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Ida's Wrath Leaves Property Damage Across New York Likely In The Billions

Thursday morning, New York City woke up to billions of dollars in property damage after the remnants of Hurricane Ida tore through, breaking rainfall and flooding records throughout the city. 

Flooding at Barone Management's 99-77 Queens Blvd. Property damage from the storm was in the millions at this property, the landlord said.

The New York City National Weather Service put out its first flash flood emergency notice Wednesday night as buildings and subway lines flooded, and cars and buses were submerged under stormwater that flowed through city streets in waist-deep streams. 

The storm was estimated to have caused $18B in damages nationwide even before it ripped through the nation’s largest city. At least seven city residents died in the storm, including a family that drowned in their basement apartment in Flushing. 

Floodwaters climbed nearly all the way up an 8-foot plywood fence at a Barone Management construction site before it toppled and flooded the site, Barone Management principal John Silviano told Bisnow in an interview. 

“Some of the lighter material floated away," he said.

At a mixed-use hotel and retail development site at 99-77 Queens Blvd., Silviano said the water came above the basement level, flooding the entire parking lot. Across the construction and development firm’s five properties in Queens, he estimated millions of dollars of damage.

“This has affected us more than Sandy,” Silviano said. 

While the extent of the damage is still being assessed, the cost of property damage among rent-stabilized apartment buildings is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Community Housing Improvement Program Executive Director Jay Martin told Bisnow in an email. 

“The government needs to treat this like an emergency, because it is,” he said. “It’s clear that significant aid will be needed to prepare New York’s aging buildings and infrastructure for future climate change."

Other industry leaders called on the federal government to quickly invest in New York’s infrastructure projects. 

“Getting home should never be a life-or-death situation, but because climate change continues to worsen storms and our crumbling infrastructure is only getting older and more dilapidated, events like last night will sadly remain a part of our reality,” Carlo Scissura said in a statement. “The House of Representatives should act ahead of its September 27 deadline to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure package approved by the Senate, because New York City cannot wait any longer to make these life-saving investments.”

City and state leaders said at a press conference Thursday morning that the city needed to prepare for events of this magnitude in the future because of the world’s changing climate. 

“Because of climate change, this is something we’re going to have to deal with with great regularity,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “We should expect it the next time, and that means we need to invest in infrastructure.” 

Hochul spoke  Thursday morning with President Joe Biden, who said that the federal government would push through any monetary assistance the city needed to get back on its feet, she said.