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.