NYTimes: City of Water

by Heather Van De Mark on

The NYTimes published a really fantastic essay over the weekend, City of Water by Kevin Baker, that examines the history and future of the City’s waterways in the wake of superstorms, rising tides and overdevelopment. Below are a few excerpts, but you can read the full article here: City of Water. Can New York keep its revived waterfront dry?

Page 1:

“This is just the beginning,” the mayor [Michael Bloomberg] said. “We’re leaving in place the bones, the approvals, the transactions that will now let the marketplace go and build a lot of stuff,” a process he sees lasting for decades.

Page 2:

Manufactured barriers will be relatively small, and selective. Noting that a huge amount of the water damage caused by Sandy came from “backdoor flooding” that swelled up from unprotected channels, rivers and creeks, Mr. Bloomberg wants to place floodgates and tidal barriers at certain strategic locations, like Coney Island Creek or Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens.

Page 3:

“People will forget this ever existed,” Mr. Bloomberg said, referring to the old industrial waterfront. “And it’s good. I mean, why dwell on the past?”

“Nobody should think that if you live by the water that you’re as safe as if you live inland. You’re not! O.K.?” Mr. Bloomberg said. When pressed on what will happen if future storms prove even worse than Sandy, and New Yorkers by the water could no longer afford insurance, the mayor said: “Nature is tough. … Who knows? You’d be self-insured, and you’d gamble. That’s the real world.”

By the city’s own estimates, some 800,000 residents live now on territory, roughly a quarter of the city, that will be on a flood plain by 2050. Yet Mr. Bloomberg has sworn to defend “every inch” of the city and dismissed any alternative strategy as “retreat.”

Page 4:

An attempt to revitalize Coney Island has ended up with nearly $100 million in taxpayers’ money handed over to a developer and rezoning that would allow four high-rise hotels and a bevy of residential towers to be built there.

Read the full article: City of Water

Heather Van De Mark

Heather Van De Mark

Heather is a designer/writer specializing in non-profit organizations and social causes. Originally from central NY, Heather settled into the charming Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011. While most of her community activism takes place from behind a computer screen, Heather can often be found at CB1 meetings, the McCarren Park track and any of the parks along the waterfront.