A Howard Beach home after Hurricane Sandy, photo courtesy of Pamela Andrade’s Flickr
For the first time since 1983, the Federal Emergency Mangement Agency is redrawing New York’s flood maps, taking into account the consequences of climate change like rising sea levels and stronger storms. With hundreds of miles of coastline and a growing number of developments sprouting along its waterfront, New York has more residents living in high-risk flood zones than any other city in the United States, according to the New York Times. FEMA’s new map, while still years away from completion, could have a profound effect on the city’s future developments and zoning regulations. It could place more residents and buildings in high-risk flood zones, requiring pricey flood insurance as well as tougher building codes and restrictions on new developments.
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Photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr
On Friday, the MTA unveiled custom doors designed to protect the city’s subway system from future floods. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy crippled Lower Manhattan, as well as most other parts of the city, with a 13-foot surge of water. Now, five years later, the MTA is installing custom-made, marine doors, equipped with inflatable gaskets to seal out water to be installed at the bottom of the subway’s stairwell (h/t WSJ). In addition to these doors, other stations will get metal hatch doors below street subway grates, fabric curtains to block flowing water and a system of interlocking stop logs at the entrance of some stations.
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6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Orestes Gonzalez shares his series “Dark Sandy,” photos he took five years ago when lower Manhattan lost power during Hurricane Sandy. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
“Never had I seen Manhattan in such darkness… I had to get over there and experience this dark phenomenon with my camera,” says Orestes Gonzalez of his series of photographs taken the night Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. As we now approach the fifth anniversary of the Superstorm, the photos are a reminder of how far we’ve come, and in some cases, how much work still needs to be done. In fact, 20% of the 12,713 families who enrolled in the city’s Build it Back program are still waiting for construction to wrap up or for a property buyout. But despite some of the post-storm issues, in the wake of the disaster, Orestes remembers the “sense of camaraderie” he experienced during those dark times, a trait that New Yorkers have come to be known for.
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Flooded Battery Park Tunnel after Hurricane Sandy. Image: Timothy Krause via Flickr.
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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Density of population and infrastructure in the projected 2050 floodplain. Image: RPA.
Hurricane season is impossible to ignore, and as the October 29th anniversary date of Superstorm Sandy approaches, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has released a report titled “Coastal Adaptation: A Framework for Governance and Funding to Address Climate Change” that warns of the imminent threat of rising sea levels and outlines a strategy to protect the many vulnerable stretches of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. According to the report, 59 percent of the region’s energy capacity, four major airports, 21 percent of public housing units, and 12 percent of hospital beds will be in areas at risk of flooding over the next 30 years. RPA research found that even in light of these projections, the region’s climate change planning tends to be reactive and local rather than pro-active and regional–and it’s not nearly enough.
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Flooding during Hurricane Sandy left many residents of Red Hook without basic services for weeks. While many had hoped the city’s $100 million initiative would help protect the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood from a 100-year flood event, a new feasibility study shows the plan would actually only protect it from a 10-year flood event. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the city plans on scaling back the flood-protection system in Red Hook because of its high costs, and the study revealed a larger project could cost about $300 to $500 million more.
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Rendering via Governor Cuomo’s office
Governor Cuomo announced a $151 million plan on Tuesday to build an elevated promenade to improve the resiliency of Staten Island’s east shores during natural disasters. The seawall will stretch from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach to protect residents from coastal flooding, while simultaneously creating new wetland habitats and recreational amenities. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a series of community-based design forums, allowing for Staten Island residents to offer direct input into the project’s final design, which will be complete in the winter of 2018, with construction expected to begin in 2019 and a completion date of 2022.
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When Superstorm Sandy hit the community of Red Hook, thousands of residents were left without power and basic necessities for over two weeks. The neighborhood’s infrastructure suffered substantial damage, with almost all basement mechanical rooms destroyed. In an effort to rebuild Brooklyn’s largest housing development, Red Hook Houses, post-Sandy, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) commissioned a project by architecture firm Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF). Their “Lily Pad” design includes installing 14 “utility pods” that deliver heat and electricity to each building, as well as creating raised earth mounds to act as a flood barrier (h/t Archpaper).
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Hurricane Sandy damage in Breezy Point, Queens
With the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaching, many New Yorkers are still reeling from its devastation; in fact, the city recently allocated another $500 million in taxpayer money for repairs due to storm damage. And though this seems grim, a new study from a group of researchers at Princeton and Rutgers universities and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is even more troubling. Based on a storm-related computer simulation of flooding, “Hurricane Sandy’s Flood Frequency Increasing From Year 1800 to 2100” predicts that in a worse-case scenario, by the year 2100, such powerful storms will occur every 20 years, an increase of 17 times the current state, reports Phys.org.
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The South Street Seaport Museum may not be one of New York City’s glitziest institutions, but it’s certainly one of the most resilient and perhaps the one most closely tied to the founding of the city itself. Using actual historic buildings and ships to provide interactive exhibits and educational programs, the museum tells the story of New York’s rise as a port city and how that led to the development of the entire country. But the seaport location became all too real in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the entire historic district, leaving the museum with $20 million in damages and the loss of its institutional partner, the Museum of the City of New York.
Now, three years later, the South Street Seaport Museum is sailing into new territory, thanks in large part to its recently appointed executive director Captain Jonathan Boulware, a lifelong sailor, marine educator, expert in historic ships, and all-around lover of maritime history and culture. In August, Boulware and his team landed a $10.4 million FEMA grant to repair the storm damage, and in May, the museum launched a $10.6 million city-funded project to restore Wavertree, one of the museum’s most significant historic ships. With these exciting developments underway, we caught up with Captain Boulware to learn a bit about his background, what visitors can expect at the museum, and where the institution is heading.
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