$50G fix saves Patchogue man’s house

Water splashed at the mouth of Michael Hennessey's driveway as if something disturbed the river that was once Smith Street in Patchogue. But otherwise, the water, which was 4 feet deep or more, was receding.

​"I feel lucky," he said, pointing out the damage suffered by his neighbors, some of whose houses he said were "destroyed."

​Hennessey's house faces Shorefront Park, and just beyond that, the Great South Bay. But during the peak of the storm on Monday night, Hennessey said there was no way to tell what was bay and what was park.


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"The waves were crashing on the park," he said. "We thought Irene was bad, but this ..."

Still, Hennessey, 50, counted his blessings. Three years ago, he basically rebuilt his house so that he could add a second story. that job included rebuilding the foundation.

He built it up 7 feet higher than recommended by FEMA, and it now stands on 32 pilings and 18-inch thick cement foundation.

He suffered no water damage.

"If you're gonna live on the bay," he said, "this is what you have to do."

Hennessey said he spent about $50,000 lifting his house, but surveying the damage in his neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, it seemed like a small price to pay.

"Everyone else will call FEMA," he said. "I won't."

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