Tony “Trees” Palmieri would never consider himself a environmentalist.
The grandson of a Western Pennsylvania steel mill manager, the son of a Jersey City welder and himself the owner of New Jersey’s largest chain of car dealerships, he actually welcomed climate change, since warmer winters at the Jersey shore would eliminate any need to move to Florida as many of his generation did. He loved the shore; the smell of the ocean, the warm of the sun and the calming texture of the smooth wooden boardwalk beneath his bare feet on a sunny summer afternoon.
Yet, through no will or fault of his own, Tony was being applauded by the community of Seaside Heights as a leading “green” activist. He totally dismantled his dealerships; first, by selling off his inventory, then he converted the massive lots (at great personal expense) to a series of recreational facilities including ball fields, basketball courts and a skatepark. These play areas had no parking lots, only multiple bike racks, meant to encourage the children – and their parents – to walk, skate or ride bicycles to the park. This, said the community, lowered greenhouse emissions from the cars and also contributed to slimmer, happier kids in town.
Tony himself no longer owned a car, but rode around town on an old tandem bicycle.
These acts were not entirely philanthropic in nature.
He “retired” from the automotive industry on the advice of some local law enforcement officials who wished to avoid any entanglements concerning Tony’s “inventory management.” Also, the re-purposing of the acreage was necessitated by the possibility that, just maybe, the land wasn’t entirely free and clear in a CSI sort of way.
After the unfortunate incident … “I hit a deer” he said.
“In reverse??? With the trunk open???” Tricia asked, “Then, I suppose, this mortally wounded whitetail jumped into the open door – open because you wanted to see if she was okay – she jumped into the open door and thrashed around until she expired. Is that right Tony???”
“Jeez, honey, it’s like you were there.”
… He really couldn’t bring himself to drive anymore. The extra seat made it easy for Tony to cart his girlfriend back and forth to the spare condo, without arousing suspicion; plus she could always hop off and lose herself in the Boardwalk crowd if the need arose.