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Dozens Of Abandoned Vehicles Submerged On Major Deegan Expressway

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused flooding that stalled vehicles and destroyed structures across New York City.

The Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx resembled a movie scene, CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reported Thursday.

Dozens of abandoned vehicles were partially submerged on the expressway that was overwhelmed by flash flooding.

Some New Yorkers had to see it for themselves.

"I'm blown away. Shocked is, I'm past that. Everyone is like, they can't believe it," one person said.

"I've never seen this before. Other rivers... get flooded, but not the Major Deegan," another said.

As CBS2's Ali Bauman reports, traffic was flowing in the northbound lanes of the Major Deegan by 234th Street on Thursday night, but the southbound side remained closed while crews continued to clear flood water and tow away abandoned vehicles and tractor trailers.

The cars, along with hundreds more across the city, including in Bushwick, were submerged at times. Many were destroyed after a deluge of rain pounded the area.

The NYPD says more than 580 vehicles have been towed all across the city, but there were still many more to go.

Watch Kiran Dhillon's report --

"NYPD is way backed up, so I came to move one of my client's cars," said PJ Marcel, of Trackside Collision in Queens.

He says he's towed more than 70 cars since Wednesday night, including one that flood waters swept up on the guardrail along the Grand Central Parkway with the driver still inside.

"They climbed out of the sunroof, and they walked to safety where ... a vehicle passed by and grabbed him and took him off the exit," Marcel said.


Over on Staten Island, Andrei Farkash came out looking for his truck in the daylight. He said the water came into his vehicle, rising as high as the steering wheel.

He had to leave the truck when emergency responders helped him escape.

"I couldn't open the door. The water was already this high," he said.

NYPD officers carried a livery cab driver to safety after he got stuck in floodwater on the 65th Street Transverse in Central Park. It was just one of more than 400 flooding rescues the NYPD made during the storm.

Meanwhile, in Whitestone, Queens, a crew spent the morning clearing away a massive canopy at the Exxon gas station off the Cross Island Parkway. Luckily, no one was hurt.

"This is very dangerous for everybody," said Sofia Romero.

The gas station's manager said the heavy rainfall caused the structure to collapse overnight, crushing a car while its owner was inside the market paying for gas.

"The poor person, whoever's car that it, I feel bad for them," said Sean Hubish.

Homes and businesses were also hit by the floods.

Eight feet of water cascaded into Jitendra Shah's home in Fresh Meadows, causing up to $30,000 in damage.

"I'm not feeling good. I'm very sad that a lot of things are damaged, that's a washer, dryer, furniture, TV," Shah said.

Nearby, Amy Chen's home was also damaged.

"The window burst open and I was like, I've never seen a waterfall in my own basement before," Chen said.

Her neighbor posted a video on Instagram showing the flood.

"I was actually pumping up floaties in case we had to make a run for it," said Chen.

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When the water finally receded, broken cars and buses littered the area, especially on Utopia Parkway.

Many vehicles parked on the street were pushed away in the flood.

Thursday afternoon, flooding was still blocking all lanes in both directions on the Bronx River Parkway at 233rd Street and at East Gun Hill Road.

Meanwhile, the city said anyone who owns a car that will be towed off the Major Deegan should call 311 to find out where to pick it up.

There was no immediate word on when the expressway would be fully cleared.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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