A Tree Falls In Brooklyn…and Beyond

The Julian Lennon photo exhibit:
Where I should have been.
(Photo © 2010 by Adrienne Borgersen.)

This blog post (my 300th since June 2009) was supposed to chronicle my visit to the Morrison Hotel Gallery in Manhattan this past Thursday night to attend the opening of Julian Lennon’s photography exhibition. There was just one little problem: My trip from Long Island was curtailed because of two sudden tornadoes that tore through Brooklyn and Queens with such force that in mere minutes trees were shredded and uprooted, streetlights toppled, a few roofs torn off and chain-link fences nearly ripped from the ground. One fatality was immediately reported. Our night’s adventure became a lesson in being too persistent; sometimes you have to know when to give up.

The first signs of trouble came when the Long Island Railroad stopped service because of flooding and a downed tree across some tracks. Knowing that we would have a limited window of opportunity for the event, my friends Gail, Alex and I decided to come in by car. But we soon got stuck creeping through a massive traffic jam in Brooklyn and then Queens. Initially unsure what exactly was transpiring, we erroneously thought we might still get to our destination until we discovered through radio reports why we could not get anywhere and how entry into Manhattan was practically impossible. Meanwhile my girlfriend Adrienne waited patiently in town for us; first at work then near the event. Manhattan had escaped the storm unscathed; they just got a lot of rain.

While my friends and I ultimately missed out on an historic night within the exhibition at 313 Bowery, we experienced something historic throughout Queens, where we saw the impact of the storm’s devastation first hand. It certainly was a dramatic sight: fallen trees, intense traffic snarls, the smell of a fire somewhere and firemen, cops and EMTs racing to and fro. That said, I never want to spend five hours in a car to travel 25 miles ever again. Ironically, Adrienne said that the line outside of the jam-packed Morrison Hotel Gallery stretched down the block (she was my +1 and chose not to wait), so perhaps if we even had made it in, we would have simply traded one traffic jam for another.

In place of my Julian Lennon story, here are some hastily taken snapshots of the recent NYC tornadoes.

We tried to cut down this side street to avoid traffic. Epic fail.
(Photo © 2010 by Bryan Reesman.)

The front side of this billboard survived. The back side was ripped right off.
(Photo © 2010 by Bryan Reesman.)

One of an estimated 3,000 trees trashed by Mother Nature.
(Photo © 2010 by Bryan Reesman.)

One of many direct obstacles in our path.
(Photo © 2010 by Alex Vitoulis.)

Pavement dressing: Green is the new black.
(Photo © 2010 by Bryan Reesman.)

3 Responses

  1. Jack Ripple

    I suppose that you could call your journey that night a “Long And Winding Road”. Cheers!

  2. Sarahbellzz

    The wacky wonder of Mother Nature and tornadoes, left my particular neighborhood unscathed, although I did think the skylight in my kitchen was about to be ripped off. As beautiful as the storm was, a green sky is not something to be taken lightly. Sorry you missed your event. Better safe then sorry.

    • Bryan Reesman

      You are absolutely right. Of course, the storm had already hit while I was waiting for the train. I was lucky I wasn’t blown away while running down the street. My clothes were completely soaked for hours.


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