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.