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Title Article: Cycling through Hoboken after the Cyclone. By Robert Foster, Director, Hoboken Historical Museum. 2013.
Object Name Article
Catalog Number 2013.002.0007
Collection Hoboken Hurricane Sandy Collection
Credit Museum Collections.
Scope & Content Article: Cycling through Hoboken after the Cyclone. By Robert Foster, Director, Hoboken Historical Museum. 2013.

Published on pages 4-5 of newsletter: Ideas. The Voice of the Humanities in New Jersey, Spring 2013. Published by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH.) (8-1/2" x 11, 16 pp.)

Foster article was part of a cover story, Four Stories from the Storm. Photograph by McKevin Shaughnessy of Hoboken after Hurricane Sandy is seen on page [1] and two other photos are printed with Foster's article about the 2012 storm on page 4.

Text of Foster's article only is in notes.
Notes Archives 2013.002.0007


page 4

Cycling through Hoboken after the Cyclone.

Robert Foster, Director
Hoboken Historical Museum, Hoboken

A blizzard of phone calls and text messages besieged Hoboken Historical Museum staff, House Tour committee members, and homeowners. Would we still hold our planned annual House Tour on October 27 even though a potentially devastating storm was predicted?

Should the Museum go ahead as planned? Was it fair to the homeowners? Would anyone show up? With a last minute change in the forecast pushing the "storm of the century" back 36 hours, and at the urging of the homeowners who had worked so hard to prepare their homes for the public, the decision was made to continue with the tour.

Little did we know what the coming week would bring.

The House Tour is one of the most labor intensive events the Museum undertakes, involving up to sixty volunteers, 10-15 homeowners, hundreds of visitors, and extra staff required to help out. In closing that evening we did very little to prepare for the storm itself. We taped windows and door seams, thinking about heavy rain damage, but did not board up with plywood like our commercial neighbors to the north and south. We remembered last year's Hurricane Irene and how we painstakingly spent hours removing artifacts, showcases, flat files, gift shop items and file cabinets to the 2nd floor. We came through that storm okay so we felt
we could let our guard down with Sandy.

In the end, we lost power for the week but the Museum was extremely lucky in not sustaining damage, especially in light of our location - one block west of the Hudson River. Evidence of the River's surge was all around - high-water marks were visible on buildings, chain-link fences marked the water's height with dirty plastic bags and other bits of garbage along with seaweed-like river vegetation stuck to it. Cars were in the middle of the street, some parked at strange angles where the surge left them. Many of our commercial neighbors would remain closed for weeks.

No power made communication difficult but a couple of staff members are dedicated cyclists and riding to each other's homes became the way we communicated with each other. It was also helpful for checking on some of our more senior members. Anne Bauer, Co-Chair of our annual Garden Tour, lives in a small, beautiful garden apartment in the midtown area. As with so many residents who live below or at street level, no electrical power led to a failure of her sump pump and she took on about two feet of water in her fully carpeted home. Capable and independent-minded, Anne came by my home to see how we had fared and did we have a wet-vac to borrow? We did not, but knowing her street had been flooded and

[caption page 4 top right photo]

A. Flooded Hoboken.
Photo: McKevin Shaughnessy


[caption page 4 bottom left photo]
The river's surge leads to new forms of public transportation.
Photo: McKevin Shaughnessy


page 5

er apartment was below street level, I sensed her "minor moisture" problem, as she called it, was probably more serious than that. I gathered some tools, flashlights, and food and headed over to see the damage. A few of Anne's neighbors had already arrived and we spent the next few hours removing the soaked carpeting and ruined furniture. By the time we were finished the entire block was lined with water damaged items. Over the next few days many blocks had similar piles, some many feet high.

I returned to Anne's a few times over the next week to continue the clean-up and was struck by her optimism and acceptance. Even though she had recently renovated her home, she took the damage in stride and replaced the floor and carpets with tile. Grateful for the assistance of friends and neighbors, Anne purchased gift cards from local businesses to say thank you to everyone for their help. In her newly-tiled apartment she is busy planning this year's Annual Garden Tour for June 2, 2013.

[end Foster article]

People Bauer, Ann
Foster, Robert
Shaughnessy, McKevin
Date 2013
Year Range from 2013.0
Year Range to 2013.0
Search Terms HHM (Hoboken Historical Museum)
1301 Hudson St.
Caption pg [1] Shaughnessy Hoboken photo after Hurricane Sandy
Imagefile 202\20130020007.TIF
Classification Storms
Disaster Preparedness
Domestic Life
Social & Personal Activity