Parking garage horror: 100 ruined cars

Sylvan Parking on Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken, NJ

Leonard Weiss, owner of the Sylvan Parking garage in Hoboken – where many cars suffered an ill-fated demise – offers his commentary about the whole tragic event:

“On this memorable day, the Northeastern cities and ocean front sites were hit by the worst catastrophic weather to ever strike New Jersey and New York.

Although the ocean front communities received the brunt of the damage to homes and businesses, practically no city in Eastern New Jersey was spared.

Our own community of Hoboken probably suffered more damage than any other city in our state.”

“Fortunately, our Governor rolled up his sleeves and showed us why we are lucky as to have him governing NJ. His actions and help in reassuring the residents that he was going to do everything possible to come to the aid of those stricken by Hurricane Sandy, went a long way to calming most people. He has shown all of us that he is capable of dealing with a crisis of this magnitude.

Besides the residents of Hoboken, the business community suffered enormous damages. Very few people in Hoboken were spared.

As the operator of two garages in the city, we along with most of our customers have had to deal with many problems, affecting our business and our customer’s vehicles.

Over 3,000 automobiles, many parked in other garages, and many in streets or parking lots, were severely damaged by flooding, many beyond repair.

The weather forecasts were not too helpful. They forecast how strong Sandy was going to be and how much damage it would cause, but they never, except after we experienced the enormous flooding that hit us, that Hoboken would be so severely clobbered by the storm.”

“I am not sure how much any of us could have done had we been forewarned, but perhaps some steps might have been taken to lessen some of the damage.

As the operator of two garages, one on Marshall Street and one on Jefferson Street, we along with about 100 of our customers were the victims of an Act of God.

On Sunday, the day before we were struck, we were inundated with cars seeking to get off the streets. We took as many cars in as the garages would hold, believing that we were doing a public service; not as some people have implied, with profit as our motive.

We are a company that has been in business for over 50 years and have a sterling reputation. Unlike some gas stations we would never think of gouging anyone. The additional cars have caused us; not to make any money, but have resulted in substantial losses.

In our garage on Marshall Street we had our entire revenue control system destroyed, which will cost us well over $100,000 to replace. We also will require many additional employees to operate the garage as a valet rather then a self-parking operation. That is very costly.

In any event this entire disaster has been a terrible experience for just about every one living or working in Hoboken.
We are coping as best as we can, and with the understanding and cooperation of everyone we will, along with the rest of Hoboken, get back to where we were before Sandy struck.”

Leonard Weiss

Hoboken garage moves cars to known flood zones

11/8/2012:

Note: The original post has been edited to make corrections.

Oh boy – this sounds like a pretty shady thing to do. One parking garage in town apparently moved cars around before hurricane Sandy – to locations in the structure that are known to flood. WTF is up with that?

Were YOU affected at the Sylvan parking garage at 800 Jefferson Street?

100 cars wrecked at Sylvan Parking in Hoboken, NJ

“We had lost our new car in the storm due to flooding at the Sylvan parking garage on Jefferson. About 100 other cars were destroyed.

I have been a monthly garage tenant for 7 years. The attendants assured me that the car was on the second floor out of harms way. To my understanding another parking attendant had said they were no longer taking daily parking in order position the current amount of cars in the garage upstairs out of harms way. However a neighbor had mentioned from another attendant that when the owner had come by he instructed them to continue to take more daily cars in. So basically cars that were secured upstairs had been shuffled to the basement to accommodate more volume. This is infuriating, I wonder if Hoboken411 can post something about this to see if others affected in that garage want to research going after the garage company for damages? Although the adjuster was as fair as possible with us we will still be out about $10,000.

Any ideas on how I could rally the other monthly holders that read your site?”

46 Responses

  1. klh says:

    We also got our car ruined from parking in this parking garage. We moved our car off the street because of the storm and potential flooding. We made it clear that is why we were moving it and were under the impression it was staying where he placed it (higher up). They have to be pretty ignorant to think it was ok for us to move our car off the street only to bring it even further below street level. When we came back to get our car on Tuesday we were told all cars were destroyed because of flooding. We are still waiting for the assesment from our insurance company, but no doubt in my mind we will definitely loose money on this. Also, when we went to talk to the manager of the garage on Wednesday he had the nerve to say “don’t worry I am not going to charge you”!

  2. homeworld says:

    I don’t understand why so many people left their cars on the street to be flooded out in this storm. During Hurricane Irene, the streets were empty and everyone protected their cars by moving their cars to higher ground. For some reason there was willful ignorance for this storm as people knowingly let their cars get ruined by keeping them on the street and in underground and low garages.

    There’s a reason so much new construction in Hoboken doesn’t have any ground flood units, it’s because they’re in a flood zone that prohibits them.

    • hfaj035 says:

      I am a monthly parker at this garage. On the Sunday before the storm, I pulled my car in and waited with it to make very clear to the attendant that I wanted my car parked upstairs. I then watched him park the car upstairs. I walked away thinking my car was safe. I returned after the storm to check on my car and learned it was moved downstairs. When I asked why they would move ANY car downstairs, they explained they were told to move cars downstairs because to many upstairs would be a fire hazard. This is an attended garage, not a self-parking garage. Perhaps there are more out there like me that had no control over the attendants moving our cars downstairs. At the very least, we rely on these people to exercise common sense and good judgment with our vehicles. Considering the size of the storm, the countless flood warnings, and a possible history of flooding in this garage, it is hard to trust that they believed the cars in that basement were at limited risk. The reality is that many of us will be out significant amounts of money because of the gross negligence of this garage. Are you willing to accept that lying down? I’m not. I am interested to hear if anyone had a similar experience or shares the same thoughts. [quote comment=”218030″]I don’t understand why so many people left their cars on the street to be flooded out in this storm. During Hurricane Irene, the streets were empty and everyone protected their cars by moving their cars to higher ground. For some reason there was willful ignorance for this storm as people knowingly let their cars get ruined by keeping them on the street and in underground and low garages.There’s a reason so much new construction in Hoboken doesn’t have any ground flood units, it’s because they’re in a flood zone that prohibits them.[/quote]

