May 7, 2024

NYC breaks ground on $200M project to rebuild and elevate The Battery

New York City officials this week broke ground on an ambitious project to defend Lower Manhattan from climate change. Mayor Eric Adams on Monday announced the start of work on the city-funded Battery Coastal Resilience Project, a $200 million plan to rebuild and raise the wharf promenade in The Battery, part of a larger effort to protect Lower Manhattan from sea level rise and storm surge. Slated for completion in 2026, the project will protect 100,000 residents, 300,000 jobs, and 12,000 businesses in the area, according to the city.
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January 17, 2024

City launches initiative to ‘rainproof’ NYC

State and city agencies, nonprofits, and community leaders will join forces to develop ideas aimed at dealing with New York City's heavy rainfall problem. The Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice on Tuesday launched "Rainproof NYC," a collaborative initiative to come up with policies and programs addressing the high frequency of heavy rainfall due to climate change. The initiative will complement ongoing Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) projects that are underway across the state, including sewer upgrades, green infrastructure, cloudburst projects, and Bluebelts.
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September 29, 2023

Major flooding disrupts NYC subway service as Hochul and Adams declare state of emergency

Nearly every subway line is experiencing service disruptions on Friday morning as extreme rainfall and flooding slam New York City. In a post on X, formerly called Twitter, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said "there is only extremely limited subway service," with several lines suspended or partially suspended due to water on the tracks. In response to the heavy rainfall and extreme flooding, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency for New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island.
September 1, 2022

NYC Comptroller proposes framework to legalize basement apartments

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida, Comptroller Brad Lander on Tuesday released a new report that lays the groundwork for legalizing New York City's basement apartments. On September 1, 2021, the hurricane hit the city with record rainfall and historic flooding that ultimately killed more than a dozen New Yorkers, a majority of whom lived in basement units, many of them unregulated. Modeled after New York's Loft Law, Lander's proposed "Basement Resident Protection Law" temporarily legalizes existing basement apartments, requires owners to provide basic safety measures, like smoke detectors and backflow preventers, and creates a "Basement Board" to oversee rights.
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July 12, 2022

Flood zone maps & inflatable dams: NYC’s plan to prepare New Yorkers for extreme rainfall

Almost a year after severe flooding caused by Hurricane Ida left more than a dozen New Yorkers dead, the city has released a plan to prepare for extreme rainfall. With hurricane season well underway, Mayor Eric Adams last week unveiled the new action plan "Rainfall Ready NYC," which outlines steps New Yorkers should take during extreme rainfall. The city also updated its flood zone maps that help residents identify if they live in an area at risk of flooding.
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May 5, 2022

Blue lamp posts in Battery Park City illustrate height of potential flooding from next severe storm

A new project along Battery Park City's waterfront illustrates the alarming implications of climate change and the urgent need to protect the city's coastlines. The Battery Park City Authority (BCPA) painted 11 light poles situated along the length of the esplanade to indicate the levels water could rise to during a storm surge in a future severe weather event. The blue paint on the poles ranges in height from 18 to 23.5 feet above sea level, and informative banners have been installed to keep visitors educated and engaged.
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September 7, 2021

Here’s how New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Ida can get help

President Joe Biden on Monday approved a major disaster declaration for New York, making federal funding available to residents and businesses in counties affected by flooding last week caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. According to an early estimate from state officials, Ida caused $50 million in damage to public property and to more than 1,200 residences. In addition to the financial relief provided by FEMA, there are several resources available to New Yorkers who need help in the aftermath of the storm, including temporary shelter, food and basic needs, and cash assistance.
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September 3, 2021

What you need to know about NYC’s basement apartments

This week, Hurricane Ida brought record rainfall and historic flash flooding to New York City, which ultimately led to the deaths of at least 13 New Yorkers. A majority of the people killed lived in basement apartments, where water was able to get in and block the only way out. These "hidden" units have always been prevalent in New York City, which is home to roughly 50,000 basement apartments, although that number is likely much higher as many of them are considered illegal. The tragic events of this last week have renewed calls from advocacy groups and elected officials to legalize basement apartments to make them safe for the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who live in them. Ahead, learn about the difference between a legal and illegal basement apartment, what can be done to protect tenants, and what the future holds for these homes, seen as a critical component of the city's insufficient affordable housing stock.
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September 2, 2021

