A Tree Grows in Queens (Right Through An Auto Body Shop!)

I was driving down 27th Ave in Astoria the other day when a rather large tree in front of an auto body shop caught my eye. Nothing too special about a random tree…but something didn’t seem right…


…And then I realized: was that tree growing through the auto body shop??


I stepped into the office to find out…


…And sure enough, it was, growing right through the counter and up through roof!


I spoke with the owner, who told me he built the office around the tree 20 or 30 years ago (he would never think of cutting it down), and that it’s continued to grow without problems ever since.


So cool – reminds me of something you’d read in a children’s book. Here’s a great pic taken in the summer courtesy of Google Street View:


Hey, New York may not be the greenest city in the world, but we sure are creative about where we put our trees!


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  1. It’s very cool, but it doesn’t look very sanitary.

  2. VERY cool.

    Back in the 1980s, I went to a party in a building on the uptown side of W 3rd St, between 6th Ave and McDougal, across from that big parking garage. The apartment was massive, and had a balcony in the rear. Standing out there, I could see a tiny house, like something out of a fairy tale, with a tree growing up its middle and out its roof just like the one you describe here. I’ve always wondered if it were still there, whenever I’ve walked down that block.

    It just occurred to me to look on Google Maps satellite:


    and, frankly, you can’t really tell. But if you ever get the chance to get out behind those buildings, you should look for it!

  3. Very cool tree/ shop.
    But Karen’s comment was very intriguing.
    Never tell a location scout ‘the apartment was massive’.
    At least here in Toronto – very rare.
    Once someone says that, I have to see it.

  4. that is so cool!

    We used to have a barber shop in town built around a tree like that. Never could figure out how they kept the roof from leaking and yet allowed the tree to grow. Sadly, the tree became diseased and weak a few years ago and had to be cut down. Hope this one keeps on going strong!

  5. My favorite bar in Key West – Captain Tony’s Saloon (a Hemmingway hangout, by the way) has the same thing. You can’t really tell by the Street View, but this tree grows right through the bar:

    PS Scout, keep up the good work!

  6. It’s ironic that that it would remind someone of a ckildren’s story-book. The man in this article is my dad. He raised me to believe nothing is impossible. Inspired by my parents I wrote a children’s story-book for my children. I’ve been trying to work on getting Kat VonD to illustrate it, as she and her work are of the same spirit.

    You could find the story at:


  7. On the Swedish island Gotland there is a Best Western hotel that have a tree in the recepetion area. Very neat!

    Awesome blog!

  8. Have you ever seen the one around 135 in Harlem growing in the abandoned building? It’s also cool!

  9. Looking to do the same with a tree by my house. Anyone know of how to setup the roof with a tree going threw it?

  10. As does a tree at the Bomonti Cafe on the banks of the Marmara in Istanbul’s Kadikoy neighborhood.

    Scroll down to see (similar) tree pic. http://istanblecore.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/crossing-the-water-to-asia/