[Vishaan] Chakrabarti previously served as director of the Department of City Planning’s Manhattan office, so he was around when much of the waterfront planning by the Bloomberg administration, and the thousands of condos that came with it, were taking shape. Mayor Bloomberg, at least before the storm hit, was fine with things proceeding as they were on the waterfront, with little investment in new protections and infrastructure, while former deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff, who helped hatch many of these plans, wants more of both.
Mr. Chakrabarti has taken a more urgent stance. “The thing we as a city have to understand is, we’ve been promoting all this waterfront development, and most of that waterfront development is happening in the zone that is getting evacuated right now,” he said in a telephone interview. “We’re talking about thousands and thousands of housing units. It’s fine for that housing to be there, but we have to figure out a way to protect it all.”
But Mr. Chakrabarti also has a simple solution. Well, if the world’s largest floodgates would qualify as simple.The story goes on to tell how other cities have managed to protect themselves. Such as Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which in the 1990s built sea gates that are twice the size of the Eiffel Tower at the mouth of the Rhine that now protect that city against storm surges that used to flood it. The cost; $4 billion.
Or, London. That city, in response to a devastating North Sea flood in 1953 built gates in the Thames river that are normally open to allow shipping, but can be closed when a storm approaches and threatens flooding. Pace Samuel Johnson, they are not 'tired of life' there.
St Petersburg, Russia has also recently spend about $5 billion on a system of dams, sluices and gates that open and close, that will protect Venice of the North from future floods.
It's possible, but a city's politicians have to devote their time to what is really important. Meaning, stop the grandstanding about 16 oz drinking cups and other trivia and do their jobs.