Yesterday, after work, as per my usual routine, I took the subway home to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Emerging from the underground train station at Seventh Avenue, I was startled to find the windows were smashed out of “Brooklyn Industries” (a store which purveys $50 tee shirts that say “Brooklyn”) and shattered plate glass had been thrown across the street.  Emergency vehicles were everywhere and the citizenry was in a state of high excitement. Naturally I assumed there had finally been a civil insurrection and my banker neighbors were all dead, but when I looked at the neighborhood more closely and utilized my powers of ratiocination, I realized that rioters would probably not twist the tops off of trees, snap power cables, and knock down chimneys.  Clearly another perpetrator was implicated.

Park Slope neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 (Mark Lennihan/AP))

In order to get to the bottom of the mysterious events, I interviewed some eyewitnesses who asserted that the sky had turned green, bullwhips of lightening lashed from the heavens, and then a crushing wall of rain and water moved across the land.  The culprit was revealed to be a severe thunder storm, quite possibly a tornado.  Apparently the National Weather Service is spending today reviewing replays to find out whether we can officially call it such or not.  Here’s a movie of the storm on Youtube.

The storm twisted the wild cherry tree in my backyard around by several degrees (!) and tipped over some lawn furniture, but apparently did not do any severe damage to my apartment or garden.  The neighborhood was not so fortunate.  Huge trees (and little ones) were lying on cars everywhere.  The high wind blew down fences, scaffolds, temporary constructions, and edifices that were old or poorly constructed.  Brooklyn is a symphony of chainsaws and hammers right now.

On 3rd Street between 4th and 5th Avenues in Brooklyn (TheSharkDaymond)