Aftermath of Sandy

Yesterday morning, stir crazy from having been cooped up in the apartment a couple of days, with no subways running and having some stuff to check on at work, I made the trek from my Park Slope apartment to my office in downtown Brooklyn, and thence to the waterfront in nearby D.U.M.B.O. Note well that our area was among the least hardest hit in the city. Compared with Staten Island, Lower Manhattan, Coney Island and the Rockaways, to say we got off easy is putting it mildly. Still, for whatever it’s worth, here’s what I encountered along the way:

9th Street, Park Slope
7th Ave, Park Slope

Less spectacularly, awnings were down on the shop-lined street, as well.

Local school, 7th Ave

Garfield Street. A second tree was down past this one as well
Carroll Street
Carroll Street

At this stage I crossed the lovely Gowanus Canal as I always do on my walks to work, operating under the theory that a daily whiff of its vapors helps me build an immunity to industrial poisons. It was near the top of its banks and you could see where it had topped them the night before, but like the awnings it wasn’t very spectacular. Plus it’s a Superfund site, so I decided to move on.

Carroll Street, other side of canal
Carroll Street. These guys were already on the job sawing apart a fallen tree
Can I get a “yoiks!”? The construction scaffolding on the building next to my office on Jay Street had collapsed. Anyone who had been standing underneath would have been flattened like a pancake. That’s why when the Mayor says “Stay inside” it’s not a bad idea to listen!

After a brief interlude at my office, I proceeded on to D.U.M.B.O. At the corner of Jay and Tillary a traffic light had been blown completely down — I didn’t notice until I was on my back and my camera had died. Also it was when I crossed this intersection that I observed that the electricity was out — DUMBO was without power. Going down the hill I noticed a loud noise coming from the structure over the York Street F station. I’ve always assumed that structure was a ventilator for the tunnel. I’m assuming the sound was pumps emptying water out, as this is the first stop on the Brooklyn side of the East River.

Walking through DUMBO (at least on the approach) was more pleasant than usual. I find it one of New York’s more pleasing neighborhoods to look at, with its cobblestone streets, its views of the bridges and waterfront, and its beautiful old industrial buildings and warehouses. But aurally it’s almost unbearable, with the racket of cars, trucks and subway trains going over those bridges, and the sounds reverberating amongst the concrete canyons below. Yesterday, with traffic still stopped on the bridges, was a rare chance to enjoy the beauty of the neighborhood in peace and quiet.

My destination was Brooklyn Bridge Park, and I admit I was drawn there by a picture of Jane’s Carousel surrounded by water  I had seen online the night before:

 By yesterday morning the water had completely receded and the Carousel seemed safe and sound. The Park itself was closed off but in the surrounding area you could see where the water had risen MANY feet above its normal height, flooded the park and poured into the neighborhood at least as far as the aptly named Water Street.

This SUV had clearly floated to its position in the middle of the road
Note debris left by water on radiator grill
This beach grass records the flow of water over the wall

Soggy wood chips from Brooklyn Bridge Park were deposited all over the neighborhood

Back into the neighborhood, I saw lots of sad and worried looking people wandering in and out and around the water damaged shops. Note the waterline on this shop window
Galapagos Artspace. Much damage inside but couldnt photograph it through the window
Interior of powerhouse books through window. It looks like they did a good job of getting their merch to safety, but there was several inches of water and debris inside

 For Part Two, the aftermath at Coney Island, go here.

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