Share your experiences of the tornado that ravaged Queens

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I feel your pain.

I was coming home from an outing in Rego Park Sept. 16 around 6 p.m. and just when I walked into my building’s lobby, I noticed a swirl and then the skies turned pitch black. Then I heard a snap. Everything unfolded in no time. It is hard to believe that we experienced a tornado, but my senses interpreted it as such.

After it subsided, I surveyed the damage on my block and huge branches of three mature trees were snapped off. One tremendous branch was blown half a block away, alongside an SUV. The corner of PS 175 on 102nd Street was roped off due to one-third of a mature tree on the ground.

A mature tree by the Forest Hills Jewish Center looked like it received a massive pruning. I was just remarking on the Rego-Forest Preservation Council blog earlier this month how the center deserves kudos for maintaining that 60-year-old tree well.

Across the street is MacDonald Park, where trees have plummeted on top of benches and tables and in the road. Cars were smashed, too. A long-term business, HB Chevrolet, had part of its glass front blown off and the “HB” of its sign blew away. MacDonald Park, Burns Street and Continental Avenue in Forest Hills Gardens and Yellowstone Boulevard off the north side of Queens Boulevard seem to have suffered the worst from what I have seen so far.

The sirens were ongoing during the evening and the extent of the damage in some parts of the neighborhood and elsewhere in the boroughs is disheartening. The neighborhood and beyond seems to have experienced a war, but of nature. My heart goes out to the family of the victim on the Grand Central Parkway. Rest in peace. It proves that we have to be thankful for every moment.

I also must say rest in peace to the countless trees that have gone on the wayside. They take decades to mature but in moments some were uprooted. It all came to an end, but hopefully we can make repairs efficiently and coordinate a campaign to replant some of the missing trees.

Let’s reflect upon our experiences but try not to let them become obstacles toward our future. The moral is to be more respectful of our lives, your neighbors and all that our community has to offer, including its natural wonders.

I invite the public to share their experiences on my Rego-Forest Preservation Council blog at

Michael Perlman


Rego-Forest Preservation Council

Forest Hills

Updated 6:30 pm, October 10, 2011
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