Astoriana: is that a word?

For sure, this humbling sight in Astoria today, a day after Hurricane Sandy smashed into the Northeast with a bizarre left hook maneuver, was something to gawk at. Thankfully, no one was injured when this tree fell.

But the sight also became a telling piece of Astoriana. The owner of the house in front of the fallen tree came out and told us gawkers that his great-great aunt planted that tree in the 1890s — more evidence that when people move to Astoria, their offspring often stay. That tendency is also indicated by how difficult it is to find a decent house for sale in Astoria: almost all the good ones are passed on from generation to generation.

The family set up a collection envelope, but not for car repairs/replacement (the car was not theirs, and besides, the insurance company should cover it). It was for a fund to buy an apple tree to replace the 115 year-old tree that had shaded the sidewalk for the last time. We then began to discuss various fruit trees growing in Astoria, an urban neighborhood with a surprising amount of home gardening. I mentioned a friend growing a fig tree a few blocks away, and they told us of a kumquat tree, a favorite of the neighborhood kids, not too far from their house. Kumquats in Astoria! That’s another reason why I enjoy living here. Perhaps my wife and I will plant a tree that will end up destroying a hovercraft unluckily left on the street by our great-great-grandson in 115 years. You never know.

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About OmnivorousTraveler

Darrin DuFord is a travel writer, mapgazer, and jungle rodent connoisseur. His writing has won numerous awards and has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Travel, Gastronomica, Roads & Kingdoms, Narratively, and Perceptive Travel, among other publications. He is the author of Breakfast for Alligators: Quests, Showdowns and Revelations in the Americas (released in July 2016) and Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama without a Car, silver medalist in the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
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