While the rest of us were digging out of six to 12 inches of snow this past weekend, a dozen families on Beach 84th Street in Rockaway Park were trying to prevent their homes from being flooded — again.
This time it wasn’t Jamaica Bay that was flooding the street. Instead, it was a water main break, which inundated the block north of Beach Channel Drive and left a huge crater in front of one house. As the temperatures got colder, the flood iced up, turning the block into a giant skating rink.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) said the city Department of Environmental Protection responded immediately to the incident.
“They came quickly and fixed it quickly,” he said, noting he was satisfied with the DEP’s response.
But the low-lying bay front street is no stranger to flooding problems.
Beach 84th Street suffered catastrophic flooding in Hurricane Sandy and also flooded during Irene a year earlier. It often floods during bad coastal storms. Residents on the block, which runs from Beach Channel Drive to a dead end at Jamaica Bay, have long complained of flooding and sinkhole concerns.
Brett Scudder, a local community activist, said the problems on the street not only hamper the quality of life of the families, but also present serious risks to safety.
“These families never know what, when and where these holes will open and floods will come,” he said. “There are many young children living in these homes and they can’t get to school sometimes or get out under these conditions should an emergency arise. Emergency services have been on-site numerous times but issues are getting worse without any resolution.”
He added that the block has suffered from a number of sinkholes recently that have concerned residents.
The street is locally famous for the dozen or so homes that jut out into the bay on a pier at the end of the block, reminiscent of a New England fishing village. Those homes suffered a lot of damage in Sandy.