Park Slope

After the rain, the reckoning: Park Slopers check the damage after a 40-minute flood

July 23, 2019 Noah Goldberg
The Prius from the Twitter video. Photo courtesy of Eunice Lee

The epic, lightning-quick flooding of Carroll Street and Fourth Avenue in Park Slope Monday evening totaled cars, seeped into residents’ homes and business owners’ basements and left one Park Sloper wading through feet of water to make sure her dog was safe in her first-floor apartment.

All in all, residents said, the intersection is ill-prepared for major rainstorms, with one man saying that Monday night’s storm hit the neighborhood “worse than Sandy.” Windows of cars that were still parked on the street were still foggy from all the water in the vehicles Tuesday morning. Numerous residents told the Brooklyn Eagle that they heard the flooding — which happened in about a half an hour and receded after about 10 minutes — was caused by construction debris getting caught in the sewer drains.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection said the flooding was caused because the rate of rain — three inches per hour at its peak — exceeded the capacity of the drainage system. He also noted that the intersection of Carroll Street and Fourth Avenue is at the lowest point in the area, making it more susceptible to flooding.

When Amanda Denesha returned home Monday night, water was up to her waist. She needed to get into her first-floor apartment on Carroll Street, because her dog was inside and she was afraid he would drown or get electrocuted. She waded through the water to get into her home.

“I had to save my fur baby,” Denesha said. Denesha and her boyfriend had to throw away their carpet, bleach their floors — and they still don’t have hot water.

Video courtesy of Amanda Denesha.

Around the corner, on Fourth Avenue, Eunice Lee was in her apartment when the flash flood began. She resigned herself to it and watched as her Prius below was trounced with rain — and became an immediate Twitter sensation.

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“It was kind of funny, because we couldn’t do anything at that point,” Lee told the Brooklyn Eagle. “When you can’t do anything you just take it in and wait,” she said. She was frustrated by the city’s lack of preparation for the flooding.

“This happens all the time and they know it’s a problem,” she said. Lee is waiting before she tries to turn on her car, hoping there is no damage to the engine.

“A drainage upgrade slated to begin early next year will improve conditions along Fourth Avenue during rain storms,” the DEP spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle. 

 

Video courtesy of Eunice Lee.

Her husband, Jason Rivera, said he thought the rare parking spot he found Monday right outside their apartment building was a blessing.

“We came from Jersey and it was the perfect parking spot right in front of our house,” he said.

Eunice Lee took photos of her Prius parked on Fourth Avenue from her fourth floor apartment. Photo courtesy of Eunice Lee
Eunice Lee took photos of her Prius parked on Fourth Avenue from her fourth floor apartment. Photo courtesy of Eunice Lee

Just north on Fourth Avenue, Liam O’Brien, a part owner of a new bar called Gowanus Gardens, assessed the damage Tuesday morning.

“We got flooded. Our basement is still a little floody. We’re hoping our floors didn’t get too f-cked up,” he said.

Liam O'Brien looks at his new bar. He believes they will have to delay the bar's opening due to water damage to the floors. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg
Liam O’Brien looks at his new bar. He believes they will have to delay the bar’s opening due to water damage to the floors. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg

O’Brien said sanitation workers told him that construction debris caused the flooding. O’Brien’s bar — which he co-owns with his mother — was set to open Aug. 5, but he said they’d be pushing it back a week or two due to the flooding.

Video courtesy of Todd St. Croix.

Catherine Flaherty was with her husband Thomas in Park Slope from North Carolina visiting their daughter.

“I saw it on TV but didn’t realize our car would be in the flooding,” she said. Thomas Flaherty spent much of Tuesday morning using a bucket to bail water out of his BMW, which he believes is totaled.

The lobby of Eunice Lee's building on Fourth Avenue near Carroll Street. Photo courtesy of Eunice Lee
The lobby of Eunice Lee’s building on Fourth Avenue near Carroll Street. Photo courtesy of Eunice Lee

“They’re probably going to tow it because it’s probably totaled cause of the water damage,” he said. Flaherty said he started the car, but it began to smoke. He’s not mad though. He’s taking it in stride.

“I got a problem and I have to deal with it. That’s what life is,” he said.

The New York City Department of Small Business Services said it had not received any requests for assistance from small businesses due to the flooding. Businesses can contact @NYC_SBS on Twitter or call 311 for assistance.

Update (4:30 p.m.): This article has been updated to include a comment from the Department of Environmental Protection.

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