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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

"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."

Kelly Lackner August 29, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Beth @ Anastasia's is awesome. Glad the store will be ok.
BruceD August 29, 2011 at 10:49 PM
I think that everyone in Hbooken should make a concerted effort to patronize the store in the next month. Great place. A real asset to Hoboken.
HobokenDad August 30, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Supporting Hoboken's shop keepers always a good idea.
Lance August 30, 2011 at 02:47 PM
What does this do to the value of our homes. People in Wayne are freaking out because all the news casters are saying that they always flood. I feel the same for Hoboken. I love this place and have lived here for a long time, but I spent way too much and am afraid that our places will drop a lot.
leafy August 30, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Wayne does always flood, as does Little Ferry, Bound Brook, the Willowbrook mall area, and parts of Hoboken. Buyers must be aware of geography and terrain. That's their responsibility. I would say a negative effect on home values. This isn't rocket scientry.
greenhaven August 30, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Hoboken has always had flood problems and it hasn't had a material effect on home values, presumably because people new to the area don't do all the due dilligence they should. I don't expect this latest storm will change that, particularly for the areas that will be helped by the pump when it comes on line. If there's any effect at all on home values it will likely be negligible.
Mark August 31, 2011 at 05:43 AM
To Hoboken Yuppies- This is called "soaking the rich"!!!----------MARK P.
InfotainMe August 31, 2011 at 09:53 AM
Rich people live in basements?
Lance August 31, 2011 at 05:40 PM
They are called basements but they are really ground floor apartments and step down ground floor apartments. Many of them are in the brown stones and rented out. Some people do use them as play rooms or kitchens though. That is if you are rich enough not have to rent them out.
Mark September 01, 2011 at 05:10 AM
Rich people can only afford to rent basements in Hoboken. The "SUPER RICH" get to live ABOVE GROUND. Hoboken rents and taxes are much too high. The only true selling point is how close you are to N.Y.C. -and you pay "BIG TIME" for that!!!- Please tell me if you think I am wrong.-- Thanks MARK P.
Lance September 01, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Some of the rents are ok, but like you said the taxes are way too high and for what. Our roads suck, our schools suck, the flooding etc. etc. It is all about location. Don't get me wrong I do love living in this town and love how close it is to the city but the corrupt politicians have really run the place into the ground. The town valued my place 200k more then what it is really worth in order to raise my taxes. I was paying almost 1k a month for a 1400 sq ft place with no parking. What a joke. I did fight it and got it down by 3k.
Helen November 02, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I'm in the UK and really feel for everyone who is suffering from the effects of Sandy. Isn't Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken? I enjoy watching 'Cake Boss' and hope Buddy and his family and business are all ok.

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