Residents in Basement Apartments Flooded; Downtown Businesses Damaged
Irene hit those on downtown Garden Street especially hard.
In the seven years Craig Caruso has lived in his duplex apartment on Garden and Newark Streets, he has never seen the flooding as bad as during Irene.
"It was one of the most depressing things I've ever seen in my life," Caruso, 37, said about seeing the basement floor slowly fill with water. Looking around the mess in his place and the dirty floor, he said, "it's disgusting."
About a foot and a half of sewage water seeped through his wood floor on early Sunday morning during the height of the storm. Soaked books, debris and other trash was scattered around his soaked—and thus, destroyed—couch on Monday afternoon.
During the worst of Hurricane Irene, Caruso was on the first floor of his apartment, which he owns. He said the excessive flooding on his corner, which is one of the most flood-prone intersections in town, could be a reason for him to leave Hoboken.
The flooding during heavy storms, he said, has made his apartment "an unliveable place."
"It shouldn't be allowed to be sold," he said about the basement apartments in flood-prone areas. Flood insurance doesn't cover damage in a basement apartment, Caruso added.
At the other end of the hallway outside his apartment—where the carpet was completely soaked and splashed sewage water with every step and the smell of sewage hung in the air—lives Matt Hackett.
Hackett's apartment, too, was flooded badly during the storm. But, rather than evacuating, he said he couldn't leave his home behind out of fear of what would happen to it. During the worst of the storm, he was on the first floor, which didn't experience flooding.
"This is my first home," Hackett, 38, said. "I wasn't going to leave it."
He said he tried to save as much as he could on the basement floor, including propping up his couch and hiding valuable electronics. But in the end, it was impossible to prevent the water from coming up through the floor.
"I lost the battle," Hackett said.
He said he will replace his floor with ceramic tiles, which sustains flood water damage better than wood. He said he would also have to fix the walls that got flooded, because of the chance of mold. Cleaning up his home, "is going to be costly," he said.
Across the street, business owners were bearing the brunt of the flooding as well.
Coffeeshop Legal Beans was completely flooded, forcing it to close on Monday, as was Anastasia's accesories next door.
Although the carpet at Anastasia's was being removed on Monday afternoon and the store will likely be closed for more than a week, no merchandise was damaged in the flood, said manager Beth Prellberg.
"We didn't lose as much as an earring," Prellberg said.
Prellberg added that the forced closure will impact the business severely. Prellberg said that minor flooding has happened in the past, but never like this.
When asked what she thought when she first saw the store after the storm, tears welled up in her eyes.
"Stop, you're going to make me cry," she said. "It's sad. It's terrible."