  3. JLN says:

    Not totally true, I’m a monthly holder for over a year and my car was ruined on the Jefferson side of the bottom floor. When I went down there afterwards, the vast majority of the cars were monthly, you can tell by the sticker on the rear view mirrors. You are right though, they arranged the cars for max profit. I am very friendly with the guys and asked them sat morning to please keep my car on the top when I brought it in because I knew the storm was coming. Went back Sat night to check and its buried on the bottom. Made a scene that it needed to be moved up and they said they would. Went back AGAIN Sunday and it was moved to the aisle, but still downstairs. Spoke to manager who brilliantly said, “don’t worry lady, this side of the garage hasn’t flooded badly in 13 years, it will be fine”. I told him to still move it upstairs since they were still accepting cars. You know how this story ends. My opinion? They didn’t think that the bottom of the Jefferson side would flood as bad as it did (solid 4 ft) and they threw a lot of monthly people down there. It’s $250 a month and those people had already paid. Why not take overnights for $40 a day and fit as many as you can upstairs and Madison side where there is the most room. If they put you on downstairs Madison they knew your car would be ruined. I heard of a monthly girl who bribed them $50 and they still ultimately left her car on 1st floor. Anyway, spoke to sylvan parking systems claims dept and they just keep saying to give insurance their info. Told them I want the month free in writing and they sent me a bootleg response saying they won’t charge me until I bring a new car in. Parking garage guys will no longer even look me in the eye when I used to get attempted hugs (don’t ask). Let me know if anyone is pursuing anything further. Also note they took no precautions whatsoever; no sandbags, pumps for the water, etc when they told me they would.

    • 9thandwillow says:

      I was speaking with another tenant telling him of how my car was totaled and this muppet who had no social skills tells me “Oh I gave the guy and extra $50 to make sure my car stayed upstairs.” After what I told him. Next time keep that info to yourself after someone just told you they lost your car. What a DB.[quote comment=”218033″]Not totally true, I’m a monthly holder for over a year and my car was ruined on the Jefferson side of the bottom floor. When I went down there afterwards, the vast majority of the cars were monthly, you can tell by the sticker on the rear view mirrors. You are right though, they arranged the cars for max profit. I am very friendly with the guys and asked them sat morning to please keep my car on the top when I brought it in because I knew the storm was coming. Went back Sat night to check and its buried on the bottom. Made a scene that it needed to be moved up and they said they would. Went back AGAIN Sunday and it was moved to the aisle, but still downstairs. Spoke to manager who brilliantly said, “don’t worry lady, this side of the garage hasn’t flooded badly in 13 years, it will be fine”. I told him to still move it upstairs since they were still accepting cars. You know how this story ends. My opinion? They didn’t think that the bottom of the Jefferson side would flood as bad as it did (solid 4 ft) and they threw a lot of monthly people down there. It’s $250 a month and those people had already paid. Why not take overnights for $40 a day and fit as many as you can upstairs and Madison side where there is the most room. If they put you on downstairs Madison they knew your car would be ruined. I heard of a monthly girl who bribed them $50 and they still ultimately left her car on 1st floor. Anyway, spoke to sylvan parking systems claims dept and they just keep saying to give insurance their info. Told them I want the month free in writing and they sent me a bootleg response saying they won’t charge me until I bring a new car in. Parking garage guys will no longer even look me in the eye when I used to get attempted hugs (don’t ask). Let me know if anyone is pursuing anything further. Also note they took no precautions whatsoever; no sandbags, pumps for the water, etc when they told me they would.[/quote]

  4. MidnightRacer says:

    a) lease
    b) parents bought it
    c) easier cash from insurance than fraud
    d) couldn’t fly back to the area when flights were canceled into NJ

    • hobokenhound says:

      I’ve been parking my car at this garage for 6 years. The attendants have, for the most part, been great. So, I was very unhappy to learn that my car, which I’ve been paying $250 per month to house there, was put in the lower level that everyone knows floods. I’m waiting to hear from my insurance carrier, but it sounds like my well loved car is most likely totaled.
      Before the storm came, I asked the attendants what would be done for cars that they happen to park on the lower level. (The attendants determine where the cars are parked – lower or upper level). I was told that when the storm arrives, all of the monthly cars would be moved to the upper level, because the lower level floods. They further told me that they would turn away all hourly/day rates when they have no more room on the upper level.
      I was really annoyed to learn that they did not do this and left the lower level full of monthly cars. IF what I was told by the attendants is true, they continued to take in hourly/day rates when the storm hit and placed them on the upper level. The garage owner has not returned any calls….
      Not sure what my recourse is but I’m interested to hear what other people who parked in the garage have learned/experienced.[quote comment=”218038″]a) lease b) parents bought it c) easier cash from insurance than fraud d) couldn’t fly back to the area when flights were canceled into NJ[/quote]

  5. sh1zy says:

    I drive an SUV and am a monthly parker. I left my car there Saturday evening with the same instructions as everyone else, and when I returned on Wednesday, I was told the car was in the basement, and that I could not access it because it was flooded. I was finally able to get down there on Saturday, and it was parked in an aisle on the Madison Street side. My car was obviously totaled, and it looked like water had filled the entire cabin and submerged the car. Surveying the rest of the basement, they clearly put as many SUV’s in the basement as they could, probably assuming that they would fair better in the event of minor flooding (1-2 ft). My SUV was a BMW and 11 months old, so financially, they were either stupid (thinking about increased daily rates rather than liability) or ambivalent. Honestly, the most frustrating part is that they did not contact me to tell me they were moving it to the basement. My car would have been safer on the street, or I could have parked at Newport.

    I would be more than happy to sue the garage, but it’s really a waste of time. When your auto insurance company declares your car a total loss, it appraises the car and pays you the market value of the car plus the sales tax needed to buy that same car on the market. Once you accept that money, only the insurance company can sue the garage. Even if that weren’t the case, if you sued the garage, what would your recovery be? You already received fair market value from the car from your insurance, and you can’t get a double recovery. Your recovery would be moneys spent on a rental car (many insurance carriers pay for this, so you can’t recover), inconvenience ($0), and punitive damages, which is always iffy and probably not worth it. Honestly, you would be better off getting these expenses by filing a FEMA claim–all it costs is postage, and it won’t take 1.5 years of litigation.

  6. patfitz0312 says:

    What they actually did is screw the monthly customers, like me.

    They moved the monthly cars downstairs into flood central so they would have extra room in the very safe top floor for the hourly people. So, as thanks for our several hundred dollars a month, our cars were purposefully stuffed downstairs into harm’s way.

