Tropical Storm Irene slammed parts of Staten Island and Queens on Sunday, leaving the city's coastal communities reeling from intense flooding and property damage.
Staten Island beach communities such as Midland Beach, South Beach and Tottenville as well as much of the South Shore, which has large amounts of low-lying territory, took a beating from a mix of heavy rain and flooding from surrounding bodies of water like the Raritan Bay.
"Staten Island's beach communities were extremely hard hit," says Staten Island City Council member Vincent Ignizio, who himself was without power on Sunday and had a flooded basement in his Annadale home.
Rockaway Beach residents also experienced devastation. Karen Nevirs, said waters rushed over the beach and flooded two city blocks, including Beach 105th Street outside her apartment. "It came onto Shore Front Parkway and made its way down 105th Street and right onto most streets of Rockaway Beach," she said.
The New York Police Department had to make a number of rescues in Staten Island starting on Saturday night, when they pulled two kayakers from the lower New York Bay off of the Mayberry Promenade. On Sunday, rescues continued as drivers became stuck in flooded areas and water began to creep into their cars.
Many residents worked nonstop from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon to pump water out of their basements.
Dennis Ammirati, a 44-year-old Tottenville resident, said he'd been up for 24 hours straight manning his house. His basement flooded even though he'd been pumping water from it since 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, he said. By 5 a.m., the water became too much to handle.
Power outages through much of Staten Island compounded flooding problems, preventing residents from pumping water from their houses without the use of gas generators.
Stretches of Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island's main drag, were blocked off Sunday from Midland Beach to South Beach, with knee-high puddles.
While residents were in clean-up mode, children on flooded blocks made the most of it by reclining on inflatable floats in parts of Midland Beach.
By midday Sunday, the South Beach boardwalk was full of people strolling and jogging; earlier, water surged over the boardwalk and onto the parking lot.
On the outer reaches of Broad Channel, Queens, two summer homes collapsed when the stilts underneath buckled. What remained was a jumble of planks, and a dinghy was spotted under the rubble. A resident who did not want to give to his name fished for planks to secure his own home as rain and high winds whipped through the channel in late afternoon, hours after the heart of the storm had left the area. He said the wind and rains had damaged the back of his home.
Corrections & Amplifications
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified City Council member Vincent Ignizio as a congressman.