PHOTOS: Hurricane Sandy Creeps Up on Brooklyn

In Red Hook, a neighborhood along New York Harbor featuring low-lying land and industrial piers, sandbags weren’t enough to prevent flooding, not just of seawater but also curious tourists, locals and television vans. A storm surge of between 6 to 11 feet tonight and into Tuesday morning is expected for areas like Red Hook. Dr. Alan Blumberg, an oceanographer with the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, has been keeping tabs on the storm surge with 200 sensors around the New York harbor. “We’ve been making measurements for 80 years,” he says. “This is the worst we’ve ever recorded.”

Winds became increasingly strong across the afternoon, narrowing the window for locals of “Zone A” to evacuate safely from the area. Officials are making final, strenuous arguments for locals to heed evacuation warnings.

Bill Johnson and Yolanda Dlamo (not pictured) were taking a break from preparing their Park Slope home ahead of Hurricane Sandy. “We’re at the bottom of the street,” said Johnson, “so if this floods we’re concerned about how much water we’re going to get in our area.” In the meantime, like a lot of New Yorkers, they were greeting the storm with caution and curiosity.

Ulf Agger, above, from Brooklyn Heights, felt safe in his apartment. “I’m not scared, but I’m concerned. I think mostly about people who live in the lower areas, and all the flooding that will come,” he said. “It still looks pretty calm, but you can see the water is much higher than it usually is. But I expect it to be here where we stand in a few hours’ time.”

Carol Serrano (right) and Nayda Ortiz decided to stay in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, despite mandatory evacuations, recalling what they thought were over-hyped precautions during last year’s Hurricane Irene disaster.

“It’s beautiful and scary,” Ortiz said, laughing with wonderment at the rising seas.

“This is exciting, this is cleansing,” Serrano said. “I just don’t want to go anywhere this time. I want to be home. Home is cool: I have food; I have TV; if we don’t have lights, we have games.”

“It’s scary, but I’m not scared, I think it’s more exciting than scary!” Ortiz said. “Isn’t it fun? You guys are out here too!”

The couple came dressed for the occasion:

Additional reporting by Tim McDonnell.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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