How To Stop Basement Apartments From Becoming “Death Traps” During Flash Floods

Parts of Queens were built on marshy land, and some neighborhoods in the borough are in low-lying areas that are more vulnerable to flooding from storms and nearby creeks, streams and rivers.

“People who try to have inhabitable basements in those areas are gambling because there is often flooding,” said Clint Andrews, a professor of urban planning at Rutgers University. The Department of Buildings said they have received more than 3,000 self-reported notifications of storm-damaged properties across the five boroughs and will be conducting safety inspections. NYPD is investigating the illegal basement units where the fatalities occurred.

Gothamist, September 13, 2021