Flash Flood Past

How did we survive without buzzing smartphones to warn us of coming thunderstorms? We waited for the rain to pass to run outside through the puddles! That’s just what this Brooklyn family did in September 1934, after a thirty-hour downpour left a lake outside 2403 East 13th Street, at the southeast corner of Avenue X. Their house, like others in the vicinity, dated from the 19th century. It bordered the valley of Squan Creek, a narrow tributary of Coney Island Creek that originated near Avenue W and East 11th Street and snaked its way south. Although the waterway had been largely filled in by the time this newspaper photo was taken, the unevenness of the surrounding terrain trapped storm runoff and residents alike–unless they were willing to “wade” it out.


“IT RAINED IN BROOKLYN. Brooklyn, N.Y. . . . Officially, only 1.48 inches of rain fell on Brooklyn, N.Y., during the precipitation of the past thirty hours, but, in spots, it seemed that the amount was many times that. Here is a scene on Avenue X, at East 13th Street, which gives an idea of the flood conditions faced by residents of that neighborhood.” 9-18-34.

Copyright © 2019 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)



Filed under weather

5 responses to “Flash Flood Past

  1. Michael Lesniak

    Joe, Can you send me everything you have on Squan Creek? I’d appreciate it. I grew up on East 12th between Ave. Y and Z during the 1940’s. My grandmother lived across the street and there was a large lot behind her house which I would cut through to get to school, St. Mark’s. After a rain there was always a large puddle with floating debris behind her backyard which I keep thinking had to be remnants of Squan Creek. What do you think? Mike Lesniak

    • Hi Mike. Thanks for reading the blog. I’m afraid there isn’t much more to share, but I think you’re right: the puddle you were seeing probably was a remnant of the creek. The filling in of the waterway most likely happened haphazardly, so there must have been leftover pools on empty lots. The creek was still largely visible on a 1924 aerial map of the neighborhood, but there were parts of it that had been loosely covered over. What was your grandmother’s address?

      If you haven’t seen it, here’s another post I did about a similar flood that happened the previous year (1933) at Avenue Y and East 11th: https://gravesendgazette.com/2011/08/26/a-soggy-day-in-gravesend-town/

      • Michael P. Lesniak

        Joe, You wrote me back, I had no idea until today (2/2/21). My grandmother’s address was 2537 E. 12th St., we lived at 2538 across the street. I don’t know why I am fascinated about Sheepshead Bay, Squan Creek, Stryker’s Basin in the years before my birth, 1943. Is there a way I can email you directly as I never know when you reply using just the Blog. Mike Lesniak

  2. Pingback: Squan Creek, Brooklyn – Hidden Waters blog

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