The parking lot at Shore Road Park in Lindenhurst was bustling Monday night as South Shore residents brought their cars there to save them from the damaging saltwater tide.
By 7 p.m., the lot was nearly full with more than 100 cars. The slightly elevated lot has been a preferred parking spot for decades for those whose streets and driveways regularly flood in storms.
Jonathan Cuesta, who lives with his girlfriend and grandmother a block away, nabbed the last spot in the northernmost part of the lot just before 6 p.m.
“Even in a light rain it gets flooded,” he said of South Bay Street. “And then people drive through it and it pushes the water towards the houses and that damages the car.”
But even the Shore Road parking lot is not impervious to Mother Nature. During superstorm Sandy in 2012, those who left their vehicles in the lot had their sense of security shattered when the entire lot flooded with such force that the water lifted cars from the pavement.
“We could hear car alarms going off all night because the cars were bumping into each other,” said Sue Anne Konkle, who lives on Surf Street. Konkle was giving a ride to neighbor Catherine Votaw, who was dropping her SUV in the lot.
Votaw just moved to Great South Bay-hugging Bayview Avenue last year and neighbors like Konkle had warned her that she should use the lot. She said she wasn’t too worried about her car, that the storm probably wouldn’t be too bad.
Arlene Donnatin, from nearby Arctic Street, also was not concerned. When she moved there in 2002, the previous owner left behind thigh-high waders, a warning of what was to come. “This is nothing,” she said of the storm, comparing it to Sandy. “You prepare by putting your boots on and you go on your way.”
Even though she lost two cars to the flooding in the Shore Road parking lot during Sandy, Latonya Jefferson left her car there again just ahead of Monday night’s high tide, feeling it was still a better option than by her home on Arctic Street.
“I don’t know how bad it’s going to be,” she said. “They said Sandy wasn’t going to be that bad, so I really don’t know anymore. Anything can happen now.”