This is not a cartoon. This is real, almost.

The MTA is currently testing a giant thirty-foot inflatable “plug” that when filled with air would protect cities’ most vulnerable subway stops from the threat of floods and extreme weather conditions. It would,¬†effectively, “seal off New York’s subways” if natural disaster strikes.

This balloon was tested at the South Ferry station in Manhattan yesterday, one of the subway stations hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. It should be ready-to-use by the end of 2013, or the latest, 2014. Cool. (Image: TheVerge)