New York Logo Intel

New York City Will Demolish At Least 200 Hurricane-Damaged Homes

By
Destroyed homes in Breezy Point. Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Hundreds of New York City homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy will be demolished after being deemed hazardous to the safety of the public and to nearby buildings. "About 200 homes will be bulldozed in the coming weeks and months, almost all of them one- and two-family houses on Staten Island, in Queens and Brooklyn," reports the New York Times. "That is in addition to 200 houses that are already partially or completely burned down, washed away or otherwise damaged; those sites will also be cleared."

The city is inspecting close to 500 other buildings which might need to come down. “We’ve never had this scale before,” said Buildings Department commissioner Robert L. LiMandri. “This is what New Yorkers have read about in many other places and have never seen, so it is definitely unprecedented. And by the same token, when you walk around in these communities, people are scared and worried, and we’re trying to make every effort to be up front and share with them what they need to do." (For a little comparison, thousands of buildings were razed in New Orleans post-Katrina, but this is still awful.)

All the demolition-marked homes were older and near water. A small number of homes in the Bronx may come down, while none in Manhattan appear endangered.

Some people may not even be contacted before their houses are demolished. Per the Times:

But, in some cases, where the danger is imminent, the department will issue an emergency declaration to bulldoze the buildings, even if the owners have not been contacted.

“This is not easy, in this case, because of all these displaced people, but we’re going to do the best we can, but we may have to move on it if we can’t find them,” Mr. LiMandri said.

And it gets worse:

Eric A. Ulrich, a Republican city councilman from Queens who represents Breezy Point, Belle Harbor, Broad Channel and some of the other affected neighborhoods, said that he had not been notified of the demolitions, but that the forced destruction of people’s homes would come as a terrible shock.

“My constituents have been through so much, and they are just so distraught, and if that were to happen and if they were told that the home that they grew up in or they bought has to be taken against their will, it’s just devastating news,” he said.

The issue of rebuilding — as well as who'll pay for the demolition — remains a question mark.

Latest News on Daily Intelligencer

A Tech Start-Up Just Restored My Faith in Humanity

Planet Labs makes tiny satellites and launches them into space in order to capture a real-time portrait of what the Earth looks like.

The American Who Died Fighting Against Ukraine’s Pro-Russian Rebels

Mark Gregory Paslawsky was a 55-year-old West Point graduate.

The Worst Company in America Turns a Page

Bank of America's mortgage-related legal costs just might be behind it now, with a new $17 billion deal with the government. 

No-Fun State Department Bans U.S. Diplomats From Participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge

State Department lawyers have barred U.S. ambassadors from participating in the charity meme

List of Suspects in Cop Car Poop-Smearing Pretty Much Endless

Someone put feces on NYPD door handles.

Hipster Uses Gonorrhea-Laced Gowanus Water for Ice-Bucket Challenge

Also, he added dry ice and raw fish.

Israeli Strikes Kill 3 Hamas Leaders As Military Wing Takes Responsibility for Kidnappings

Those dead are among Israel's most wanted men.

How Obamacare Violates the Conservative Cleanliness Fetish

A strange, revealing slip of the tongue.

Is This White Woman at the Ferguson Protests With a Misspelled Sign a Performance Artist?

Please say she’s a performance artist.

American Doctor Infected With Ebola Has Recovered, Will Be Released From Emory Hospital Today

He's expected to speak at a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday.