The WTF Tornado @ Park Slope, Brooklyn – 09.16.10
The New York Scene column “chronicles lesbian nightlife and events of interest in New York City,” and the freak tornado that ripped through the heart of Lesbian Nation, i.e. Park Slope, Brooklyn on September 16 was most certainly an “event.”
At first, no one, including yours truly, believed that a tornado touched down in Brooklyn.
Then the National Weather Service confirmed that a 75-yard wide twister cut a two mile path through Brooklyn, with Park Slope bearing the brunt of the storm.
Brooklyn club promoter Sarah Jenny, whose monthly queer party Hey Queen will be moving to its new home at Public Assembly on October 15, was in nearby Crown Heights when the maelstrom came out of nowhere. “The sky turned green, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s unusual,’” she said. “Then rain starting streaking across in sheets, thunder like bowling balls, hail the size of golf balls – you couldn’t see anything! It was like a hurricane.”
Our own Heather O’Neill witnessed the destruction first hand.
Grace: Describe what you saw. Have you seen anything like it in NYC?
Heather: I live in a garden apartment, so I didn’t realize what was happening until I looked out – and up – and saw that the sky was tornado green. My partner is from St. Louis, and she knew immediately that it was bad. Still, I didn’t quite believe that Brooklyn got hit by a tornado until I walked outside and saw a bunch of trees ripped out from the concrete sidewalk.
Grace: At Dinah Shore there was an earthquake. At Diva on the Shore, there was a 100+ degree heat wave and a blackout – and now a tornado rips through lesbian central. Do you have any theories as to why natural disasters seem to strike large gatherings of lesbians?
Heather: Because we radiate high levels of energy, of course, though I’m sure Pat Robertson has a different theory.
Grace: Did a bunch of dykes come out with power tools and clear debris afterwards, and was the Food Coop spared?
Heather: God, I wish I knew. Most of the dykes I know don’t own power tools or belong to the Food Coop. Wait. Does this mean my lesbian membership is revoked, too?
For the answer to my last question, I spoke to the owner of Ginger’s Bar, Sheila Frayne. Frayne confirmed that the ladies of Park Slope did take to the streets with chainsaws and other assorted power tools after the tornado left the neighborhood in disarray. “Oh yes, chicks and tools! Lesbionic lumberjacks chain sawed, stacked, curbed and cleaned up by noon while our most my neighbors were still questioning if a ‘tornado did grow in Brooklyn!’” she said.
Ginger’s Bar only suffered minor damage, but Frayne’s backyard was not so lucky. “My poor 100-year old 25-foot spruce tree cradling my home in the back garden was twisted, lifted, and thrown across my backyard, taking four sheds and my neighbor’s fences and trees. I truly felt like Dorothy.”
And the Food Coop? Since there were no reports of starving lesbians roaming the streets begging for seitan and gluten-free alternatives to pasta, I’ll assume that it survived intact.