tornado. In Queens, of all places. My wife and I fell asleep last night to the wail of ambulance and police sirens, and woke up this morning to the loud pocketa-pocketa-pocketa of TV news helicopters hovering overhead.  I took a walk around the block early this morning, and got a better look. Lamposts were down, and a huge traffic sign from Queens Boulevard was blown three blocks down my street. Several businesses behind my building had windows blown out, and were covered with plywood.  Thank God, only one person so far is reported killed.  But the devastation is, well, devastating.  Massive trees that shaded the streets and avenues for a century are gone.  The neighborhood has been dramatically changed, all in a matter of minutes.   

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