Out and about after Irene

Our backyard looked to be in pretty good shape: a few fallen figs and a bottle of prescription cough syrup that somehow blew our way; no real damage to report. After the rain stopped and the wind died down, we decided to take a long walk through Astoria and Long Island City. The abandoned umbrella, on Vernon Boulevard, brightened up a desolate stretch. Ditmars Boulevard was surprisingly lively; a number of restaurants found a way to open, and though a few trees were down, none of them seemed to have done much structural damage to buildings. Astoria Park was a nexus of activity -- two short stretches of Shore Boulevard were submerged, and the atmostphere was festive. Children splashed in the puddled water, bikers braved crossings, and people picnicked. Across the East River, with no public transit to speak of, Manhattan felt a world away.