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Water Levels Rise in DUMBO, Locals Brace for a Redux of Last Year's Floods

By Janet Upadhye | October 29, 2012 4:06pm

DUMBO — Brooklyn's most expensive neighborhood is the envy of most Brooklynites, except during hurricane season. The mayor has placed the majority of the neighborhood under mandatory evacuation, and the remaining areas hunker down and hope for the best as the water levels of the nearby East River rise steadily.

"I have never seen the river this high," said Police Officer McGraw who was keeping watch on the water levels at the end of Jay Street. "And this is supposed to be low tide."

McGraw talked to several neighbors passing by, telling them to get inside their homes.

"I think this neighborhood will soon be flooded," he said.

Last year, while many neighborhoods of New York City remained untouched by Irene, DUMBO's  waterfront streets flooded.

And while dogs barked wildly and winds flung umbrellas inside out, some locals rushed home to wait out the storm.

But some were not concerned.

Cheryl Buchholtz lives near the corner of Front and Washington Streets and was out buying food at Pickles and Peas market which will remain open until 4 p.m. on Monday.

"The last storm ended up being fine and I don't think the water surges will reach Front Street," she said. "Something will happen here, but I don't think it will be dire."

Buchholtz was off to her floor party. Her apartment building shares food and drinks and "parties" during the storm.

Buchholtz wasn't the only DUMBO resident that was partying. Blanc & Rouge wine shop was open Monday morning to accommodate any last minute shoppers.

"We sold a lot of wine yesterday," said store manager Paul Boyer. "People are preparing for the storm."

Boyer plans to remain open until things get really bad.

But most local hot spots boarded their windows and kept their doors closed. The owner of Aegir Boardworks posted a sign attributing their closing to a "little rain." The self-proclaimed hurricane surfers might very well have been out catching waves at Rockaway.

And the normally bustling One Girl Cookies looked like a deserted storefront.

Still many local ventured out to the entrance of Brooklyn Bridge Park where the river was creeping up to the carousel and completely covering the small sandy beach. They waited with cameras, hoping to document the impending storm.