By Taylor Mascetta
Opinions Editor & Staff Meteorologist
It was the first day of the semester, and Fordham’s student body was buzzing with excitement. After surviving a global pandemic, multiple campus shutdowns, and countless Zoom lectures, everyone anticipated the return of a normal Fordham experience. Instead, a flash flood hit, throwing everything into disarray (and prompting Father McShane to send out his retirement email.)
Tropical Storm Ida slammed New York City on September 1 around 9pm, bringing in heavy rains and furious winds. The arrival of the storm took the East Coast by surprise; just one week before, forecasters predicted Hurricane Henri would devastate the area, yet the storm did not cause nearly as much damage as expected. However, the same could not be said for Ida.
After Henri went out with a whimper, no one prepared for what was to come, despite city officials’ warnings. Ida arrived with a roar, dropping a record-breaking 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain an hour across NYC. Rising floodwaters submerged subway systems within minutes, and many New Yorkers found themselves trapped within their own flooding apartments.
As for the Bronx, a tsunami practically rushed through the borough, rendering Fordham Road the world’s sixth ocean. Naturally, Rose Hill descended into absolute chaos, with winds knocking down trees like dominos and massive lakes popping up all over campus. Naturally, hundreds of students decided to go take a swim.
Victims of the Great Fordham Flood Include:
- The McGinley Center = We finally got the print-shop back, only to have the basement flood once again. RIP to any chance of Dagger John’s returning.
- Walsh Library = Fordham’s library sustained significant damage during the storm, as the flooding nearly destroyed its basement. According to Walsh Library’s director Linda LoSchiavo, floodwaters pushed through the existing floodgate and smashed through a window, allowing over four feet of water to pour into the basement. Officials expect repairs to the basement to last a couple of months, but the library still allows limited access to the rest of its floors.
- Walsh Hall = Walsh Library wasn’t the only Walsh to fall to Ida. Like many other basements across the Bronx, Walsh Hall found its bottom floor completely flooded. The rising waters also caused damage to the apartment building’s elevator, forcing students to rely on the stairs.
- Hotel Loyola = The honors dorm evacuated its residents to the McGinley Center after smoke started pouring out of their elevator. After a long week of orientation, I think the freshmen deserve a break.
- My Basement, Among Others’ = Off campus apartments were not spared by Ida’s wrath, with multiple apartments experiencing rain damage and flooded basements. (That’s one way to get rid of the roaches.) In my case, my roommates and I headed downstairs only to find about three or four inches of rainwater covering our entire basement floor. Needless to say, we blasted “Singin’ in the Rain” and wallowed in our misery.
- The First? Second? Day of School = Public Safety cancelled all classes on both September 2 and 3 after the storm caused significant damage to the campus. These dates happened to be the Thursday and Friday before Labor Day Weekend, giving everyone a 5 day weekend. Many students found themselves not even starting school until midway through the second week of classes because of this.
- Fordham Football’s Winning Streak = Fordham’s football team narrowly avoided Ida, as they had already travelled across the country to face the University of Nebraska. But even they couldn’t escape her wrath. They lost 7 to 52… but, hey, at least we scored!
- Father McShane’s time at Fordham = On September 2 (in a completely coincidental timeframe), Father McShane announced that he would be stepping down as president at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. After nineteen years of service, Father McShane decided that it was his time to step aside and allow another to take his place. Perhaps the flood was his final straw.
Despite the sustained damage, the Great Fordham Flood will be remembered for years to come. Fordham’s student body truly came together to brace the storm, and Barstool Fordham should have substantial meme content for weeks.
For instance, junior Ben Kindberg braved the rising waters in search of a good time. “I was walking around in my Crocs, just hoping not to get electrocuted. I saw on Barstool, that people were going swimming so I figured, why not?” He said. “We all run into the water, I’m in my swim trunks, and the water was much colder than expected. Suddenly, some kid from O’Hare challenged me to a race. I won, but at what cost… I’m not 100% sure if I can have children anymore after swimming in Bronx sewage water.”
Maybe swimming in Loyola Lake or dancing through our flooding basements wasn’t the best idea – Ida literally could’ve electrocuted us all – but the memories surely will last us forever.