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Why Is New York Still Building on the Waterfront?

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When Hurricane Sandy landed in New York 10 years ago — flooding 17% of the city’s total land mass, killing 43, thousands of people displaced, and affecting 2 million people without power — Gulf Coast weather Those in the north who only paid attention to the phenomenon quickly saw that rising sea levels could really upset them. About 70% of the buildings the city tagged as severely damaged or completely destroyed were on or very close to the coastline. In days of hellish chaos after the storm, New Yorkers finally appear to retreat from the harbor as people ravage the lobbies of Dumbo’s expensive condominiums and wind their way through the destroyed Rockaway. I got

But that’s not what happened. Over the last decade, we’ve gone in a completely different direction, especially along the East River in Brooklyn and Queens, with the waterfront becoming more and more frenziedly populated. According to the city’s Building Department, since January 1, 2013, 225 permits have been issued for new apartments in the flood zone. The result has imprinted a sort of climate denial on his skyline of one of the country’s most liberal cities. The city promises to cut its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, Paris Agreement.

The most significant change in how we built after Sandy is the implementation of stricter rules for flood-resistant structures. New buildings now regularly place machinery in higher locations. Often located on rooftops rather than basements, they can be destroyed in the next devastating storm. Floors in lobbies and residences may be raised above ground level, which is standard practice in Miami. However, older buildings are not obliged to take these measures, and he 96.5% of the current floodplain buildings are not strengthened. “Right now, we don’t have a good framework for planning for the future,” city auditor Brad Lander told me.

It is in the city’s economic interest, at least in the short term, to indulge its waterfront admiration and allow for continued development. As more and more buildings emerge, the value of real estate in these threatened areas has risen to about $176 billion, adding $2 billion annually while the pandemic destabilizes the city’s finances. There is a dollar property tax.These are all new report This also reveals that floodplain expansion puts additional land at risk. Without expensive “protective infrastructure,” the property would either fall in value or be abandoned or managed into a managed retreat program of the kind formed after Sandy on Staten Island, which has 473 homes. The property may be devalued or exempt from taxation entirely because it may be placed in a separate retreat program. Endangered areas were demolished.

Whatever the self-righteous disapproval of New Yorkers to Texans and Floridians to hurricane after hurricane over the years, instead of abandoning their life on the beach, they’re going to the top of ever-higher stilts. We rebuilt our homes in , so the devastation here did little to encroach on our own coastline. Romance. A few years ago, at a New York Times-sponsored conference on the future of cities, former hedge fund investor and environmentalist Tom Steier spoke about the dangers of climate change. A major donor to the Democratic candidate who promised to avoid the worst-case scenario, Mr. Steyr took questions from the audience and answered them with deep knowledge and passion. But when someone asked about our obsession with continuing to build and live on water, he basically responded with a shrug. My love for water was primordial. What can you really do?

In 2008, four years before Sandy, an old printing warehouse on the water in newly developed Brooklyn Bridge Park hit the market as a luxury condominium. After the storm, many residents had no heating or hot water for several weeks. None of these had much effect on the demand to live there. In the years that followed, he had three new apartments built along the park. One of his is a rental property and his other two are condos sold for millions of dollars.

This disconnect is not limited to luxury development. During Sandy, more than 100 of his homes at Breezy Point, on the westernmost tip of the Rockaway Peninsula, were destroyed in a raging electrical fire caused by a storm. By 2014, dozens of homes in the community had been rebuilt. By 2017, most of the neighborhood has been restored.Today, a modest beach cottage in Breezy Point Run about $1.5 million.

For most of the 20th century, city waterfronts were not considered luxury assets. When the wealthy escaped the summer heat in Newport, Rhode Island or on the cliffs of the Hudson River, the poor swam in the East River and often died. So many buildings belonging to the New York City Housing Department were swept away by the water. At some point, perhaps when “coastal” became the default adjective preceding “elite,” factories turned into creative spaces. When the industrial waterfront began to look ripe for high-end domestication, what was once seen as a disadvantage gave rise to new cachets.

The economy enthusiastically supported these new tastes. In a book published earlier this year, “Fires and Floods: A People’s History of Climate Change from 1979 to the Present” Author Eugene Linden, who has been warning about global warming for 30 years, points to the insurance industry’s failure to overlook the threat of the climate crisis in the name of creating lucrative homeowner insurance. As a result, millions of people across the country have moved into rather than away from wildfire and hurricane-prone areas, but at the same time, reinsurers have sought to contain and spread risk. We have come up with a complex financial instrument that can

An $8 million apartment in a flood zone may seem like a scary investment in the long run, but the very wealthy are coming up with workarounds to reduce their vulnerability. Linden has witnessed wealthy New Yorkers buy luxury condos in waterfront developments just to maintain a foothold in the city as they move to Florida to reduce their tax burden. explained, in a few years the apartment will pay for itself in tax savings.

“They’re very aware of climate change. But they’re saving $3 million in taxes a year.” it won’t work.

what about the rest of us? The tens of thousands of people living along the city’s 520 miles of coastline rely on the ability of local governments to draw federal funds and complete any projects aimed at minimizing storm surge damage. will be Not yet. 35 of his NYCHA developments that hold more than 60,000 people Great damage with Sandy. At the Red Hook House, which suffered the most brutal attack, residents had to wait nearly five years for the boiler and roof to be repaired. The Comptroller’s report, which calls Sandy’s progress “sluggish,” isn’t optimistic. The city was slow to spend the funds already given. Washington may not be so generous next time.

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