The furor over New York City’s susceptibility to flooding continues, as a New York Times story outlines concerns from various experts in the field. Though Mayor Bloomberg conducted “exhaustive research” about climate change and the potential havoc rising tides could wreak on the city’s low-lying areas, researchers are arguing that the city isn’t acting with enough urgency, pointing to the city’s somewhat bungled handling of Hurricane Irene last year.
Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, argued that too much attention is being paid to lower Manhattan, and not enough to other waterfront areas such as the South Bronx and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. “You forget that you have real industries on the waterfront,” in these areas, he said. “We’re behind in consciousness-building and disaster planning.”
Another researcher argued that had tides risen just a foot higher during Hurricane Irene, public transportation would have been rendered useless for at least a month, and that the FDR Drive would have been “turned into a river.” “We’ve been extremely lucky,” said Columbia University’s Klaus H. Jacob. “I’m disappointed that the political process hasn’t recognized that we’re playing Russian roulette.”
(Image: Alex Lukas)