Workers at the Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn, where the New York City Housing Authority is spending $86.5 million on resiliency projects, including installing backup generators on rooftops. Photo: Joshua Bright / The New York Times

By Patrick McGeehan and Winnie Hu
29 October 2017

(The New York Times) – At 8:30 p.m. on a Monday, millions of residents of the most man-made landscape in the United States were reminded how powerless they were against the forces of nature.

Hurricane Sandy shoved the East River across the F.D.R. Drive onto the streets of Manhattan, reducing the ostensible hub of the universe to a blacked-out, waterlogged, immobile shambles. The extraordinary storm surge swamped Consolidated Edison’s power plant at 14th Street along its way to filling multiple ZIP codes with waist-deep brine, plunging Manhattan from Midtown south to the Financial District into darkness for days.

Transit systems were crippled, hospitals could not function and public-housing complexes had no working boilers or elevators.

Five years after Hurricane Sandy struck on 29 October 2012, much of the region’s inundated infrastructure has been repaired and some of it has been improved. But most of the big plans to stormproof New York City remain just that: plans. And throughout the planning, the city has continued to advance toward the water, with glass high-rises stretching across the riverfront in Queens, Brooklyn and the Far West Side of Manhattan.

“Each year we don’t get a hurricane here we know we’ve dodged a bullet,” said Robert Freudenberg, the vice president for energy and environment at the Regional Plan Association, an urban research group. “We’re racing the clock still to try and prepare for another storm like Sandy.” [more]

Five Years After Sandy, Are We Better Prepared?

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