After Some Defy Evacuation, Red Hook Residents Take in Storm Aftermath

Many residents of Red Hook who chose to ignore the mandatory evacuation order and weather the storm in their low-lying Brooklyn neighborhood emerged from their homes Sunday and were not surprised by the extent of damage that Tropical Storm Irene left in its wake.

Dan Bowen, who lives on Van Brunt Street, said he wasn't surprised to find 21 inches of rain in his basement.

"The high tide, coupled with the amount of rain, I think we all expected to get some water in our basements," Bowen said.

Red Hook was squarely in Zone A, the area from which Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered all residents to leave before the storm barreled down on the city over the weekend. The only bus out of the neighborhood, the B61, stopped running at noon. The order was lifted at 3 p.m. Sunday.

A day later, Red Hook residents headed to Valentino Pier to see the water, like young resident Christian Abini, who said he was enjoying the weather: "Very windy," he said, "but it's a lot of fun ... and a lot of flooding."

Todd Orelli, another resident of Red Hook, was also at the pier, using his jacket to shield his 6-month-old daughter Siena from the 30 mph winds that kicked up on Sunday afternoon. Siena has been through a lot in her short life, he said.

"in six months, she narrowly averted a tornado disaster in Wilson, N.C., felt her first earthquake the other day and here we are in a hurricane," he said.

With reporting by Kateri Jochum