Sunday, May 06, 2007

City Life

The Nor’easter Is Not Over Yet
By Julie Buntin

The recent bout of warm temperatures in the metro area means more than changing outfits for some New Yorkers. The temperate weather follows one of the worst nor’easters in the city’s history, according the National Weather Service, which measured seven and a half inches of rainfall in Central Park by midnight on April 15. This abnormally heavy rainfall created drastic flooding on the coast of New York City and Mamaroneck, as well as Bound Brook and Manville in New Jersey. Several major highways were underwater, and storm fatalities numbered fifteen.

The losses experienced by the family members of those perished in the worst nor’easter the East Coast has seen in over 100 years are this storm’s major tragedy. However, there is a more widespread minor tragedy whose gravity is just beginning to sink in for many NYC and New Jersey citizens. The property damage and financial losses accrued by families up and down the coastlines of New Yorker and New Jersey who experienced flooding during the four day storm may even be permanent for some.

“My apartment is right by the East River, and it’s in the basement. The first night of the storm the water got like six inches high, and so I called 311,” said Ashley Oeffinger, a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College. “They connected me to 911 and they sent over the fire dept. The fire department didn’t really know what to do, so they made this mark on the wall and they said if it got over that to call 911 again. Fifteen minutes after they left the water passed that mark. It got three and a half feet high that night—we lost everything. We have to move.”

Oeffinger isn’t the only one with a tale of woe following this spring’s nor’easter. Her bed, clothes, books, couch, DVD player, laptop cord, and dresser were among thousands of dollars of property damaged in the flooding of her apartment. As of now, her landlord refuses to reimburse her for any of the damages, or pay for her move.

Brenda Carlisle, an event planner who lives in the 80s on York Avenue also suffered extensive damages when her basement apartment flooded. “The water was over eight inches deep. I had over a hundred pairs of Manolo Blahnik’s ruined. I need them for my job. Who’s going to pay for that?” Carlisle said. Her landlord says it’s the city’s problem for not having the right kind of draining situation to deal with potential flooding of this nature. The city will not respond to her calls. “All I know is someone’s going to have a nasty lawsuit on their hands if this is not taken care of,” Carlisle said.

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