Storm injury Ida: Historic Wyckoff Home in Brooklyn badly broken by flooding

BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) – The devastating rain and flooding caused by the remains of Ida spared nothing in their path, including a historic New York City home.

The oldest home in the city and state, the Wyckoff House Museum in Brooklyn (circa 1650) suffered severe flooding and water-related damage after Ida brought record rainfall to the Tri-State area during the week.

“We had up to six feet of water in the basement, which kept our HVAC and water heater completely submerged,” said Melissa Branfman, executive director of the Wyckoff House Museum.

She says the upper basement was about 1.5 meters high and many of the farm implements that were stored down there were ruined. There was also water in the caretaker’s home.

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“While some of the water is rainwater, much of the water is wastewater that came through the sewer system,” said Branfman. “So most things not only have to be ventilated because of mold, but are also contaminated with a toxic film.”

The staff have been working around the clock for the past few days to save what they can and get at the damage. They say both the HVAC and the water heater need to be replaced.

While the house is initially closed to the public, the site is still open for self-guided audio tours on Fridays and Saturdays, with the farm stand open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The president of the museum announced that IOBY, a not-for-profit organization based in Brooklyn, has set up a matching fund to support recovery efforts and implement more preventative measures.

“Two weeks ago the record for rain per hour was broken in Central Park, New York, but Ida nearly doubled the amount of rain per hour,” said Naj Wikoff, president of Wyckoff House and the museum. “It will only get worse. We need to take more aggressive preventive measures as we understand the ways in which we can deal with floods as the risk of storms increases.”

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Until the COVID outbreak, the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, a member of New York City’s Historic House Trust, was one of the most-visited historic homes by school children in the city.

The home and museum is known for its hands-on learning activities that introduce many children to farming and host a variety of community events.

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