    One thing I was unclear about though, is why they chose not to move the city official’s covered car into the basement? I have some nice pictures of that which should be of interest.

    I think the mood of the people in the building (which still has no heat or hot water, BTW), ranges from sadness that someone cared so little about them as long-term customers to absolute rage — leaning more toward the latter.

  7. 9thandwillow says:

    I have been a tenant at the garage for seven years now. I know that litigation would be time consuming. I just cannot believe the level of apathy the garage owner exhibited. And he is probably going to get flood insurance payments as well. I wish there was some way to simply recover the money that we are out of. The insurance company came with an adjuster right away and our processing should be completed soon but we will still come up short and continue to pay for something that is no longer functioning.

    I am going to see if FEMA can help at all for the difference.

    • sh1zy says:

      When you say that you “will still come up short and continue to pay for something that is no longer functioning” after your insurance company pays for total loss to your car, what exactly do you mean?

      I’m simplifying, but here’s a quick example. You have a 2011 Honda Accord you purchased for $25,000 that now has 20,000 miles. The appraiser hired by the insurance company will look at 2011 Honda Accords on the market within 25 miles of your home that have similar features and similar mileage, and prepare a report for the adjuster–let’s say it’s $20,000. Insurance will pay you that amount plus costs for sales tax and maybe some other incidentals like registration/title fees for purchasing that exact car.[quote comment=”218048″]I have been a tenant at the garage for seven years now. I know that litigation would be time consuming. I just cannot believe the level of apathy the garage owner exhibited. And he is probably going to get flood insurance payments as well. I wish there was some way to simply recover the money that we are out of. The insurance company came with an adjuster right away and our processing should be completed soon but we will still come up short and continue to pay for something that is no longer functioning.I am going to see if FEMA can help at all for the difference.[/quote]

      • aj2013 says:

        Hi, they would come up short because the current value of the car will probably be less than the amount that they owe on the loan. Unless they purchased GAP insurance on the car to cover it, then they are going to still owe on the totaled car.[quote comment=”218052″]When you say that you “will still come up short and continue to pay for something that is no longer functioning” after your insurance company pays for total loss to your car, what exactly do you mean?I’m simplifying, but here’s a quick example. You have a 2011 Honda Accord you purchased for $25,000 that now has 20,000 miles. The appraiser hired by the insurance company will look at 2011 Honda Accords on the market within 25 miles of your home that have similar features and similar mileage, and prepare a report for the adjuster–let’s say it’s $20,000. Insurance will pay you that amount plus costs for sales tax and maybe some other incidentals like registration/title fees for purchasing that exact car.[/quote]

      • bokennojokink says:

        The car could already be owned outright or bought with cash.

        [quote comment=”218058″]Hi, they would come up short because the current value of the car will probably be less than the amount that they owe on the loan. Unless they purchased GAP insurance on the car to cover it, then they are going to still owe on the totaled car.[/quote]

      • aj2013 says:

        right, but if they’re losing money, it’s most likely bc of the loan…[quote comment=”218059″]The car could already be owned outright or bought with cash.[/quote]

      • sh1zy says:

        That’s not how car loans work. Using the previous example, say you purchased your car for $25,000, and that it is appraised at $20,000, and that the remaining balance on your loan is $10,000–$8500 in principal and $1500 in interest.

        Insurance will pay you $20,000. You apply the first $8500 to your loan, and once it is paid off, you owe no further interest. You pocket the $11,500 in cash, which represents the amount of principal you paid. The only money you lost is the interest you have already paid, which obviously, you were never getting back anyway.[quote comment=”218060″]right, but if they’re losing money, it’s most likely bc of the loan…[/quote]

      • aj2013 says:

        That doesn’t make sense unless someone put a significant amount of cash down. If you purchased a 2010 Honda Civic for example, and perhaps the price was $25K, after 2 years and 20K miles, the car is only going to be worth around half that amount. If the payments plus insurance appraisal amount don’t add up to at least the $25K, then they’re screwed. Not to mention that they’re going to have to start from scratch and finance a new car.[quote comment=”218063″]That’s not how car loans work. Using the previous example, say you purchased your car for $25,000, and that it is appraised at $20,000, and that the remaining balance on your loan is $10,000–$8500 in principal and $1500 in interest.Insurance will pay you $20,000. You apply the first $8500 to your loan, and once it is paid off, you owe no further interest. You pocket the $11,500 in cash, which represents the amount of principal you paid. The only money you lost is the interest you have already paid, which obviously, you were never getting back anyway.[/quote]

      • sh1zy says:

        It looks like you want to be reimbursed for the depreciation in the value of the car for the two years you actually used it (using your example)? [quote comment=”218065″]That doesn’t make sense unless someone put a significant amount of cash down. If you purchased a 2010 Honda Civic for example, and perhaps the price was $25K, after 2 years and 20K miles, the car is only going to be worth around half that amount. If the payments plus insurance appraisal amount don’t add up to at least the $25K, then they’re screwed. Not to mention that they’re going to have to start from scratch and finance a new car.[/quote]

      • aj2013 says:

        What I’m saying is unless a person has gap insurance, they would be losing money because insurance is only reimbursing for actual cash value of the car. A person would need to pay off the rest to purchase a new one, so they’d have to come up with the remainder asap. It’s basically an upside down loan. [quote comment=”218072″]It looks like you want to be reimbursed for the depreciation in the value of the car for the two years you actually used it (using your example)?[/quote]

      • 9thandwillow says:

        Exactly aj2013. Our loan was very new (5 months). I think we might be made a little more whole though because in the heat of the disaster we gave them an inaccurate mileage estimate. I went back to the last time the car was serviced at the dealer to see what the mileage was over the summer. The insurance adjuster is really trying to amend the mileage so I might get a little more.

        [quote comment=”218080″]What I’m saying is unless a person has gap insurance, they would be losing money because insurance is only reimbursing for actual cash value of the car. A person would need to pay off the rest to purchase a new one, so they’d have to come up with the remainder asap. It’s basically an upside down loan.[/quote]

  8. JLN says:

    As others mentioned, litigation is time consuming and there are no guaranteed wins here. However, the only recourse I have left is to demand that i’m not charged for parking there for the next month, 6 months, year, whatever due to their negligence. I made my case to their claims dept and her unbelievable response was, “right now there are more important things to worry about than payment, like getting the cars out of the garage”. WHAT? My car is already out of the garage (bless the poor tow people who had to push out 10+ cars to get to it) and YES I am concerned that when i don’t pay you by the 10th you will start assessing late fees. Maybe if enough people push for the same they will acquiesce to something? Here is the response I got after i insisted that they send me something in writing:

    “We sincerely regret the problems that you are experiencing, that has been caused by the hurricane. We, you, and tens of thousands of people in NJ have had to recover from this Act of God that has caused so much damage for so many people.

