Peter Morelli of Douglaston, Queens was so worried about the two, large trees outside his home on Van Zandt Avenue that he told his two children to leave their second floor bedrooms last night and sleep downstairs in the living room. "I had a feeling about these trees, that something was going to happen."
Morelli was right about one of the trees. "About 4:30 am, we just heard a loud bang, and then we saw sparks from the electric wires and the pole. Then, we lost power."
Morelli was lucky, because the tree didn't fall on his house. Instead, it toppled onto the street, even as the uprooted base lifted up his sidewalk. Morelli said he had worried about one of the trees for a long time, "because it has holes in it; it's old. I asked the city about ten times to cut these things out. They just wouldn't cut it."
PIX 11 took a driving tour through Douglaston and Douglas Manor to the north, which sits on the peninsula, surrounded by Little Neck Bay. We saw multiple large trees down, including one that blocked West Drive at Grosvenor Street in the Manor. Resident Andrea LaGrassa observed, "A lot of the trees that were planted here are forest trees. This is a residential community, so you need smaller trees...ornamental trees for safety."
LaGrassa recalled that about 300 trees had toppled in the Manor during a rare tornado in June 2010.
In advance of Tropical Storm Irene, residents worked together to get boats out of the water. "Every neighbor helped each other out," LaGrassa told PIX 11. "We pulled each other's boats out.". Many were stored on higher ground near the Douglaston Club or in garages.
LaGrassa said this about the big tree that fell on West Drive: "We're lucky the power line didn't come down." But the lines were down on many other streets.