Pulped fiction: DUMBO’s bookkeeper finds his store under water

Pulped fiction: DUMBO’s bookkeeper finds his store under water
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

Hurricane Sandy is one for the books — and the unprecedented storm went straight for the books, too.

The havoc-wreaking floodwaters inundated DUMBO’s beloved powerHouse Books on Oct 29 due to a storm surge far worse than anything the booksellers imagined.

“We pulled everything inside and up, but it wasn’t enough,” said Daniel Power, the owner of the Main Street store. “We covered up and put hay bales and sand bags and such, but the water went up 28 inches inside the whole store.”

Power estimates that his shop — which specializes in art and photography books and is a hub of readings and events — sustained around $100,000 in damages to its book stock alone, not including the building and equipment, like the store’s computer system, which was damaged.

Workers had prepped the shop before the worst of the storm arrived — propping up most products at least 18–20 inches off the ground. But when the water came in that night, it lifted furniture and displays off the ground.

“It picked up and overturned those cubicles and cabinets that were top heavy with merchandise,” Power said.

As workers mopped the store Tuesday and tried to put its pieces back together, there was not much they could do for soaking wet piles of books like “The Best American Travel Writing 2012” or Daniel Mendelsohn’s collection of essays, “Waiting for the Barbarians.”

Power said his insurance covered him for disasters like fire and he was even the event of a terrorist attack — but he is not covered for floods.

The deluge will delay the opening of his highly anticipated powerHouse outpost in Park Slope, which was slated to open later this week. Also off the table are events scheduled for the DUMBO store, which have been cancelled until further notice.

The rising tides took the DUMBO retail veteran by surprise.

“[It’s] just unfathomable,” Power said.