    We are advising you that the most expeditious steps that you can take in order to handle the damage to your car is to report it to your insurance company. They will advise you how to handle this situation.

    We certainly have no intention of charging you for parking your damaged car in the garage. We will delete your monthly account and at such time as you bring another car into the garage we will reinstate your monthly parking account.

    Carrie
    Sylvan Parking Co.
    Phone: 718-575-9440 x 16
    Fax: 718-575-9111″

    I’m still too angry to write my response.

  9. bokennojokink says:

    Horrible story… lost my car is well but it was in my building’s garage. This is a whole different level.

    I wouldn’t sue as well as you are being made pretty much whole my the insurance company minus deductible. But this infuriates me…

  10. willow says:

    I also park in this garage. I spoke to one of the employees a few days later. He was very upset about the whole situation. He told me he spent several hours making sure all the monthly cars were sqweezed in on the top level. Later that day the owner came in and demanded cars be parked below. A lot of SUVs went downstairs thinking if they got some water the taller cars would survive. This employee felt horrible and he even lost his own car. Water was up to the ceiling. Such a shame. But it’s best to remind yourself it’s property. I believe you may also be able to tax deduct your loss.

  11. HansBrix says:

    Of course this discussion about renumeration is moot if the contract absolves them of any liability or responsibility other than allowing you to park in their facility.

    I’ll bet such weasel language exists. I’ll bet it’s the first thing they thought of.

  12. sh1zy says:

    Contracts don’t absolve you of negligence. They are a valet parking service, i.e., they have full control over your car. Under a 1982 NJ Supreme Court decision, they are presumed to be liable for all damage to the car incurred while in their custody UNLESS they can establish that they took reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm. I believe their flood prevention measures were a few sandbags on the Madison Street side, while actively placing bigger cars in harm’s way in the basement and not notifying anyone.

  13. volpenator says:

    Rest assured, Monthly’s are not alone in misery. My girlfriend and I (not monthly’s)came the day of the storm to park our cars and just like everyone else I asked…”So my car stays on this level then right?” …the attendant assured me all is great and life is wonderful…he actually laughed a little like i asked something so absurd that he wouldn’t DREAM of taking cars downstairs. The door that leads to the basement wasn’t even open so imagined they had shut that so no one would just pull down there.

    Long story short…we come to retrieve our cars a couple of days later when the water subsided from our street and we could walk.
    END RESULT:
    My Audi is now a wet steaming pile of sh*t
    My girlfriends car LUCKILY was left upstairs
    Luck of the draw.
    Personal note; What is probably most depressing is that i just made my last payment last month and JUST recieved the title in the mail. WTF kinda game is this.

    A COUPLE OF CONCERNS:
    No one appears to be moving cars and I dont know how they are going to get a tow truck to pull them out. The insurance and tow company told me there is nothing to do until they get the other cars out as mine is jammed towards the back…

    I was personally told by the one attendant that the owner/boss (whomever) personally came in and started taking daily rentals and shuffling cars downstairs. For the sake of humanity i almost hope he was being bribed and that its not just a case of stupidity.

    class action law suit?

    • joey maxim says:

      Keep in mind- where does the fault lie? No reason for the hurt perpertrated on the good
      people of hoboken…40k+ vehicles or less destroyed..chitttttttttttttttttttttttttttt..Is the city hall line busy?[quote comment=”218121″]Rest assured, Monthly’s are not alone in misery. My girlfriend and I (not monthly’s)came the day of the storm to park our cars and just like everyone else I asked…”So my car stays on this level then right?” …the attendant assured me all is great and life is wonderful…he actually laughed a little like i asked something so absurd that he wouldn’t DREAM of taking cars downstairs. The door that leads to the basement wasn’t even open so imagined they had shut that so no one would just pull down there.Long story short…we come to retrieve our cars a couple of days later when the water subsided from our street and we could walk. END RESULT: My Audi is now a wet steaming pile of sh*t My girlfriends car LUCKILY was left upstairs Luck of the draw. Personal note; What is probably most depressing is that i just made my last payment last month and JUST recieved the title in the mail. WTF kinda game is this.A COUPLE OF CONCERNS: No one appears to be moving cars and I dont know how they are going to get a tow truck to pull them out. The insurance and tow company told me there is nothing to do until they get the other cars out as mine is jammed towards the back…I was personally told by the one attendant that the owner/boss (whomever) personally came in and started taking daily rentals and shuffling cars downstairs. For the sake of humanity i almost hope he was being bribed and that its not just a case of stupidity.class action law suit?[/quote]

    • 9thandwillow says:

      I am all for class action. Any idea on good lawyers?
      [quote comment=”218121″]Rest assured, Monthly’s are not alone in misery. My girlfriend and I (not monthly’s)came the day of the storm to park our cars and just like everyone else I asked…”So my car stays on this level then right?” …the attendant assured me all is great and life is wonderful…he actually laughed a little like i asked something so absurd that he wouldn’t DREAM of taking cars downstairs. The door that leads to the basement wasn’t even open so imagined they had shut that so no one would just pull down there.Long story short…we come to retrieve our cars a couple of days later when the water subsided from our street and we could walk. END RESULT: My Audi is now a wet steaming pile of sh*t My girlfriends car LUCKILY was left upstairs Luck of the draw. Personal note; What is probably most depressing is that i just made my last payment last month and JUST recieved the title in the mail. WTF kinda game is this.A COUPLE OF CONCERNS: No one appears to be moving cars and I dont know how they are going to get a tow truck to pull them out. The insurance and tow company told me there is nothing to do until they get the other cars out as mine is jammed towards the back…I was personally told by the one attendant that the owner/boss (whomever) personally came in and started taking daily rentals and shuffling cars downstairs. For the sake of humanity i almost hope he was being bribed and that its not just a case of stupidity.class action law suit?[/quote]

      • sr47567 says:

        Hello,
        This response from Mr. Weiss is full of issues. Here’s how I broke it down.

