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50-Foot Tree Part Of Cove Auto Towing & Recovery In Astoria

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Cove Auto Towing & Recovery in Astoria (credit: CBS 2)

Cove Auto Towing & Recovery in Astoria (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When a Queens auto shop owner decided to build his office 32 years ago, a large tree with sentimental value to his family stood in the way.

But instead of cutting it down he found a way around it.

If you’re walking through Astoria searching for Cove Auto Towing & Recovery all you have to do is look for the tree growing out of the office and you’re there.

In 1986, Tommy Cali, 59, decided to build an office on the spot of a small garden and leave the tree intact.

“My wife’s family, they used to own the house here,” Cali told CBS 2’s Mark Morgan. “It was sentimental. She didn’t want it cut down, that’s why it’s still standing.”

It took Cali about eight months to build the office. He did the construction himself with materials he found.

“It wasn’t too hard,” Cali said. “I just got all the scraps together that I found, put them in one spot and one day I just started to build it.”

Many other items he has picked up adorn the office, earning him the nickname “Garbage Man” from his daughter Natalie.

“If he sees anything useful or non-useful he will pick it up,” she said.

The 50-foot tree has become a novelty in the area and gets quite a reaction from people who see it for the first time.

“A friend of mine actually thought it was placed there, that we built it purposely and it’s fake,” neighbor Jana Tellez said. “I was like, ‘No, it’s real.’”

Naturally, a living tree growing through your roof needs maintenance.

“I cut the sheet rock out as it grows wider and on the top we have rubber mounted around it so as it grows the rubber stretches,” Cali said.

Despite the up keep, Cali said he has no intentions of cutting the tree. He’ll just let nature take it’s course.

Cali recently turned down a $2.6 million offer for his home. He is reluctant to sell because he’s concerned the buyer would cut down the tree.

What do you think of the tree office? Let us know below…

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