The report rainfall from Hurricane Ida appeared to break each dwelling on one block in Queens, the place some households had lived for many years.
By Chelsia Rose Marcius and Benjamin Norman
The solar beat down on owners alongside 153rd Street in Queens as they hauled waterlogged baggage of garbage out to the curb and positioned them alongside heaps of splintered tables, stained mattresses and different vestiges of their lives earlier than the flood.
It was lower than 48 hours after the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept by New York City, bringing dashing water that had risen to over six ft, engulfing basements and sluicing by higher flooring. Neighbors on the block in Flushing — a stretch surrounded by Kissena Park — had fallen right into a quiet, regular rhythm of eradicating their most treasured belongings and tossing them into the trash on Friday.
Marco Velasco, 51, leafed by a soaked, leather-bound Bible, a gift his spouse obtained when the couple bought their dwelling in 2006.
“Everything is damaged. Everything is ruined,” Mr. Velasco mentioned. “I lost everything in 10 minutes.”
Every home on this block of 153rd Street in Flushing, Queens, suffered important harm. Sanitation employees hauled away mattresses and different belongings.
The report rainfall all through the Northeast on Wednesday left greater than 40 individuals lifeless in 4 states. The toll was particularly laborious on New Jersey, the place a minimum of 25 individuals died — a 3rd of them in their automobiles — and on this swath of Queens, which accounted for the majority of New York City’s 13 deaths. President Biden was scheduled to go to Queens and Manville, New Jersey, on Tuesday, the White House introduced on Saturday.
In Queens, individuals cried for assist, unable to flee as their basement residences stuffed up with water. The lifeless included three individuals who lived in a basement residence on Peck Avenue, round the nook from 153rd Street.
Many of the residents who survived the nighttime torrent have been left with little to nothing. Sanitation crews mentioned the storm appeared to hit each single dwelling on this block of 153rd Street.
The space, about half a mile from the Long Island Expressway, has attracted households with roots in numerous components of the world, from China to Italy to Ecuador. On Friday, most residents spoke quietly to at least one one other in Mandarin, Spanish or English as they labored to filter out the wreckage.
On the east aspect of the road, there are 10 two-story properties, a set of comparable constructions constructed in the mid-1920s, every with a shingle roof that rises to a peak. On the west aspect of the block are 22 two-family properties, all purple brick, constructed in the mid-1950s.
Many households had poured all the pieces that they had into shopping for or sustaining their properties, now ravaged by the storm. The neighborhood and others close by in Queens are a few of the few remaining areas of the metropolis the place middle-class New Yorkers can nonetheless afford to personal a house. But in this close-knit group on 153rd Street, households puzzled whether or not they might ever handle to interchange what Ida’s surging waters stripped from them in a single evening.
Jackson Sun swept water and particles from his dwelling on 153rd Street in Queens.A household dried out their belongings in their yard.
“This was our first house,” mentioned Joanna Velasco, Mr. Velasco’s spouse, as she regarded round the bones of her basement, the place uncovered electrical cords dangled from the ceiling. “Now we don’t know if we’re going to come back.”
The couple had spent properly over $100,000 over 15 years to restore and beautify the place for his or her three sons, and later their three grandchildren. The Velascos had put in wood flooring, painted the partitions and changed previous home equipment — a hefty monetary funding that was washed away in a matter of moments.
“It was a lot of money,” mentioned Ms. Velasco, 49. “I think about everything we did, everything for our kids.”
A manicurist, Ms. Velasco has been unemployed throughout the pandemic; Mr. Velasco works as an upholsterer.
“Where are we going to go?” she requested, shaking her head as she surveyed her front room, the place a number of soaking wet picture albums with child photos of their sons lay close by. “We don’t have clothes, we have nothing. We have no answers.”
Joanna Velasco hugged her grandson earlier than heading to a lodge room supplied by the American Red Cross.Joanna Velasco cleaned out her fridge as her grandson Lionel watched.
Just a few doorways down, Sunciya Vijayarajah stood on her stoop close to piles of her youngsters’s faculty papers, sodden baggage of basmati rice and a big statue of an elephant, which had floated midway down the block and required 4 males to retrieve.
“My daughter now has one dress. Just one dress,” mentioned Ms. Vijayarajah, 42, as she sorted by damp garments whereas members of her household continued to hold baggage, bins and items of furnishings out of the home. Ms. Vijayarajah, a homemaker, and her husband, Vijay Thangarajah, who works in development, have three youngsters, Vinecaiya, 17, Vinoja, 14, and Vanson, 9.
