As Brooklyn residents steeled themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, they were told to prepare for flooding, broken windows, loss of power, and fallen trees. But a bike ride through the borough’s Fort Greene Park on Sunday, when the worst of the storm had passed, revealed a subset of Brooklynites with a less practical sort of concern. On the southeast corner of the park, a branch had broken off from a large tree and fallen to the ground, where it had been cordoned off with caution tape. The real danger, however, lay in the jagged outcropping that remained attached to the trunk, high above the ground: a huge beehive that had been built in a hollowed-out portion of the branch.
A sensible response to the realization that you are within a stone’s throw of an active beehive would probably be to shield your face and be quickly on your way. But the crowd that had gathered around this broken tree branch (not in and of itself a crowd-worthy site on this blustery, post-Irene day), didn’t seem concerned about getting stung; in fact, they were huddled directly beneath the colony. The hubbub made this reporter curious enough to nervously edge closer to the scene.
The concern shared amongst the gathered onlookers was not how to safely remove the hive, which was situated at only a short remove from a playground and near a busy intersection, but rather, who had rights to add it to his or her personal beekeeping operation. Beekeeping (along with DIY endeavors of all varieties) has experienced a real renaissance in Brooklyn, especially since the New York City Board of Health voted in March of 2010 to lift a ban on the practice. The beekeeping community, though, is generally perceived as collaborative—as in, I’ll trade you some of my honey for some of those eggs your pet chicken laid on your roof this morning—not territorial.
But the vibe among these amateur beekeepers was bordering on hostile. As a city contractor made phone calls, several people in yoga clothes and a twenty-something cyclist with a moustache argued over who had spotted the hive first. A man in a beekeeping suit, sans hood, pondered preempting them all by scaling the wet, slippery tree trunk and snatching it, seemingly with his bare hands. And alongside them, a man in a tee-shirt that read “New York City Beekeepers Association”—whom Google has revealed to be Andrew Cote, a third-generation beekeeper and local expert who sells his honey at the Union Square Greenmarket, teaches beekeeping classes, and runs an organization called Bees Without Borders—stood by, shaking his head in bemusement at the bizarre and un-neighborly circus that was unfolding.
Tag Archives: hurricane irene
L Magazine round up of Irene’s damage in BK:
Irene in Brooklyn: Hurricane News by Neighborhood
Carroll Gardens: The Carroll Gardens Patch got video of men scooping water off the roof of the newly opened Bar Bruno, on Henry and Union, with buckets.
Ditmas Park: A car on Argyle was an early victim of the storm, taking a branch to its rear window, the Ditmas Park blog reports.
DUMBO: Main Street flooded, DUMBO NYC reports, causing several children to frolic.
East New York: The Belt Parkway flooded near Pennsylvania Avenue, the Bensonhurst Bean reports.
Gravesend: Flooding affected the N line, whose track beds became standing pools, according to a photo released by the MTA and published on Bensonhurst Bean. The neighborhood also seemed to be one of the hardest hit by power outages.
Greenpoint: A small uprooted tree was the worst of it, judging by photos on Greenpointers.
Marine Park: Several trees were down, according to a mention on Sheepshead Bites.
Park Slope: A woman fell into a manhole, whose cover had been washed away, Fucked in Park Slope reports.
Prospect Lefferts Gardens: A 32-year-old man almost died when a tree came crashing down on his ’98 Sebring, which he’d just parked on E. 54th Street, the Post reports.
Prospect Heights: Critics assailed the Atlantic Yards project for not securing projectiles on its construction site, including loose lumber, Atlantic Yards Report reports.
Prospect Park: Fallen branches littered roadways, while large pools formed on the Long Meadow, according to photos on the Park Slope Patch.
Red Hook: Yup, it flooded. The Carroll Gardens Patch has photos of Van Brunt Street.
Windsor Terrace: the Windsor Terrace blog has several photos of snapped, felled, and deracinated trees.
I’m loving NYMAG’s coverage of the storm:
Update XXV: Take a look at the line for Trader Joe’s in Chelsea, courtesy of @DaniellaAlony:
Apparently, nobody in New York has a two-day supply of food in their apartments.
Update XXVI: Chris Christie is angry at his people. “Get the Hell off the beach in Asbury Park and get out. It’s 4:30,” he said today. “You’ve maximized your tan.”
Update XXVII: So, not to ruin the fun, but the NOAA’s latest forecast predicts that there’s only a 25 percent chance that Irene will be a hurricane by 2 a.m. on Sunday. There’s a 59 percent chance it will have weakened to a tropical storm, which can pack winds of anywhere from 39 m.p.h to 73 m.p.h. Still a lot of wind, if you ask us.