Thursday, July 15, 2010

The night I almost died

Last night I had a rather harried evening. I was planning to meet a (newly Astorian) friend for dinner at 7 and came home from work to relax and hang out with Dinah for an hour or so before heading out. Unfortunately, I'd left behind a pivotal ingredient to these plans on the desk at my office--namely the keys to my apartment. Luckily, my roommate was just getting off work and was able to let me in after about a half an hour. Not wanting to inconvenience my roommate when I went out later as well as realizing I probably needed a spare set of keys anyway, I set out to make a copy at the dollar store a block away.

This turned into a greater saga than it might initially appear because, as it turns out, keys made at the dollar store are not necessarily the highest functioning keys. Getting four keys (there are a lot of doors and locks to get into my apartment) that all worked ended up entailing three seperate trips back and forth between the dollar store and my apartment. It was on the second of these trips that a potentially life-threatening (or at the very least: potentially concussion-producing) event occured. For you see, next to the dollar store is a fish market with an artisically ambitious display involving fish, an assortment of shells, and what I can only describe as a large mermaid tail (either that or a headless fish). See picture below.
As a note: I can't take credit for this picture. I found it by google image searching "fish market astoria" and sifting through the results. All I can say about this picture is that it came with the label "a good fish market." Astorian Dream can neither confirm or deny this claim. The "mermaid tail" in question is directly between the two palm trees.

Anyway, as I was approaching the dollar store (which you can see in the picture is actually a 99 cent store), the entire mermaid tail fell off the building landing in a cacophonic crash of concrete base and rabbit wire approximately 6 feet in front of me. Oddly enough, this was percipiated by nothing. It rained a lot that day, and the weather has been undeniably humid, but there was no inciting force (a landing pigeon, perhaps, or enthusiastically discarded herring) to cause the crash. Luckily, both for me and the liability team at the fish market, I sustained no greater injury than a little cement dust to the eyes. Still, had I not been in a rush to get my keys, I might have been a little more shaken by the incident.

I regret that I didn't get a picture of the fallen wreckage. I was even accompanied by a talented photographer in possession of an iphone (albeit not the newest model). Were my blogging and journalistic instincts keener than my awe of my own mortality and the urgency of my quest for keys, I would have tried to get a good photo to post here. To their credit, the people at the fish market were very quick to clean everything up. They had put the pieces of mermaid tail in a dumpter and were already throwing (unfortunately fish-reaking) water onto the sidewalk when I returned for my final trip to the dollar store. I did take an "after" picture this morning of the changed decor, which you can see below:

Frankly, I think it's an improvement.

Now, just as a note, for those readers worried about my well being--Astoria is without a doubt a very safe neighborhood. I've lived here for the bulk of the two years I've lived in New York and never felt anything other than secure here. Aside from the odd mermaid tail falling here or there (which could really happen anywhere), I don't think my life has ever been in danger. Feeling safe and secure in your neighborhood despite paying low rents is all part of the Astorian dream.


  1. I am very glad you are alive! Although, wouldn't it be cool to have people say at your funeral, "She was killed by a mermaid tail"? Not many people could say that. :p

  2. Susan, this is your funniest post ever! LOL. Not funny that you almost died, of course, but you tell the story so well. I am so super glad that you lived and made it to dinner. I had a lovely time!

  3. WHOA!This is insane. It's like something out of a movie. Actually, I watched Ghost Town the other day (it's an ok movie) and the opening scene shows Greg Kinnear walking down a street in NY chatting on the phone when all of a sudden a window air conditioning unit falls and almost hits him. And now I read this. A mermaid tail makes for a much cooler story though. I'm glad you're ok, friend!