Stuy Town parkers driven mad after cars are totaled by Sandy

The driver of this Volvo reportedly tried to make a break from Garage 5 as the surge was coming, but abandoned ship. Photo by Lincoln Anderson

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  Stuyvesant Town parkers were feeling “garage rage” after Hurricane Sandy wrecked their cars in a place they were assured would be safe during the storm.

Angry and concerned car owners gathered outside Garage 5, on Avenue C near 15th St., on Tuesday afternoon, but it was gated and there were no attendants in sight. Inside the garage a white car could be seen sitting in water still several inches high.

A GoodYear tow truck operator whose name patch read “Bernard” let them know they were in for the worst due to the salt water’s effects on their wheels.

“Every car out here — totaled,” he said. “If it ever starts running again, it’ll have electronic problems for a long time.”

Parkers were livid that they had received a letter before the storm from Quik Park, which took over the operation in August, telling them to move their cars out of Garages 2, 3 and 4 — with the assumption being that Garage 5 was safe. No. 5 is the biggest garage of the lot.

All the Stuy Town garages along Avenue C are in Zone B. Zone A, the most flood-prone area, stops in the middle of 14th St. But the storm didn’t know from A or B.

“I have an ‘87, cherry red BMW,” said Diana Lee Wolozin, who owns a co-op nearby on 14th St. “It’s like my life savings. … I’m a massage therapist and my massage equipment is in the back of my trunk.”

Saying her car was “vintage” and so didn’t have electronic computer controls, she hoped Bernard would confirm that the vehicle would be O.K., but he didn’t sound convinced.

George Kane, 57, a lifelong resident of the complex said this was the worst storm — and worst garage carnage — he had ever seen, including the ‘92 storm that inundated No. 5 with salt water.

“Even Dec. 11, 1992 — we had a nor’easter and it wasn’t this bad,” he said. “What you had here was a nor’easter combined with a full moon.”

One woman, who didn’t give her name, said that, recalling that ‘92 garage swamping, she took her car out of the garage two days before Monday’s storm, and parked it on First Ave.

Outside the Quik Park, cars sat scattered haphazardly at angles, some half on and half off the pavement, left where they had settled after floating in the water on the flooded avenue. Wolozin checked out a white Mercedes.

“Its inside smelled like the East River,” she reported.

Farzad Sabouhi was annoyed that when he had parked his car at 6 p.m. on Monday the attendants didn’t seem particularly concerned about the onrushing Sandy-pocalypse.

“They didn’t mention nothing,” he said.

“This has to be a class-action suit here,” said sports writer Alan Kreda, who has been parking in the garage since 1993.

Diane Fraher said parkers had been assured that the garage would be “sandbagged up” before the storm hit, but it was never done.

She said when she came by earlier on Monday an attendant had been there and told her the story behind the Volvo XC 60 that sat parked at an angle on the garage’s threshold. It hadn’t been tossed there by the water.

“It was a young guy who tried to get away at the last minute,” she said, “and he panicked, and he jumped out.”