Back in August, we visited paradise. Home to JoJo Demirel and her husband Daris, this beautiful Red Hook home had one of the most spectacular roof gardens that we'd ever seen. But, like so many other New Yorkers, they were severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. We spoke with JoJo about their experience and she sent along pictures of the devastation wrought on their home.
JoJo, I'm so glad you and Baris made it through safely! Were you expecting downstairs to flood?
We were here for Irene and there was no flooding, water has never come this far up, it was primarily down by Fairway. Predicting Sandy would be somewhat worse, we lifted everything up about three feet, just to be extra cautious. Baris and neighbor went to walk dog at 7pm, before hightide to check out van brunt and the hood. They saw water coming rapidly two blocks away and ran home to move cars to higher ground. By the time they walked home, water had come over our sandbags in front and was already flowing into house. By 8 or 8:30 we were 4ft deep with furniture bobbing up and down in essentially an indoor swimming pool. Toilet was gushing water about a foot high even with a sandbag in it, and the was shower too.
And had you already lost power?
We lost power around 7:30, at the highest flooding. From our terraces we could see the water reach our mailbox and the rooftops of cars, which were swishing around like matchbox cars. Alarms were blaring, windows and trunks opened.
How did you and your husband keep calm through all this?
We are fortunate we have a "party" fridge upstairs and I was able to load it up beforehand and we are using a generator, which really helps. So we have some food and water and a recharging station for phones and laptop, though there is no wifi yet. The eeriest thing was the violent sound of the water pouring in and then the clanking all night of bottles, pots and pans, until the water calmed down. Cleaning has begun, calls have been placed to insurance and FEMA. Neighbors are keeping strong though I've seen some quietly weeping.
When did the water recede?
Not sure when water receded but it was gone by morning. The bitch came and went! But it was kind of tsunami-like in its swiftness. We put ourselves to sleep listening to a generator radio and ambien. Thank goodness the garden season was almost over and the few herbs were safely tucked away in the greenhouse. Picked the last of the peppers and that was that. Lots of family and friends volunteering to help clean and bring us hot coffee. We're very lucky and grateful!