Public radio station WNYC has an audio report on Jersey Shore communities still reeling from Sandy, and in need of recovery help. Listen below:
NEW YORK — If the water that destroys much of your house comes up from below the structure, would you describe that as a flood? Grantley Hunt was mulling this question when his insurer balked at covering the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy over a year ago to his two-family house, which has an almost unobstructed view of Jamaica Bay in Queens.
The house is almost dead even with the bay. But Hunt was ready – he thought he was ready – when the water from the bay surged onto the streets of the Rockaways one year ago: He had encircled the house with sandbags.
“There was no way that water was coming into my house,” he recalled thinking. “So, when my son told me there was water in the basement, I said, ‘No, that’s not possible.’”
But the water was rising in the basement. “Oh Sandy, she fooled us,” Hunt said, his tone of voice changing as he started to talk about the hurricane as if she were an unannounced visitor. “She came from under the house!”
If the water that destroys much of your house comes up from below the structure, would you describe that as a flood?
To Hunt, it didn’t matter how the water had gotten into the house — only that it did. But to his insurer, water that comes from underneath a house is technically not a flood, Hunt said, and his insurance company told him so when it refused to cover some of the damages. Up to now, Hunt has paid for all of the repairs himself – about $22,000 to rip out the dry wall that was soaked, replace appliances and electrical fixtures, flooring.
Like thousands of others whose lives were upended by the storm on Oct. 29, 2012, Hunt and his family may have escaped the storm surge, but a year later, the floodwaters’ toll on housing in New York City persists. Continue reading →
Until October 30, 2012, Dorothy Nolan lived with her husband in his childhood home in Fox Beach, a four-block subdivision of the Oakwood Beach neighborhood of Staten Island. Comprised mostly of bungalows constructed between 1930 and 1950, this was the kind of neighborhood where people stuck around, worked on their homes, and passed them down to their children.
The Nolans began renovating their home in 2008, piece by piece, as they could afford it. In the summer of 2012, they finally finished the last project – a back deck.
But the Nolans’ enjoyment of their renovated home was brief — and ended when Hurricane Sandy plowed into the city last fall. Nolan described her family’s harrowing experience in a letter to Governor Cuomo.
“We were trapped by flood waters that rose so high so quickly that we barely managed to escape up into a small crawl space in the attic of our home,” she wrote. “We struggled to stay calm for the almost 12 hours that we were there, watching the water levels rise to over 8 feet in our home, ending just below the ceilings, and the space we were hiding in.”
From the crawl space, Nolan said, “We could hear each wave come in. You would hear a crash and dishes breaking and everything moving.”
When they emerged from their attic on the morning of Oct. 30, they found “everything was in a big pile. It was like a snow globe, like someone shook the house.”
A year later, the turmoil wrought by the storm is far from over for Nolan and her neighbors on Staten Island’s southeastern shore. Continue reading →
Over the last week, in a special multi-part investigation from a team of reporters at AdaptNY and our news partner Gotham Gazette, we revealed on a striking disconnect in communication between New York’s City Hall and some of the communities most affected by Sandy, as they try to address the urgent task of adapting New York to climate change.
In-depth reporting found fully half of the community boards we spoke to that represent those hardest-hit areas had serious concerns about their communications with the city.
But to its credit, City Hall responded in the wake of the criticism about community involvement in its climate change planning process by deciding to reconvene two community advisory task forces on the climate resilience issue and pledging “broad-based outreach” to some of the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods as part of a Department of City Planning study.
Take a look at our in-depth, two-month-long investigative report below:
SPECIAL REPORT, PT 3: City Promises ‘Broad-Based Outreach’ To Communities To Prepare For Future Storms
This story was written by Sarah Crean, with reporting by Carla Astudillo, Emily Keller, Amy Kraft and Linda Thrasybule, research by Jessica Scanlon, Roxanne Scott and EJ Stewart and mapping by Cesar Bustamante and Carla Astudillo. It is part three of a series. Part one was published on Monday. Part two on Wednesday.
New York City has decided to reconvene two community advisory task forces that weighed in on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s multi-billion dollar plan to protect the city from future extreme weather and the effects of climate change in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the city’s resiliency director told the AdaptNY and news partner Gotham Gazette in an exclusive interview. The task forces will resume meeting this fall.
Daniel Zarrilli, the city’s director of resiliency, also said yesterday that there would be “broad-based outreach” to some of the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods as part of a Department of City Planning study that will examine “how we can ultimately build more resilient communities.” The study will examine issues such as the city’s building codes and the new national flood insurance maps.
The announcements came Oct. 24 with the city fielding criticism about community involvement in its climate change planning process, as detailed in a multi-part investigative report by AdaptNY and Gotham Gazette published earlier that week.
This story was written by Sarah Crean, with reporting by Carla Astudillo, Emily Keller, Amy Kraft and Linda Thrasybule, research by Jessica Scanlon, Roxanne Scott and EJ Stewart and mapping by Cesar Bustamante and Carla Astudillo. This is part two of three. The first installment was published on Monday, the last will be published Friday.
New York’s City Hall and some of its community boards show an at-times striking disconnect over ongoing preparations for the impacts of climate change, as revealed in board-by-board reporting conducted over the last two months by a team of reporters for AdaptNY and news partner Gotham Gazette.
Five of the 18 most vulnerable community boards – the city’s front line of government – reported that they felt they were communicating effectively with City Hall about climate change preparations.
We reached eleven of the 18 boards hardest-hit by Sandy. Fully half of those that responded to an extensive survey or spoke with our reporters had serious concerns about their communications with the city. They expressed frustration and shared a sense that the city is not moving fast enough to rebuild or prepare in anticipation of more extreme weather to come.
In Part Two of our special report, we take a brief look at a half dozen of the boards that were most heavily affected by Sandy and how they view their interactions with the city on the questions of rebuilding and preparing for future storms.
This story was written by Sarah Crean, with reporting by Carla Astudillo, Emily Keller, Amy Kraft and Linda Thrasybule, research by Jessica Scanlon, Roxanne Scott and EJ Stewart and mapping by Cesar Bustamante and Carla Astudillo. This is part one of three. A new installment will be published on Wednesday.
On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, residents worry about how to prevent the elderly and disabled from being trapped in their apartments during the next hurricane — the city, meanwhile, is proposing a large-scale housing and commercial development along the East River.
In the Rockaways, residents say that the danger of flooding from future storm surges on the peninsula’s Jamaica Bay side needs immediate attention — the city, though, is focused on oceanside beach reconstruction.
Along the Brooklyn waterfront, small businesses that spent weeks digging out from mud and debris left behind by Sandy say they need assistance with storm-proofing their facilities — not loans, as the city suggests.
Nearly a year after Superstorm Sandy, are City Hall and the city’s neighborhoods on the same page when it comes to planning for climate change and the possibility of another catastrophic storm?
A two-month investigation revealed striking disconnects in communication between the city and some community boards — the frontline of local government — as New Yorkers face the colossal task of remaking the metropolis to be more resilient to extreme weather caused by climate change.