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Storm Topples Large Tree Onto Car In Jackson Heights, Queens; Hollis Residents Remain Mindful Of Prior Storm Devastation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Queens residents still picking up the pieces from Ida were anxious to avoid a repeat of that storm.

Thankfully, most were spared Tuesday, but one man woke up to significant damage to his car, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported.

All morning, 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights was blocked off because a tree fell onto the street and a car, leaving the driver quite the mess to wake up to. Thankfully, though, he was home at the time.

"I'm here standing with you and that's really all that matters," owner Martin Quinn said.

Quinn said he was grateful he wasn't inside his car when a tree came topping down during the overnight hours.

He woke up to the unexpected and unwelcome surprise.

"I came down this morning, was ready to re-park my car -- alternate side of the street parking was not suspended -- and I found the tree here," Quinn said.

The base of the tree appeared to snap and lift the concrete as it landed on top of the car, crushing the windshield.

Quinn said when he parked on 35th Avenue near 72nd Street at around 3 p.m. on Monday he didn't notice any issues with the tree.

"It's a hard neighborhood to park in. There are so many trees. So I never paid attention to this particular one," Quinn said.

A man who took the spot right behind Quinn was spared.

"I'm so lucky. I'm very lucky," Suvankar Biswas said.

Neighbor Anis Islam said he heard the loud bang overnight.

"I was sleeping. I hear a big sound ... Then I saw the tree falling down over here," Islam said.

"The whole trunk is out. The windshield is gone. That looks bad, yeah," Jackson Heights resident Basit Kahn added.

Despite the inconvenience, Quinn said he knows it could have been a lot worse.

"I'm remaining calm. I'm insured, and I'll take care of it the best I can. I'm alive. We all survived a hard couple of years, so I'm trying to take it in stride," Quinn said,

Especially following Ida and the hardships many neighbors faced.

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about how the city prepared for Tuesday's storm.

"We had teams out dropping sandbags around key areas, particularly in Queens. We had 4,500 catch basins cleaned by DEP. Sanitation has been out there. Everyone has been doing a great job," de Blasio said.

The mayor said the city will continue to monitor conditions.

Back on 35th Avenue, the road was reopened early Tuesday afternoon, but the NYPD said there were no reported injuries.


So far, only minor issues have been reported in the city as a result of the storm. But after what happened during Ida, many were terrified as the rain fell overnight, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

To say Hollis was on edge prior to the storm's arrival would be putting it mildly. During Ida, 183rd Street between 90th and 91st saw catastrophic flooding and people were killed. As a result, resident on Tuesday said they felt more prepared for several reasons -- they couldn't afford not to be.

Watch CBS2's Alice Gainer's 5 p.m. report:

Ragendra Shiv-Prasad showed Gainer the basement wall that collapsed during Ida, sending flood waters rushing in that killed a 43-year-old woman and her 22-year-old son.

"It's not easy. It's very hard," Shiv-Prasad said. "I know them a long, long time."

The home has since been under vacate orders pending construction. He placed sandbags from the city around the house on Monday night.

So did his neighbors. George Lee said he didn't see any water in his home, but admitted he also didn't get any sleep.

"I was up 3 o'clock in the morning looking out the window to see what's going on," Lee said.

The whole block was awake, especially since the devastation from Ida was still fresh on everyone's minds.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said an infrastructure project on a portion of the block was just completed.

"Built out some catch basins and they increased the capacity and they'll run a sewer pipe all the way up to the boulevard," Richards said.

Neighbors are skeptical it'll make a difference and blame the ongoing construction for other issues.

Residents on the block said they're still waiting for more assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are alleging they weren't given enough money and that FEMA reps never did a proper assessment, never entering the homes. A rep with the mayor's office was also out there Tuesday and said they'll be circling back with FEMA, asking it to return and do a second assessment of damage.

CBS2's Alice Gainer contributed to this report.

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