        Claim 1: The weather forecasts were not too helpful. They forecast how strong Sandy was going to be and how much damage it would cause, but they never, except after we experienced the enormous flooding that hit us, that Hoboken would be so severely clobbered by the storm.”

        Response 1: Hoboken residents on the ground floor or in basement levels were under mandatory evacuation. This was a public announcement. Regardless of the damage predicted by the storm or the multiple weather sources that may have been used, it still stands that Hoboken had a mandatory evacuation for all residents at the basement level, and ground level. Meaning, that both ground floor and basement level areas needed to be emptied of people. The logical extension of this city order is that damage was expected to happen at those levels throughout the city.

        ————————————————————–

        Claim 2: I am not sure how much any of us could have done had we been forewarned, but perhaps some steps might have been taken to lessen some of the damage.

        Response 2: Hindsight is 20/20, but standard flooding precautions were not taken. Sand bags would have been one.

        ————————————————————–

        Claim 3: As the operator of two garages, one on Marshall Street and one on Jefferson Street, we along with about 100 of our customers were the victims of an Act of God.

        Response 3: This isn’t in dispute.

        ————————————————————–

        Claim 4: On Sunday [Ed – 10/28/12], the day before we were struck, we were inundated with cars seeking to get off the streets.

        Response 4: Why was the garage “inundated with cars seeking to get off the streets”? People were attempting to park at Sylvan were looking to get their cars above ground level, i.e. off the streets. That is clear given Response 1 and the Sylvan press release. If presented with an option to park their cars underground, these people would have said “no” and have gone elsewhere. This conclusion can be made since most people would have had the option to keep their cars on the street through the use of parking permits or whatever options they had previously. So people were trying to park at Sylvan to get their cars above ground level, and certainly above the lower level. Sylvan knowingly offered spaces at the higher levels since offering spaces in the lower level would not have worked. The question becomes, why did Sylvan offer those spaces? Was it for profit? Or for the public good?

        ————————————————————–

        Claim 5: We took as many cars in as the garages would hold,

        Response 5: So they were at capacity, or even above capacity.

        ————————————————————–

        Claim 6: …believing that we were doing a public service; not as some people have implied, with profit as our motive.

        Response 6: If Claim 1 is to be believed, then Sylvan truly thought that cars would have been safe in the lower level. That means they should have given the influx of people notice that these cars may be parked downstairs and that those cars would have been safe. This can’t be true given Claim 4. And this would have to be true if the “public service” claim is to be believed.

        Each level can only hold a certain amount of cars. That is pretty basic. In order to take “as many cars in as the garages would hold” and commit to parking new cars (people that aren’t monthly or regular daily parkers), in levels 2 and above, Sylvan would have needed to move the cars that were there to the lower level. The only reason to move cars would be to take “as many cars in as the garages would hold”. So were cars knowingly moved from the upper levels to the lower levels after they had been parked and were out of harm’s way? Yes, they were. I have a picture of the log that Sylvan uses to keep track of car locations. The automated time stamp is from 10/29/12 at 1:00am. This was the latest tracking log. My car is being shown as being parked on level 2, but somehow was moved to level 1 where it was totaled by the flood. Why was it moved? It wasn’t because of “public service”. A reasonable conclusion would be to maximize revenue. I tried to attach the picture to this post, but couldn’t figure out how. If someone else knows how to do that I can send them the image. It shows at least a dozen cars that were on upper levels that were moved to lower levels.

        ————————————————————–

        Claim 7: We are a company that has been in business for over 50 years and have a sterling reputation. Unlike some gas stations we would never think of gouging anyone. The additional cars have caused us; not to make any money, but have resulted in substantial losses.

        In our garage on Marshall Street we had our entire revenue control system destroyed, which will cost us well over $100,000 to replace. We also will require many additional employees to operate the garage as a valet rather then a self-parking operation. That is very costly.

        Response 7: Yep. Greed isn’t always good.

        [quote comment=”218206″]I am all for class action. Any idea on good lawyers?[/quote]

      • 9thandwillow says:

        Would you know where the announcement was from the Mayor regarding the evacuation of lower levels? [quote comment=”218209″]Hello, This response from Mr. Weiss is full of issues. Here’s how I broke it down.Claim 1: The weather forecasts were not too helpful. They forecast how strong Sandy was going to be and how much damage it would cause, but they never, except after we experienced the enormous flooding that hit us, that Hoboken would be so severely clobbered by the storm.”Response 1: Hoboken residents on the ground floor or in basement levels were under mandatory evacuation. This was a public announcement. Regardless of the damage predicted by the storm or the multiple weather sources that may have been used, it still stands that Hoboken had a mandatory evacuation for all residents at the basement level, and ground level. Meaning, that both ground floor and basement level areas needed to be emptied of people. The logical extension of this city order is that damage was expected to happen at those levels throughout the city.————————————————————–Claim 2: I am not sure how much any of us could have done had we been forewarned, but perhaps some steps might have been taken to lessen some of the damage.Response 2: Hindsight is 20/20, but standard flooding precautions were not taken. Sand bags would have been one.————————————————————–Claim 3: As the operator of two garages, one on Marshall Street and one on Jefferson Street, we along with about 100 of our customers were the victims of an Act of God.Response 3: This isn’t in dispute.————————————————————–Claim 4: On Sunday [Ed – 10/28/12], the day before we were struck, we were inundated with cars seeking to get off the streets.Response 4: Why was the garage “inundated with cars seeking to get off the streets”? People were attempting to park at Sylvan were looking to get their cars above ground level, i.e. off the streets. That is clear given Response 1 and the Sylvan press release. If presented with an option to park their cars underground, these people would have said “no” and have gone elsewhere. This conclusion can be made since most people would have had the option to keep their cars on the street through the use of parking permits or whatever options they had previously. So people were trying to park at Sylvan to get their cars above ground level, and certainly above the lower level. Sylvan knowingly offered spaces at the higher levels since offering spaces in the lower level would not have worked. The question becomes, why did Sylvan offer those spaces? Was it for profit? Or for the public good?————————————————————–Claim 5: We took as many cars in as the garages would hold,Response 5: So they were at capacity, or even above capacity.————————————————————–Claim 6: …believing that we were doing a public service; not as some people have implied, with profit as our motive.Response 6: If Claim 1 is to be believed, then Sylvan truly thought that cars would have been safe in the lower level. That means they should have given the influx of people notice that these cars may be parked downstairs and that those cars would have been safe. This can’t be true given Claim 4. And this would have to be true if the “public service” claim is to be believed.Each level can only hold a certain amount of cars. That is pretty basic. In order to take “as many cars in as the garages would hold” and commit to parking new cars (people that aren’t monthly or regular daily parkers), in levels 2 and above, Sylvan would have needed to move the cars that were there to the lower level. The only reason to move cars would be to take “as many cars in as the garages would hold”. So were cars knowingly moved from the upper levels to the lower levels after they had been parked and were out of harm’s way? Yes, they were. I have a picture of the log that Sylvan uses to keep track of car locations. The automated time stamp is from 10/29/12 at 1:00am. This was the latest tracking log. My car is being shown as being parked on level 2, but somehow was moved to level 1 where it was totaled by the flood. Why was it moved? It wasn’t because of “public service”. A reasonable conclusion would be to maximize revenue. I tried to attach the picture to this post, but couldn’t figure out how. If someone else knows how to do that I can send them the image. It shows at least a dozen cars that were on upper levels that were moved to lower levels.————————————————————–Claim 7: We are a company that has been in business for over 50 years and have a sterling reputation. Unlike some gas stations we would never think of gouging anyone. The additional cars have caused us; not to make any money, but have resulted in substantial losses.In our garage on Marshall Street we had our entire revenue control system destroyed, which will cost us well over $100,000 to replace. We also will require many additional employees to operate the garage as a valet rather then a self-parking operation. That is very costly.Response 7: Yep. Greed isn’t always good.[/quote]

