Park Slope Residents Say They're 'Fortunate' in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

By Leslie Albrecht on October 30, 2012 1:39pm 

PARK SLOPE — Park Slope woke up Tuesday morning feeling lucky — as Hurricane Sandy left this corner of Brooklyn relatively unscathed while ravaging the city with floods, fires and power outages.

Several trees crushed cars on the neighborhood's residential blocks, but locals said they felt lucky Park Slope didn't suffer widespread power outages or flooding.

On Tuesday morning, many businesses along commerical strips were open.

"It was a miracle we didn't have a power outage — we were ready [for one]," said Joanne Woodfin, who lives on Second Street between Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue.

She and her son Paul said they felt fortunate — even though a tree toppled over and landed squarely on the roof of Paul's black Saturn Ion about 9 p.m. Monday.

"If the branch had broken three or four inches lower on the tree, it would have crushed the roof," Paul Woodfin III, who was visiting his mother from Bar Harbor, Maine, said.

"So I sort of think I lucked out."

On Garfield Place between Sixth and Seventh avenues, a massive tree was felled on Monday, squashing a silver Honda and damaging the back of a commercial vehicle for Budget Blinds.

Resident Kitty Leech, who lives in the building overlooking the fallen tree, said the tree's trunk twisted in the wind, then finally gave way about 1 p.m. Monday. She realized it had plummeted to the ground when she noticed an unusual amount of daylight streaming into her apartment.

"I saw the tree was down," Leech said, "and my heart went into my throat."

Just after the wreck on Monday, Budget Blinds owner Eric Griffith did what he could to control the damage to his van, placing a plastic tarp over the smashed rear windshield.

"I was relatively fortunate," Griffith said. "It could have been the car across the street, which [the tree] landed on."

Dozens of trees along Prospect Park West were snapped like matchsticks and splintered into pieces, blocking the sidewalk and bike lane, and attracting curious on-lookers who snapped photos.

Some let their children scramble on fallen limbs like jungle gyms, while others stood and choked up at the sight of the destroyed greenery.

"This is so sad," said a woman with tears in her eyes as she looked at a fallen tree inside Prospect Park.

The park was officially closed to the public, but that didn't stop curiosity-seekers from exploring the damage there. Park spokesman Paul Nelson said there was no official estimate yet on how much havoc Sandy wrought in the park.

"Crews are out there now, but the storm is not completely over," Nelson wrote in an email. "We hope there is no more damage. Our main concern is that the park is still closed, but people are going into the park and putting themselves in possible danger."

A jogger just outside Prospect Park was injured by a falling tree on Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference. The woman was hospitalized and expected to recover, Bloomberg said.

Park Slope has two hurricane shelters — one at the Armory on 15th Street and Eighth Avenue, and one at the John Jay High School campus on Seventh Avenue.

City Councilman Brad Lander sent out an email Tuesday looking for volunteers at both.

"I was heartened by all of the emails I got yesterday from people who wanted to help," Lander said in the message.

Volunteers need to be willing to work an eight-hour shift, and can't bring kids with them. Volunteers at the Armory should be comfortable with the elderly, disabled, and others who need extra support, because that shelter is for people with medical needs, Lander said.

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