Your correspondent returned to lower Manhattan today, fearing that, like Icarus, he had dared to fly too high, to grow food where nature did not intend, and that he would find his presumption rewarded with a thorough smiting at the hands of Hurricane Sandy.  Before this part of the Battery was mandatorily evacuated on Sunday, things that might fly off the roof were secured, but the poor plants were left to fend for themselves: 

And fend they did.  Does this look like a chastened chard?


Or battered broccoli?


The fruit trees shed not a single limb:


The Stewartia, reputed to swoon at the slightest discomfort, showed no signs of 100 mph gusts:


The spinach slept snugly in its armored cold frame:


Even the Pyracantha refused to surrender a single berry to the gale:




And my resident Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottus, and he (or she) is truly polyglottus) was perched unperturbed in my Contorted Larch, patiently awaiting my return.   How he (or she) sheltered from the storm here on the 35th floor is truly a mystery:


Only the kale shed its leaves to save itself, looking remarkably like a palm tree following a hurricane:


But don’t be mislead by these tough plants.  Down below, the eastern side of lower Manhattan is quite devastated.  Our beloved Battery Park took a severe beating.  Virtually every large building in the southern and eastern parts of the financial district had its basement flooded,  damaging critical electric, heating and other systems.  I will look across tonight at the tip of Manhattan Island returned to pre-Columbian darkness, its hundreds of thousands of residents without power or water.  Further afield, in Staten Island and Queens, the loss of life reminds us that plants may be tough, but people are fragile, and the sea is strong.


This entry was posted in Blueberries, Broccoli, Chard, Cold Frame, Fruit, Kale, Ornamental Trees, Photos, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Sandy

  1. rick hamlin says:

    Wow, I’m amazed. And so glad for you, Battery Rooftop Gardener. I was worried that the whole thing would blow off. How is the garden upstate?

  2. When I flew in last night into Newark and saw dark patches in the city that never sleeps, I got a pang. Cannot tell you how good it is to hear your garden survived so well — a note of hope amid the chaos.

  3. John and Florence Speers says:

    We are so happy for you and the mockingbird. Where is the nest ?

  4. carolwallace says:

    So relieved. I was especially concerned for the fruit trees, little suspecting mimus polyglottus.

    • David and Jeannette Redden says:

      Daedelus, more like it! We are thrilled you and yours survived so well. Another argument for a well-planned rooftop garden!

  5. Sandra Shipley says:

    I’m so happy for you. You have put so much into your magnificent garden I’m very pleased that you were rewarded with it being unscathed on your return. Your mockingbird in residence to crown it all!. Sandra Shipley

  6. Rachel Harrison says:

    Wow – what a miracle! Good luck to everyone in NYC and the surrounding areas with the recovery from Sandy. Thinking of you all from across the “pond”!!

  7. Douglas Reeves says:

    This belongs on CNN – we need models of resilience right now and nature provides them in abundance.

  8. I am so pleased to her this news, and so happy that the glass fountains are fully intact!! I was worried, of course.

    Eve Vaterlaus

  9. Terry O'Brien says:

    So glad to hear. A bright spot in a difficult time. Glad you’re well, and glad the garden is thriving.

  10. As I have been reading this article, I’m looking out of my window (from the second floor of an apartment building in Sunnyside Queens) to see a line of cars (about 1/2 mile long) waiting to refuel their cars…what a contrast…if we all had more of such resilient urban gardens, would we even need so many cars? or so many non resilient (vulnerable) devices?…in any case, I hope the cars are gone tomorrow, because they are ironically sitting where our weekly farmer’s market is stationed, and thinking about your garden makes me especially hungry for some fresh veggies!

  11. I agree with Douglas Reeves about this stories….tweet to your favourite reporter/news media outlet. Great opportunity to spread the word about urban agriculture and adaptation to climate change.

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