      • EBSC1234 says:

        I too am a monthly parker whose car was upstairs, as late as Sunday night, but was moved at some point Monday to the bottom garage. I will not get into the details of my story as i is the same as many people on this site, but I think the owners comments are insulting. The owner cannot admit that his garage, out of their own greed, took in extra cars, while moving monthly parkers and daily parkers they previously took in to the bottom. If not all monthly cars could fit upstairs, then not 1 single daily parker sould have been accepted.

        I have pictures of non monthly parking cars, whose vehicles were upstairs, which hopefully we can use to further our case.

        I do believe that a group of us should look into a collective action that we can take. The super of the building, Johnny, stated that the garage was instructed to provide a list of all monthly parkers to each impacted of those who were on the bottom level of the garage.

        If possible, please email me the picture of the log that you have.

        If anyone else has already started on a collective action or has had conversation with others impacted, please email me as well.

        My email is EBSC1234@gmail.com. [quote comment=”218209″]Hello,This response from Mr. Weiss is full of issues. Here’s how I broke it down.Claim 1: The weather forecasts were not too helpful. They forecast how strong Sandy was going to be and how much damage it would cause, but they never, except after we experienced the enormous flooding that hit us, that Hoboken would be so severely clobbered by the storm.”Response 1: Hoboken residents on the ground floor or in basement levels were under mandatory evacuation. This was a public announcement. Regardless of the damage predicted by the storm or the multiple weather sources that may have been used, it still stands that Hoboken had a mandatory evacuation for all residents at the basement level, and ground level. Meaning, that both ground floor and basement level areas needed to be emptied of people. The logical extension of this city order is that damage was expected to happen at those levels throughout the city.————————————————————–Claim 2: I am not sure how much any of us could have done had we been forewarned, but perhaps some steps might have been taken to lessen some of the damage.Response 2: Hindsight is 20/20, but standard flooding precautions were not taken. Sand bags would have been one.————————————————————–Claim 3: As the operator of two garages, one on Marshall Street and one on Jefferson Street, we along with about 100 of our customers were the victims of an Act of God.Response 3: This isn’t in dispute.————————————————————–Claim 4: On Sunday [Ed – 10/28/12], the day before we were struck, we were inundated with cars seeking to get off the streets.Response 4: Why was the garage “inundated with cars seeking to get off the streets”? People were attempting to park at Sylvan were looking to get their cars above ground level, i.e. off the streets. That is clear given Response 1 and the Sylvan press release. If presented with an option to park their cars underground, these people would have said “no” and have gone elsewhere. This conclusion can be made since most people would have had the option to keep their cars on the street through the use of parking permits or whatever options they had previously. So people were trying to park at Sylvan to get their cars above ground level, and certainly above the lower level. Sylvan knowingly offered spaces at the higher levels since offering spaces in the lower level would not have worked. The question becomes, why did Sylvan offer those spaces? Was it for profit? Or for the public good?————————————————————–Claim 5: We took as many cars in as the garages would hold,Response 5: So they were at capacity, or even above capacity.————————————————————–Claim 6: …believing that we were doing a public service; not as some people have implied, with profit as our motive.Response 6: If Claim 1 is to be believed, then Sylvan truly thought that cars would have been safe in the lower level. That means they should have given the influx of people notice that these cars may be parked downstairs and that those cars would have been safe. This can’t be true given Claim 4. And this would have to be true if the “public service” claim is to be believed.Each level can only hold a certain amount of cars. That is pretty basic. In order to take “as many cars in as the garages would hold” and commit to parking new cars (people that aren’t monthly or regular daily parkers), in levels 2 and above, Sylvan would have needed to move the cars that were there to the lower level. The only reason to move cars would be to take “as many cars in as the garages would hold”. So were cars knowingly moved from the upper levels to the lower levels after they had been parked and were out of harm’s way? Yes, they were. I have a picture of the log that Sylvan uses to keep track of car locations. The automated time stamp is from 10/29/12 at 1:00am. This was the latest tracking log. My car is being shown as being parked on level 2, but somehow was moved to level 1 where it was totaled by the flood. Why was it moved? It wasn’t because of “public service”. A reasonable conclusion would be to maximize revenue. I tried to attach the picture to this post, but couldn’t figure out how. If someone else knows how to do that I can send them the image. It shows at least a dozen cars that were on upper levels that were moved to lower levels.————————————————————–Claim 7: We are a company that has been in business for over 50 years and have a sterling reputation. Unlike some gas stations we would never think of gouging anyone. The additional cars have caused us; not to make any money, but have resulted in substantial losses.In our garage on Marshall Street we had our entire revenue control system destroyed, which will cost us well over $100,000 to replace. We also will require many additional employees to operate the garage as a valet rather then a self-parking operation. That is very costly.Response 7: Yep. Greed isn’t always good.[/quote]

      • hobokenhound says:

        The owner’s note is a crock. Maybe they should invest that $100k in client relations training some brand management with a PR agency. What an avoidable and preventable mess. I say group action…

        They should have done what they told many of us that they were going to do. Yes, the logical thing. Namely, if things look bad, that they would move all of the cars on the lower level up to the upper level and stop taking in new cars. That’s it.

