Monday, March 10, 2014
A Beautiful Day for a Demolition
On September 7 and 8, 2011, Tropical Storm Lee hit our Triple Cities of upstate New York (among other parts of the Northeast); capping a year of record precipitation. Another tropical storm, Irene, had hit our area just a few days before. Our rivers and creeks, already overloaded, couldn't handle the additional water. Water poured down hills. Flood walls didn't hold.
Hundreds of homes in several neighborhoods, including many in a small, close knit community called Twin Orchards about four miles from where I live, were declared total losses. (Our house suffered damage in the flood, but not to this extent.)
Since then, the empty houses have stood waiting for their fate. Memories of happy family moments echoed in the walls, now unheard. These were houses where people had married, brought home babies, raised families, grew old.
The end of the tunnel is in sight.
The demolitions started last week.
Now, more houses await demolition. You can barely see the markings on this house that show it is condemned, but you can barely make out X's and "water off" in the middle extreme right side of the photo.)
After the flood, I had vowed not to post pictures of the flood damaged houses, or the piles of ruined belongings in front of them on my blog, but I have broken this "silence" recently because I feel that, at this point in time, this story must be told.
The people of Twin Orchards (one is a Facebook friend) have been through a lot, and these demolitions will not be the end of their pain. Earlier, real estate speculators bought up some of the damaged properties in this community of some 400 families. This community may have lost its stability. Some long time residents had no choice but to walk away from properties that were worth less than their mortgage. The slang term for your house being worth less than your mortgage balance in our country is "being underwater". For those in Twin Orchards, that was literal.
I can feel their pain because my neighborhood, Westover, will be one of the next in line for flood related demolitions, and I will continue to blog about this as it happens.
Just as I blogged about the aftermath of the flood in September and October of 2011. Tropical Storm for us, was the gift that keeps on taking.