NEW YORK CITY — Hurricane Sandy began to roar into the city Monday morning with flooded streets and downed tree limbs just a precursor of what's expected to be in store.
In Far Rockaway, Queens, the storm flooded blocks around the intersection of Seagirt Boulevard at Beach 28th Street. Water lapped car bumpers as it reach depths of 3-feet, witnesses said.
One Rockaway resident who declined to give his name, but who lives within feet of Jamaica Bay, said violent winds are sending waves crashing against coastal walls creating large ponds along Beach Channel Drive.
“Jamaica Bay is pretty violent right now,” the man said in a phone interview. “Tribute Park is being battered with water. It hasn’t completely taken over the park, but I anticipate that getting worse.”
He said there hasn’t been much rain yet and most of the flooding is due to the crashing waves.
“My window’s are covered in water. That’s not from the rain, but the waves,” he said.
Hurricane Sandy isn’t expected to make landfall until late Monday afternoon. The city is expected to be battered by winds as high as 75 miles per hour later in the day.
The Rockaway resident said people were still walking outside and driving despite the strong winds and flooding.
As the morning wore on, FDR Drive was closed in either direction between 61st and East 116th Streets due to flooding, according to the city’s Office of Emergency Management.
Despite deserted streets and rain, which started shortly after 6 a.m., Downtown Manhattan seemed to be in the calm before the storm Monday morning. Joggers ran along the Hudson River and others stood at the water’s edge, gawking at whitecapped waves.
“'It's not too bad. It's kind of nice right here — all the ducks are out enjoying the weather,'' said Andy Newman, a security guard in Battery Park. “I live in Rockaway Beach and out there, they got problems.”
Eamon Mason, 38, said he plans to stay with friends in Midtown, but wanted to see the bad weather while he could.
“'I just wanted to assess what the water levels are like," Mason said. "It's kind of interesting to see big-weather events.''