        After the fact, a phone call from management to say: “Hi there, sorry that your car got totaled, we tried our best to keep everyone’s safe. The storm was worse than we ever predicted. How about a month or two free?” Instead, “How quickly can you get your car towed out?” Nice.

        [quote comment=”218244″]I too am a monthly parker whose car was upstairs, as late as Sunday night, but was moved at some point Monday to the bottom garage. I will not get into the details of my story as i is the same as many people on this site, but I think the owners comments are insulting. The owner cannot admit that his garage, out of their own greed, took in extra cars, while moving monthly parkers and daily parkers they previously took in to the bottom. If not all monthly cars could fit upstairs, then not 1 single daily parker sould have been accepted.I have pictures of non monthly parking cars, whose vehicles were upstairs, which hopefully we can use to further our case.I do believe that a group of us should look into a collective action that we can take. The super of the building, Johnny, stated that the garage was instructed to provide a list of all monthly parkers to each impacted of those who were on the bottom level of the garage.If possible, please email me the picture of the log that you have.If anyone else has already started on a collective action or has had conversation with others impacted, please email me as well.My email is .[/quote]

      • kdarling says:

        I am a monthly customer and my car was also ruined. Please e-mail me as well if you have received any information on a collective action which can be taken. My e-mail address if kristadarling51@hotmai.com
        Thanks![quote comment=”218280″]The owner’s note is a crock. Maybe they should invest that $100k in client relations training some brand management with a PR agency. What an avoidable and preventable mess. I say group action…They should have done what they told many of us that they were going to do. Yes, the logical thing. Namely, if things look bad, that they would move all of the cars on the lower level up to the upper level and stop taking in new cars. That’s it.After the fact, a phone call from management to say: “Hi there, sorry that your car got totaled, we tried our best to keep everyone’s safe. The storm was worse than we ever predicted. How about a month or two free?” Instead, “How quickly can you get your car towed out?” Nice.[/quote]
        [quote comment=”218280″]The owner’s note is a crock. Maybe they should invest that $100k in client relations training some brand management with a PR agency. What an avoidable and preventable mess. I say group action…They should have done what they told many of us that they were going to do. Yes, the logical thing. Namely, if things look bad, that they would move all of the cars on the lower level up to the upper level and stop taking in new cars. That’s it.After the fact, a phone call from management to say: “Hi there, sorry that your car got totaled, we tried our best to keep everyone’s safe. The storm was worse than we ever predicted. How about a month or two free?” Instead, “How quickly can you get your car towed out?” Nice.[/quote]

      • kdarling says:

        I am a monthly customer and my car was also ruined. Please e-mail me as well if you have received any information on a collective action which can be taken. My e-mail address if kristadarling51@hotmai.com
        Thanks![quote comment=”218280″]The owner’s note is a crock. Maybe they should invest that $100k in client relations training some brand management with a PR agency. What an avoidable and preventable mess. I say group action…They should have done what they told many of us that they were going to do. Yes, the logical thing. Namely, if things look bad, that they would move all of the cars on the lower level up to the upper level and stop taking in new cars. That’s it.After the fact, a phone call from management to say: “Hi there, sorry that your car got totaled, we tried our best to keep everyone’s safe. The storm was worse than we ever predicted. How about a month or two free?” Instead, “How quickly can you get your car towed out?” Nice.[/quote]

      • agupta1 says:

        Same thing happened to us. Monthly owners and car moved downstairs. So angry. Yes, we did get retail value for the car from our insurance but ended up having to buy a new car which cost us an extra 10K and also the hassle of car shopping/dealing with car insurance. I know this is a natural disaster but there is true negligence here and there should be some kind of class action lawsuit. [quote comment=”218542″]I am a monthly customer and my car was also ruined. Please e-mail me as well if you have received any information on a collective action which can be taken. My e-mail address if Thanks![/quote]

      • 9thandwillow says:

        EBSC1234 I sent you a mail yesterday. Researching with a lawyer.[quote comment=”218244″]I too am a monthly parker whose car was upstairs, as late as Sunday night, but was moved at some point Monday to the bottom garage. I will not get into the details of my story as i is the same as many people on this site, but I think the owners comments are insulting. The owner cannot admit that his garage, out of their own greed, took in extra cars, while moving monthly parkers and daily parkers they previously took in to the bottom. If not all monthly cars could fit upstairs, then not 1 single daily parker sould have been accepted.I have pictures of non monthly parking cars, whose vehicles were upstairs, which hopefully we can use to further our case.I do believe that a group of us should look into a collective action that we can take. The super of the building, Johnny, stated that the garage was instructed to provide a list of all monthly parkers to each impacted of those who were on the bottom level of the garage.If possible, please email me the picture of the log that you have.If anyone else has already started on a collective action or has had conversation with others impacted, please email me as well.My email is .[/quote]

      • agupta1 says:

        Hi 9thandwillow. I would be interested in researching a lawyer with you. Email me if you’re interested agupta1md@gmail.com

        Thanks[quote comment=”218316″]EBSC1234 I sent you a mail yesterday. Researching with a lawyer.[/quote]

  14. sh1zy says:

    What an obtuse press release. Zimmer ordered basement-level tenants to evacuate for a reason, and the idea that they thought cars in the basement would be safe is nonsense. What’s more, they generally packed the basement with SUVs for a reason–they were expecting flooding and thought they would better be able to handle.

    • homeworld says:

      There’s another major storm on the horizon for Thanksgiving weekend. I guess they’ll be moving cars down into the basement again for that storm, too, [quote comment=”218189″]What an obtuse press release. Zimmer ordered basement-level tenants to evacuate for a reason, and the idea that they thought cars in the basement would be safe is nonsense. What’s more, they generally packed the basement with SUVs for a reason–they were expecting flooding and thought they would better be able to handle.[/quote]

  15. homeworld says:

    How can he say this wasn’t forecast? The city said to remove all cars from the streets because they would be flooded and totaled. Weather forecasts were predicting the storm a week advance.

