Flood victim sorts out Ida’s aftermath 1

Janice Wright of Forest Hills had to pile up most of the belongings from her basement in her kitchen, living room and hallway. But she still considers herself “one of the lucky ones” after getting flooded by Tropical Storm Ida.

It was nighttime on Sept. 1 when Janice Wright of Forest Hills realized that the remnant of the former Hurricane Ida was going to be far more than just a night of heavy rain.

“My son Josh called from the basement,” the Ascan Avenue resident said. “There was a stream of water that looked like a flume coming in from the basement door.”

The water eventually wound up several inches above Wright’s ankles as she and her son labored to get their belongings out of harm’s way.

The storm killed 13 people in New York City, including some in Queens who could not escape from their filling basements as some areas received 4 inches of rain or more per hour.

But Wright, her son and their 4-year-old cat, Beets, were spared a great deal of the anguish felt by residents only a short distance away.

Last Thursday, a workman was in Wright’s basement applying a final layer of spackle to new Sheetrock that replaced damaged drywall for more than 2 feet above the floor. Tape and plastic sheeting are covering the outside basement entrance. Her son is staying in a hotel for the moment.

Beets greeted a stranger before running around as the spirit moved him.

“Right now I’m living with clutter,” she said in her living from, with almost everything from the basement that has been saved moved upstairs for the time being. “There was some mold. We’re still figuring out what we lost. I lost some photographs and a lot of books. We lost furniture in the basement. Most of it was Ikea — except for two desks.”

Three sets of shelves in the basement used to display her son’s Transformers collection, though Optimus Prime and his associates came through largely unscathed.

“A few Transformers got their feet wet,” Wright said.

Wright said neighbors on one side suffered damage to and losses in their basement playroom for their young children. Others along the street, she understands, had some protection from when the city did sewer work along Ascan, and in the process offered homeowners backflow valves for several hundred dollars each.

“I’ve heard neighbors who got [one] had no flooding,” she said.

It all comes as Wright is looking for a job, preferably in the cybersecurity field.

“I should be sending out resumes instead of doing this,” she said. “But I’m one of the lucky ones. I have renter’s insurance, and I recently upped it. I’d recommend that. My insurance company has been good.”

She said the office of city Comptroller Scott Stringer has been easy to deal with, though it requires her to go through her insurance company first before filing a claim with the city.

She also has, but had not yet filled out forms from the Federal Emergency Management Agency specific to the declaration of New York State as a disaster area that would allow residents to apply for federal funds.

The forms and information from both FEMA and New York State are available online at fema.gov/disaster/4615.

(1) comment


Back when I was a kid (it was the Stone Age), the City used to clean out the sewers periodically. I wonder how much money they saved by nor performing that service versus the cost of damages from flooding. I realize that it would be prohibitive to replace the sewer system, but I'm pretty sure that periodic removal of gunk and garbage from the sewers would help significantly.

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