Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rockaway Update: Did Your Jewelry Enjoy the Swim?

Here's a surreal Friday scene:

Being escorted through the corridors of the Chase building at 4 Metrotech in downtown Brooklyn by a Chase employee you recognize from the Rockaway Beach 116th branch (10ft of water in basement, 7 ft on main level that must have penetrated the vault) where you kept your safe deposit box. You are there to pick up the contents that may or not still exist.

You seem to remember having to reach up for the box so maybe you're OK. Your birth certificate is in there. If it got wet how will you know how old you are?

You are led a long way before coming to a big open room on the lower level with racks of safe deposit boxes from your branch all over the place. The bottom 4 or 5 levels are rusted. Yours is safe. You show ID, are asked for your key and you are escorted to a private area where you can look to see if the crown jewels have been tampered with. They are fine, so you wrap everything up and are escorted back out.

The escort is a Rockaway resident. She was at the bank the morning after. With 7 feet of water in the bank during the storm, they had no idea how much was in the vault, so before opening it they told everyone to stand back. Luckily it wasn't full -- only about a foot of water came out.

She tells you all sorts of fun stories that all Rockawayites seem to share, including the one everyone tells of the woman who went to her basement, was cut by glass from a broken window as the surge came in and bled to death. The Chase gal, who has worked for Chase for 37 years, is living in Brooklyn with her boy friend so she has seen all the reports on TV that you have missed. "They don't come close to the real story," she says. She tells about your favorite hardware store, across from a transit police building, that was broken into and vandalized. Interesting factoid: the bank on the beach block wasn't hit as hard as Chase witch was closer to the bay. Every conversation gives you another nugget of info. This one is important. Was it the bay more than the ocean that was the real culprit, especially since your house is only half a block away from the bay?

The night before a friend had told you that the storm sewers were bubbling up hours before high tide and that is water backing up the sewers from the bay. He also told you the bay was higher than the sea wall at the height of the storm. Hmmm. You are hearing stories of people on beach blocks who did not get hit as bad as you --- but that seems to be a minority. You even heard from a friend on the beach block whose truck survived the storm. New theory -- the waves surged and then spread out to the blocks towards the bay which absorbed the water until it met the bay. So some beach block houses which may have been on a higher rise escaped some of the worse damage. Lesson: Build up.

Get some lunch at a french place near metrotech and then head over to Court St for the movie Silver Linings Playbook which you love and develop a crush on jennifer lawrence. Then over to Sheepshead Bay for Thai food where just as you sit down your best Rockaway pals walk in and sit down with you after eating next door. You all continue to share stories even some you may have shared before. Luckily not the one about the lady who bled to death.

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Saturday update:
Geiko says they can't take the dead cars off policy till you turn in plate to DMV -- NY State law. I have 3 of the 4 plates but my wife's car is pressed up against another and I haven't been able to get the plate off. I've already been there twice with some tools but no luck. I tried the gentleman's way --- trying to get the nuts off. Now it's time to get tough with the little bastard.

This time I take the big crow bar. I find a low angle and start bending the plate until one side gives and it comes loose. Then hit the other side using brute force. It comes loose. I love this crow bar. I may take it everywhere.


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