Flooding Turns NJ Communities Into Ghost Towns

By Brian Thompson
|  Thursday, Apr 1, 2010  |  Updated 4:46 PM EDT
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Flooding Turns NJ Communities Into Ghost Towns

Waterlogged homes on what are normally the banks of the Passaic River

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A rooster pierces the quiet with a "Cock-a-doodle-doo" on Hobson Avenue in Wayne.

But for the waterfront, now waterlogged homes on what are normally the banks of the Passaic River, there is little else to show this was formerly a vibrant neighborhood of just over a dozen homes.

"We had some people break in that house in '84 during the flood," said one oldtimer, Dave Sotelo, 71, explaining why he was one of the few who have been staying, despite his home being surround by hip-deep water.

So Sotelo stayed through this flood, and the one before and the one before that.

And for any burglars that might wade in, Sotelo had a message: "I'll stay and if I catch them they'll be [thrown] over the Falls, I swear to God I will," he said.

Scott Taylor, 48, goes to a hotel every night, but comes back to Hobson Avenue during the daytime.

He also is worried about thieves. "Make sure nobody's coming around and looking at the houses and stuff of that nature," he said.

Amy Sotelo, 24 and granddaughter to Dave is staying in her home just down Hobson Avenue. In this flood, that would be downstream from her father.

But NBCNewYork caught her in a boat piloted by her grandfather, headed to dry land along with her 2-year-old son E.J.

"Cabin fever," she explained.

And she added E.J. "needs to get out of the house. I can't even let him out on the porch 'cause I'm afraid he's gonna fall in."

But come nightfall, she said they would be back in their home, one of several willing to ride out the floods in what otherwise looks like a ghost town.

 Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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