Hurricane Ida brings historic flash flooding across NYC, second record rainfall in 10 days

Less than two weeks ago, New York City experienced the most rainfall ever recorded in a single hour with 1.94 inches documented in Central Park on August 21. That record was smashed on Wednesday night when the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the region, bringing 3.15 inches of rain to the park between around 8:50 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. The historic rainfall caused a flash flood emergency to be issued in the city for the first time ever, brought the subway system to a standstill, and ultimately left at least 12 New Yorkers dead.
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January 21, 2020

In debate over $119B sea wall to protect NYC from superstorms, Trump says ‘get your mops’

A barrier wall proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers as one of several options being evaluated to shield the New York area from rare storms–which may well become less rare and more destructive with global warming–is the subject of a heated debate among planners and environmental experts. Supporters suggest that a barrier be constructed in the outer New York Harbor where it's mostly hidden from view, saying it would go the farthest in protecting people, land and valuable landmarks along the waterfront from a storm surge. Others fear the idea is a short-sighted measure that doesn't address major climate threats–and could even worsen matters by trapping sewage and toxins during flooding from high tides and storm runoff. President Donald Trump, however, remains the sole proponent of the mop-and-bucket approach, as the New York Daily News reports.
What will save us from a tweetstorm?
March 14, 2019

De Blasio unveils $10B plan to flood-proof Lower Manhattan by extending shoreline into the East River

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled on Thursday a $10 billion plan to extend the coastline of Lower Manhattan as much as 500 feet to protect from future floods. The Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project is the result of a study that looked at ways to build resilience in low-lying neighborhoods like the Financial District and South Street Seaport. The study found the only feasible measure for these areas would be extending the shoreline about two city blocks into the East River by adding a new piece of land at or above 20 feet from current sea level.
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July 9, 2018

Army Corps proposes constructing hurricane barriers across the NY Harbor to stop flooding

Via US Army Corps In response to intensifying hurricanes that have hit the New York and New Jersey coastal region in recent years, the U.S. Army Corps is proposing a handful of measures to reduce the risk of storm damage. The proposals include constructing barriers, either in-water or land-based, and floodwalls that would stretch over 2,000 square miles across New York Habor to protect the area's waterfront neighborhoods. The barriers, already being used in cities like Stamford, Conn. and London, would have gates that remain open to let ships pass, but close when a hurricane is advancing (h/t WNYC). After completing a study that looked at nine high-risk areas, including 25 counties in NY and NJ, on the Atlantic Coast, the Corps this month will present the proposals at public information sessions across the two states.
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February 13, 2018

New York City’s subway system has a water problem- a 13 million gallon one

The subway's crippling, century-old infrastructure is not the only reason behind the system's constant delays and disruptions. The other problem involves about 13 million gallons of water, or more depending on the rainfall, that gets pumped out from underground on a nearly daily basis. A perpetual hazard, water can drip onto electrified equipment, cause a short and create chaos, as the New York Times reported. After ineffectively using only sandbags and plywood to fight flooding in the past, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has turned to more high-tech solutions, like flood-proof doors and inflatable gaskets, which will be a part of its $800 million emergency action plan to fix the subway.
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October 24, 2017

Study: New York City could get hit with a flood every five years instead of every 500

With the October 29th anniversary of superstorm Sandy approaching and storms leaving the world's coastlines waterlogged, 6sqft recently covered a new report predicting rising sea levels and a growing flood risk. Now a new study, published Monday, found that New York is almost halfway through a 500-year span of rising seas that began in 1800–and the worst is yet to come. But according to the Washington Post, this increased likelihood of flooding has a silver lining.
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