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Hurricane Irene Comes To Brooklyn

By Emma Bally
BROOKLYN, New York — From afar, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Clinton Hill appears to be a quiet, sleepy town.
The only clues that a hurricane had just shaken this community were branches and the many leaves scattered on the concrete sidewalk.
Afternoon had just arrived and the people of Clinton Hill were recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.In the early morning hours of August 28, Irene had come to Brooklyn.
Dekalb Avenue is a place filled with diverse food options, playgrounds, and neighbors looking for a diversion from everyday apartment life.
On this day, pedestrians could not help but notice a medium-sized tree that had fallen on a car.
A tree on top of a car in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Photo: Emma Bally/

“I’m sad for the block. It was a great tree,” said Anna Reeve, a schoolteacher in Manhattan.Many other Brooklyn residents and visitors gathered around the premises where the tree stood. Dozens of people took out their cameras, eager to catch a bit of Irene.


Two streets down from where the tree fell, a popular playground for neighborhood parents and children was slightly affected by Hurricane Irene. The area around the sprinkler was flooded. Young children in rain boots were splashing in the water.


Deepak Jain with his daughter near the flooded sprinkler.

Photo: Emma Bally/


Deepak Jain, a worker for a software company and an inhabitant of Clinton Hill was sitting on a bench trying to coax his daughter to sleep. Jain explained that his daughter had no idea what was going on, but, he said, “She was restless ‘cause she wanted to go outside.”



Jain stressed the fact that a lot of preparation had to be done before Irene came to Clinton Hill.
“We, uh stocked up on food, water, batteries, flashlights, and charcoal for the barbeque,” he said.
Across the street on Willoughby, live Matt and Naureen Fink. Matt is a banker, while Naureen works as a policy analyst.
“Oblivious,” Matt Fink said when asked what their two young children thought of the storm.
In the Fink’s apartment, they had a few minor leaks, but their major problem was the elevator. Both had stopped working. Matt Fink said that he was “panting and sweating,” after walking up 12 flights of stairs.
Naureen Fink has not left the apartment since the elevator broke down. With a hip injury and two young children to carry, it is too painful for her to walk up so many stairs.
After the storm, people swarmed into local restaurants such as Bagel World and Mega Bites.
One place on Myrtle Avenue only had a few customers. Falafel House, a local Middle Eastern restaurant, was open until 8 p.m. the night before Irene hit and opened at 10:30 a.m. the next morning.
When asked how Irene affected his business, owner Omar Lahouma. Lahouma said, “There is no people around.”
Omar Lahouma behind the counter. (Photo: Emma Bally)


He said everyone seemed to go to the supermarkets, instead of his restaurant. “I didn’t even do delivery,” he explained.
Despite the day’s negative aspects, New York City inhabitants could have been exposed to much worse.
Since Naureen Fink grew up in Bangladesh, she experienced weather issues like this more often. She said she was worried about how vulnerable New York could be to a storm due to its dependence on electricity.

“It’s scary to think of what could have been,” she said.


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