    For instance, this was on accuweather over 4 days before the flood happened:

    accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/lundberg/evidence-mounti/661185

    “1) Storm surge. Putting numbers to it, we may be looking at a 5- to 10-foot surge near and to the northeast of the landfall point. Remember, the full moon is Monday, so the tides are already going to be abnormally high, so that only increases the height of high tides.

    1a) Coastal destruction. This includes many things in combination with the storm surge, the pounding waves and the high winds. This could literally rearrange the coastline, cutting new channels that previously never existed, and severely damaging homes, businesses and infrastructure.”

    How can they said the storm wasn’t predicted.

  16. DanieP says:

    I am also a monthly permit holder at this garage and my car was totaled. I was heartbroken and beyond pissed off when I wet looking for my car on the Wednesday after the hurricane to learn it had been out in the basement.

    I am familiar with the flooding in this area and witnessed the streets surrounding the garage after Irene. I spoke to two attendants on Saturday night when I was picking up my car and I was assured my car would be kept on the upper level. I asked them what steps they were taking in preparation of the storm and if my car would be safe. They said there is an area of the garage that tends to flood, but they would be keeping the SUVs in that area. Since I have a car, I’d be left on the upper level. After leaving the garage, I turned to my boyfriend who witnessed the conversation and said, “glad I don’t have an SUV.” Never expecting the storm to be what it was, I still expected the flooding to be enough to damage any vehicle.

    I brought my car back to the garage at 5pm on Sunday. The place already had a sign outside that said “monthly only”, yet people were pulling in, asking if there was room or saying they had called ahead and were told they can bring the car in. I left my car with the attendant that was one of the two on duty Saturday night when i spoke with them about the storm.

    I could not even believe my car was in the basement when I walked into the garage that Wednesday. I spoke with the owner that day and he could care less that all these cars were ruined be size of the negligence of his garage and employees. He claims absolutely no responsibility for this. He told me, “call my insurance company, start a claim and tell them they are going to have to figure out how to get your car out. There are cars packed on top of one another down there and they may be blocked in.” I asked if he is offering assistance in getting the cars out and he responded, “No, none of those cars start. They are all totaled, we can’t move them. Tell your insurance company to figure it out.” As far as I’m concerned, their negligence is the reason I am in this situation and they should be at fault to some extent.

    I also saw the super the other day and he said there were over 150 cars damaged in the basement of the garage. Absolutely horrible considering much of this could have been a life’s would people have been honest with us.

  17. joe22 says:

    Have been a monthly customer at the 1st St Sylvan garage for years unfortunately.

    I understand the frustration of Sylvan customers. As a general statement, this is the greediest garage operation in existence. The amount of spots they pack in to the 1st Street deck is absurd and certainly a hazard to getting dents all over your car. The amount of cars in the 1st St lot during Sandy was equally absurd.

    The public service argument is quite laughable given on Hoboken St. Paddy’s day they pull the same tricks by filling the lots to the point where cars are almost on top of each other.

    Furthermore, does the garage owner mention that the day after the storm they sent out “urgent” notices to monthly residents telling them to pay their monthly bill via money order or check because their credit card machine was down due to the storm. Sure, let me just swim through the sewage lagoon on first street to obtain a money order (plenty of stores open…) and then mail out a money order for Sylvan to receive their monthly payment on time (b/c they can’t wait a week to bill people’s credit cards ). Clearly they are oblivious to what was going on in hoboken during and the week following the hurricane.

    Unfortunately, the garage behaved as everyone expected them to behave in a difficult time.

    • willow says:

      I have to say I pay monthly and I did not get a notice to pay by money order or any other method. I paid on the 9th by credit card. They always give to the 10th to pay. After that it is 25 dollar surcharge. Just saying because they are in the wrong about a lot of things but this was not one. or at least they did not send it to all.

      I do feel for the manager and Roberto the rest of the crew can rot as far as i am concerned. One of the employees drives the cars like a maniac. I actually saw him one night back the car down jefferson and around to go the back way on Madison with no lights on. He almost hit my car and the guy driving behind me. If i had another option I would take it but all the garages are full and I have been on the waiting list for what seems like years.[quote comment=”218207″]Have been a monthly customer at the 1st St Sylvan garage for years unfortunately.I understand the frustration of Sylvan customers. As a general statement, this is the greediest garage operation in existence. The amount of spots they pack in to the 1st Street deck is absurd and certainly a hazard to getting dents all over your car. The amount of cars in the 1st St lot during Sandy was equally absurd.The public service argument is quite laughable given on Hoboken St. Paddy’s day they pull the same tricks by filling the lots to the point where cars are almost on top of each other.Furthermore, does the garage owner mention that the day after the storm they sent out “urgent” notices to monthly residents telling them to pay their monthly bill via money order or check because their credit card machine was down due to the storm. Sure, let me just swim through the sewage lagoon on first street to obtain a money order (plenty of stores open…) and then mail out a money order for Sylvan to receive their monthly payment on time (b/c they can’t wait a week to bill people’s credit cards ). Clearly they are oblivious to what was going on in hoboken during and the week following the hurricane.Unfortunately, the garage behaved as everyone expected them to behave in a difficult time.[/quote]

  18. hobokenguy2001 says:

    WOW…I thought I have heard it all…these guys are trying to claim they did this for the good of the public?? Common now… are they serious??? They put over 100 cars into a basement that floods after the Mayor declared a mandatory evacuation for all first floor and basement apartments.
    First off…for those of you who are new to Hoboken – these guys are and have been the biggest crooks in the parking industry for years. Fact is… the ONLY way your car was getting parked on the top floor was to pay the parking attendant. I know this for a fact. I did it. For all of you who lost your cars I am very sorry. I hope you stick it to these guys anyway you can. At the very least – report them to every bureau and news program in the area that tries to put crooks like this out of business.

  19. Stabone130 says:

    I went to this garage on 9th & Jefferson and was told he’d “take care of my car if you take care of me.” So I parked at the garage down on Harrison/Jackson + 2nd. Fortunately, I found a spot in front of an elevator bank and took my keys with me. Seemed like the only way to keep your car safe was to not give your keys to the attendant bc they were shuffling cars down to the basements + ground floors.

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