Historic house in NYC severely damaged by flooding from Ida

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Saturday, September 4, 2021
NYC's oldest house severely damaged by Ida
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The devastating rain and flooding brought by remnants of Ida spared nothing in its path, including an historic house in New York City.

BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- The devastating rain and flooding brought by remnants of Ida spared nothing in its path, including an historic house in New York City.

The city and state's oldest house, the Wyckoff House Museum in Brooklyn (circa 1650), sustained serious flooding and water-related damage after Ida brought record levels of rain to the Tri-State area during the week.

"We had as much as seven feet of water in the sub cellar, which completely submerged our HVAC and water heater," Wyckoff House Museum Executive Director Melissa Branfman said.

She says the upper cellar had about five feet of water and a lot of the farm equipment that was being stored down there was ruined. Water also came into the caretaker's apartment.

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A garage in Manhattan came crashing down in the height of the storm on Wednesday night. The next morning, the damage was incredible.

"While some of the water is rain water, a lot of it is sewage, which came up through the sewer system," Branfman said. "So, in addition to having to air things out for mold, most things are contaminated with a toxic film."

Staff have been working around the clock over the past few days to salvage what they can and access the damage. They say both the HVAC and water heater may have to be replaced.

While the house will be closed to the public for now, the grounds will continue to be open Fridays and Saturdays for self-guided audio tours with their farm stand operating on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The museum's president announced that a matching fund has been set up on IOBY, a Brooklyn-based non-profit, to help in the rebuilding efforts and implement more preventative measures.

"Two weeks ago, the record for rain per hour in Central Park, New York was smashed, but Ida blew past almost doubling the amount of rain per hour," Wyckoff House and Museum President Naj Wikoff. "It's only going to get worse. We will need to adopt more aggressive preventive measures as we understand flood abatement options as storm dangers increase."

RELATED | NYC mayor launching task force, storm response plan after Ida flooding

After Ida's historic flooding, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday detailed new initiatives he hopes will help avoid similar catastrophes in the future.

Until COVID hit, the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, a member of New York City's Historic House Trust, was one of the most visited Historic Houses by school children in the city.

The House and Museum is known for its hands-on learning activities, introducing many children to farming, and hosting a wide variety of community events.


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