Storm surprises Rosedale with wet and wild wrath

Photos are laid out to dry in Tamara Correia’s home after Hook Creek flooded her Rosedale neighborhood. Photo by Rich Bockmann
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Residents in Rosedale said they were caught off guard by Hurricane Sandy’s fury Monday night when a creek separating Queens and Nassau County overflowed its banks, flooding a number of blocks in the neighborhood.

“You watch on TV and you sympathize for all those homes [on the Rockaway Peninsula],” said John Malinowski, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 40 years. “Who would think this would happen in Rosedale?”

On Sunday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the mandatory evacuation of Zone A flood-prone areas, including the Rockaway Peninsula, Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach. No evacuation order was given for Zone B , where Rosedale lies, but residents said that around 9 p.m. Monday the waters of Hook Creek began to rise rapidly.

“I looked out the window and it was a quarter of the way up the yard. I turned around and it was half way. Next thing I knew it was out the front of the house,” Steven Foy said Wednesday as he sorted through the water-logged furniture in his basement apartment overlooking the creek. “It’s a big mess.”

Hook Creek is a tributary of Jamaica Bay that borders the southern end of Rosedale. Craft Avenue, which runs parallel to the creek, is lined with homes with backyards abutting the creek’s banks.

Tamara Correia described the waters flowing into her basement apartment as a “flash flood.”

“We had no time to do anything,” she said. “We’re in Zone B. Nobody told us to evacuate.”

Correia said she and her family got in their car and drove to Richmond Hill, where they own a restaurant, but some of her neighbors were not so lucky. The water quickly rushed over Craft Avenue and headed northward.

“They said high tide was going to be around 9 p.m. and they weren’t joking,” said Michael Johnson, who owns a home on the other side of the street. “By 9:15 [p.m.] it was coming out of the storm sewers and it was up to my thighs.”

“Some people moved their cars further down,” he said. “Those who didn’t are paying for it today.”

By the time the water had streamed up the four blocks north to 148th Road, it was only a few inches high, but that was enough to pour over the wall of Strickland Joseph’s driveway and flood his sunken garage.

“It was an inch high and it just went down the driveway,” he said. “You can’t stop water.”

Another block away, one homeowner had the foresight to build a wall of sandbags blocking the sunken driveway, though it did not appear the water reached that far.

Rosedale also has to cope with problems left behind by Sandy such as downed trees and loss of power. On Wednesday, the light at the intersection of Huxley Street, 147th Avenue and 243rd Street was out, causing confusion among drivers.

By Thursday evening, there were about 4,000 customers in Rosedale without power and another 4,500 without electricity in Springfield Gardens, according to Con Edison’s website.

“South of the Conduit [Avenue] seems to be no lights. Once I cross the Conduit, it was like a different world,” said City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton), whose own home on the peninsula experienced severe flooding.

Sanders said he was encouraging his constituents to form neighborhood watches and direct traffic in dangerous intersections until the power is restored.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 4:07 am, November 2, 2012
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Reader feedback

Marcy Bolden from Rosedale, NY says:
There is a 5feet watermark line on the wall of my completely destroyed basement that was caused by Storm Sandy. My neighbors were outside, up to their chests in flood waters, which I moved my family to higher ground because the flood waters kept rising. There was no electricity for two days, and flood waters corroded and destroyed many water heaters and a boilers in Rosedale, NY., which residents had no electricity, heat, or hot water. Why was Rosedale, NY not provided with a Recovery Restoration Center? What was in the water from the sewers which flooded and destroyed the basements of many residential homes in Rosedale, NY because it created mold and destruction to property for many of the residential homeowners?
Nov. 30, 2012, 3:26 pm

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