New York Flooding
Live Updates: New York Flooding
Updated Sept. three, 2021, 5:09 p.m. ETAfter supply employees braved the storm, advocates name for higher circumstances.Here’s what to do if your private home flooded throughout Ida.Most of the residences the place New Yorkers drowned had been unlawful residences.
One of the few gadgets that remained after the deluge was a framed snapshot of a beaming Ms. Vijayarajah subsequent to Mr. Thangarajah, taken on their wedding ceremony day in 1998 in Sri Lanka, three years earlier than the couple moved to the United States. Ms. Vijayarajah, then simply 19 years previous, her hair pulled again in an updo, wore a regal purple and inexperienced sari with gold gildings.
“My wedding sari is gone” mentioned Ms. Vijayarajah as tears started to roll down her cheeks.
“Our dreams are lost,” mentioned Sunciya Vijayarajah.Family images hanging on the wall had been a few of the few belongings that weren’t broken in the dwelling of Sunciya Vijayarajah and Vijay Thangarajah.
Five years in the past, she moved her mother and father — Reetamma Thevathas and Thevathas Madutheen, each 67 — to Queens from Sri Lanka in order that they’d have a “good life.”
The older couple, standing close to her on the stoop, wept as their daughter spoke. “Our dreams are lost,” Ms. Vijayarajah mentioned.
Across the road, Joey Ferraro, 27, sat on the trunk of his black sedan, certainly one of the dozens of autos on the block that had been partially submerged for hours earlier than the water receded.
The sedan was parked in the driveway of a purple brick home, the dwelling that has been in the Ferraro household since 1955. Mr. Ferraro and his older brother, Michael Ferraro, grew up in the home identical to their late father. Michael Ferraro has a 1-year-old daughter, marking the fifth technology of the household to dwell there.
The brothers — Michael works as a barista at Starbucks and Joey works as a glazier — mentioned that they had spent about $120,000 in renovations that they accomplished in February 2020. On Friday, the as soon as pristine dwelling, with its white shaker cupboards and white marble tile, was caked in a layer of darkish sludge. On the lavatory flooring lay a muddied cross made from dried palm leaves.
Joey Ferraro and his mom Dana Ferraro mirrored on the harm to the dwelling that has been in the Ferraro household for 5 generations. Joey Ferraro and his older brother mentioned that they had spent about $120,000 in renovations that they accomplished in February 2020.
Only a couple of gadgets from the first flooring of the home may very well be salvaged: a small white christening coat that each brothers wore as infants; the ashes of Joey Ferraro’s pit bull, Spanky; and a ceramic 1974 blue, white and gold beer stein from Delehanty High School, their father’s alma mater.
“It’s my family’s home, and it’s my childhood home,” mentioned Michael Ferraro, 28. “I have all my childhood memories here. This is where we grew up, this is where my father grew up, this is where my grandparents lived. If we moved here 10 years ago, it would be different.”
“We’re the last two left,” he added. “I’m the sentimental one. But I don’t want to stay for that reason. So the question is: Do we want to stay, or do we want to go somewhere else and start brand new?”
As the solar started to wane, Marco and Joanna Velasco headed to the Anchor Inn in Bayside, Queens, the place their two sons, Allen, 22, and Matthew, 12, had been ready in a small room that the American Red Cross had reserved for them. Mr. Velasco’s 80-year-old mom, Nelly Velasco, sat in the again seat of their SUV.
Ms. Velasco spoke her worries aloud: When would the fuel be turned again on? Would the second plumber they employed be capable of make the needed fixes the first couldn’t? Could they save their boiler, or would they need to dole out $1,700 to interchange it? Would the insurance coverage cowl the harm? How would they pay the payments if it didn’t?
After pulling into the lodge parking zone, the Velascos crossed the road to select up a number of baggage of soda, roast hen, rice, and macaroni and cheese. Then they settled into the room.
Ms. Velasco sat on certainly one of the two queen beds, her arms folded in her lap, drained from two days of cleansing out the dwelling that they had labored so laborious to construct.
“At least we have food,” Ms. Velasco mentioned with a sigh, earlier than lifting her head and smiling at her sons. “Not everyone can afford to buy chicken.”
The Velasco household stayed in a lodge room supplied by the American Red Cross.