Southern Brooklyn

Massive Seascape Projects In City’s Future?

Source: CDM via the New York Daily News

It would cost upwards of $10 billion and take nearly a decade to build, but politicians, engineers, and average citizens are starting to dream big when it comes to protecting New York City’s coastline from another storm surge disaster.

A New York Daily News report is citing growing interest in plans to invest in a massive billion dollar seascape project meant to push back the types of surging sea swells that caused $42 billion dollars in damage after Hurricane Sandy struck.

The types of projects dreamed up include a 5-mile-long and 80-foot-high rock barrier reaching from Breezy Point, Queens to Sandy Hook, N.J., a massive 1,700-foot wall stretching across the Arthur Kill and a huge structure in the shadow of the Verrazano Bridge that features two identical 640-foot-high gates.

In recent years, support for ambitions architectural super-projects such as these would have met stiff opposition from politicians and taxpayers alike. More than likely, they would be unwilling to invest the vast resources required to prevent a scenario they could scarcely envision.

The reality of Sandy is changing these attitudes.

Despite the enormous cost and ingenuity required to erect a seascape structure, they aren’t long term solutions, as oceans will continue to rise ever higher in the coming centuries. Still, they have proven effective in countries like England and the Netherlands, where massive seawalls have prevented billions in flood damage since their construction.

While enthusiasm is running high right now for bold action, time will prove to be the number one obstacle in seeing such projects to completion. As New York recovers from Sandy’s destruction and is lucky enough to spared of another major storm in the coming years, people’s desire for a long term solution will wane.

The Daily News quoted engineer Larry Murphy who recalled the devastation caused by the 1938 “killer cane” which killed 700 New Yorkers and left 63,000 homeless.

He says, “There’s a tremendous amount of damage, but maybe it wasn’t bad enough. Look at the ’38 hurricane. If that hit today, there would be no question about building that barrier.”

Comment policy


  1. IF there is no major storms in the next few years ‘desire’ for a long tern solution will wane but given the pattern of weather super storms may continue to plague the north east coastline making a long term solution an imperative and even then we may not be able to keep pace with the ‘rising tides’ – global climate change is real and barely anyone has admitted that yet.

  2. “global climate change is real”

    That is debatable and even if it is true it is even more debatable what the cause is and if anything can even be done about it.

  3. “they aren’t long term solutions”, This statement means to me nothing planned will be the cure-all.
    It’s like that song “with what shall I fix it”, patch the hole but the water will eventually runover.
    Long term is elevation… a sort of water world.

Comments are closed.