There I was, working from home on a day where our office had no water nor internet, planning new features for a fine blogging platform, when, all of a sudden, my droopy dream pop beats were interrupted by my landlord on the first floor screaming to her young children to "GET IN THE BASEMENT."
On the third floor, I drop what I'm doing. Dude, I KNOW a mother's grizzly-bear tone WHEN I HEAR ONE. I get up from my desk and look outside. Front windows: normally a rowhouse with white side-paneling, another under construction, many multi-level rooftops in the distance under a clear sky. Today's front windows: completely gray painted with sideways strokes. I turn around, walk into my kitchen to look out my back windows: no green leaves or backside of rowhouses on another block like I expect -- it's all gray, with a swirl of lightning and billowing clouds.
My eyes grow 10 sizes. My fragile windows creak under the pressure of the vacuum. I curse, close my windows, shut my laptop, unplug the necessities, throw on my No-Joke boots, grab my purse and a jacket, and wait it out in the stairwell on the second floor for about 5 minutes.
I wait. The sound dies down, it rains for 10 minutes, then the sun comes out, car alarms halt, and people walk on their respective rooftops/yards to assess the damage. God, with his great sense of humor, has preserved the power and therefore internet connection, where I confirm that yes, there was a tornado, and the cleanup crews are on the move.
I put on my best investigative journalist/hipster trucker/lumberjack flannel hat and bring my camera to take these photos and videos for a nataliepo.typepad.com exclusive.
So I start at home, and I wander around Prospect Heights (east of Flatbush Avenue, north of Grand Army Plaza), and dip into Park Slope. Here's my full trip, short and sweet, with a few key milestones highlighted through markers and photos below.
View Tornado Walk in a larger map
But yes, I start at home, in my backyard.
Some damage is evident: split and downed trees in the upper right, an overturned picnic table, battered branches of trees who survived. Doesn't look that bad -- maybe it was just a regular storm. Right? Come on, I don't blog about boring things. EVER!
I walked east to Washington Avenue, saw that half of it was shut down and traffic was rerouted. Went north one block to Park Place, and continued west, where I saw a broccoli-like branch tossed against this Brownstone, dangerously close to its window. Silly out-of-towners think that the bars signify a lack of safety, but hey! Looks there's a benefit to these bars on our windows after all! Wait until a tornado shoves a trunk in their window.
I hooked a left onto Underhill and began my Grand Tour of Uprooted Trees, starring God and his Sidekick.
God: You ever see that Nicholas Cage movie, Face-Off?
Sidekick: Totally. Classic! Even @nataliepo has seen that one.
God: Okay. Ready? Face.......*grabs tree trunk*....OFF!!! *pulls out of ground, barely touching fence*
God: "Do you think I can get the roots out of this one, too?"
Sidekick: "Psh, probably. Oh, man -- dare you to snag that little fence with this one."
God: "The FENCE?! Come on, I have like 2 minutes total on Plaza East. *sighs, grits teeth, plucks tree out of the ground as it were a clover* Well, THAT JUST HAPPENED. "
Sidekick: "*high fives all around*. Those rappers are right. This is really is the best borough."
I get to Grand Army Plaza itself and take a gratuitous yet blurry scenic shot. #welcometomyblog
Poor Grand Army Plaza didn't escape unscathed in the battle of MAN VS NATURE: Stoplight vs Tree edition.
Here's a still for the symbolism-nerds out there (including me, obviously!).
And when I stood among the tens of others gawking at overturned trees around PHeights, an older woman guffawed at my checkered Official Press cap and lime-green Official Press camera and outright challenged the measurement of my journalistic intent.
"So, have you seen the horseshoe crabs?", she said.
I stared at her, coldly.
"On Underhill, just south of the library." [She meant north.]
And here, good readers, is our second aquatic mystery amidst this storm. I discovered said crabs.
Here's another picture if you don't believe me.
Oh, I know. "Really, Natalie? Really! REALLY?!" REALLY? ON UNDERHILL AVE? BROOKLYN, NEW YORK?? CROOKLYN? HOME OF PLACE WHERE PEOPLE MESS WITH YOU, MORE OR LESS, PROFESSIONALLY? Yeah. There. And, for you skeptics, lemme just play with the scenario that these horseshoe crabs were staged. We'd need the following assumptions:
- People keep horseshoe crabs as pets. <--- FALSE. WTF, WHY WOULD THEY? They're not cute, you can't take them for walks, and they're just known for their bizarre mating habits. NEXT.
- That restaurant, Cheryl's, put them there. <---- WHO EATS HORSESHOE CRABS? If people do, let me know, and I'll tell you how repulsive that is when they could be eating Maryland Blue Crabs. NEXT.
- Okay, some creepy person dropped Horseshoe Crabs immediately after a tornado. ....Think about how ridiculous and far-fetched that statement is. I scoff at you, sir/madam. NEXT.
There were horseshoe crabs placed in Brooklyn from this storm! UNNEXTABLE!
Look, we're not alone in finding this weird. Even these onlookers are in disbelief.
Yes, that's my voiceover, and yes, I can hardly disguise my incredulity. CRAB!?!!?!?!?! IN BROOKLYN!?!? Need I point you to the map I referenced earlier?
And now, at this point in the story, I'm reassured that my initial dramatics were absolutely founded. This was one hell of a storm!
So, I wrap it up, stop off at an organic grocery store to buy some snobby beer to reward/fuel my devout journalism on today's events, and walk back home.
God: You gonna put away your shit when you're done with it? Otherwise, I'm just going to keep wrecking things.
And so, I blog. The End.
The source of the horseshoe crabs has spoken.
It's true, as the comment from Jojo on this post has indicated: these crabs were not whisked away from the ocean in the tornado at all, though they were tossed by the great storm.
Jojo, an artist living in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, had worked with these crabbies for a project of hers. Here's a shot of the little crustaceans in her tub:
But how did they get on the sidewalk right after the storm?!
We exchanged a few messages through Facebook, and this seems to be really what happened.
The smell of the decaying crabs in Jojo's apartment propelled her to place the carcasses on the fire escape just outside her window. On the day of the tornado, these crabs were picked up, whirled about, and scattered on the sidewalk nearby! Because they were found a few blocks away from their origin, technically, yes, these crabs did come from the sky -- just not as far as we all thought.
OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO WITH BLOGGING. Thanks, everyone, for making this so fun. :)