2005-10-21 / Community

Week-Long Rain Drenches The Entire Peninsula

By Howard Schwach


Garbage piled in front of a home on Beach 129 Street is a silent testament to the destruction done in basements all over the peninsula.Garbage piled in front of a home on Beach 129 Street is a silent testament to the destruction done in basements all over the peninsula. A drenching rain that fell steadily for more than seven days and dropped a record 19 inches on Rockaway deluged the peninsula from one end to the other by the end of last week.

Seagirt Boulevard was flooded for much of its length, from the Nassau County border to Beach 35 Street. The flooding was so bad around Beach 20 Street that the JASA senior citizen housing was completely flooded, with no running water or elevators. The southern side of the Wavecrest Gardens housing complex was also without power for long periods during the end of the week.

While most Rockaway residents struggled with the aftermath of the week-long rain that dumped 19 inches on Rockaway, surfers such as this one found the best waves they have ever had off the Rockaway peninsula at Beach 90 Street. 
Photograph by Joie Fade.While most Rockaway residents struggled with the aftermath of the week-long rain that dumped 19 inches on Rockaway, surfers such as this one found the best waves they have ever had off the Rockaway peninsula at Beach 90 Street. Photograph by Joie Fade. “We were knee-deep in water in the basement,” one tenant said. “It looked like the pictures from New Orleans after the hurricane.”

The problem seemed to be a clogged main sewer line on Seagirt Boulevard that remained clogged on Tuesday.

Beach 32 Street and the freeway had three feet of water on the street, closing Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Boulevard for a time. Local residents could not get out of their homes. The area around Beach 35 Street is typically a flood area. There have been numerous occasions when the ocean and bay met in that area during hurricanes or nor’easters.

Residents in Arverne, from Beach 57 Street to Beach 73 Street were trapped in their homes by the rising water that came up right through their basement floors. Channel 2 News reported last Friday night from the “Auburn” section of Far Rockaway with reporters standing hip-deep in water on the north side of Beach Channel Drive, where recent construction raised the street level while leaving the homes lower than the street.

Rockaway Beach Boulevard, from Beach 84 Street to Beach 98 Street was flooded out and was closed to traffic at various times.

Homeowners in Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor and Neponsit, particularly those in the beach block and the 200 block found their basements flooded with up to a foot of water. Many scrambled to find a pump that would clear their basements to no avail. Every hardware store, including the big-box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes were all sold out of pumps. Brown’s Hardware reported that it had some in stock on Saturday.

Homes all over Breezy Point suffered the same problem. One resident said that only one home, on Beach 220 Street, remained dry because it is at the highest point on the peninsula.

Many long-time residents said that it was the first time in memory that their homes had flooded from a rainstorm.

The only people who benefited from the storm were the surfers who braved 10 and 12-foot waves at Beach 90 Street and found the “best surfing” they ever had in Rockaway.

The National Weather Service reported that the 19 inches dumped on the city during the week-long deluge was a record for October and that the month was only half over.

Many spots along Rockaway Beach Boulevard were flooded as it was here on Beach 70 Street.

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