Hurricane Sandy caused substantial damage to wastewater and drinking water treatment systems across the tri-state area. Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to provide a total of $569 million to New York and New Jersey to make wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities more resilient to withstand the effects of future storms. As Michael Shapiro, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, pointed out in a media call, "Sewage treatment plants are on the waterfront so are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels." The funding will be provided through grants to states that will then be distributed primarily to local communities as low or no interest loans. “Going forward we’re encouraging local governments to submit proposals for green infrastructure and that rely on natural features to prevent flooding,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck in an announcement. The agency also anticipates that this funding will result in 6,000 short-term construction jobs.
Posts tagged with "Hurricane Sandy":
Hurricane Sandy not only caused considerable damage to the Rockaways, but it also exposed the vulnerability of New York City’s waterfront communities to future storms and changing weather patterns. Today, the American Institute of Architects New York, along with NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Organization, Triangle Equities, and Enterprise Community Partners, announced a new design competition for "resilient and sustainable development in the Rockaways." The group called on architects to come up with different strategies for how cities can build more thoughtfully in areas prone to flooding. Following the June 14th deadline for submissions, a jury will preside over the proposals. The jury will announce four finalists in July—each of which will receive a stipend of $30,000 to continue to hone their ideas. The winner will be revealed on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and will be granted an additional $30,000 for their work. The Rockaways have been the focus of a number of competitions, including MoMA PS 1's EXPO 1: NEW YORK, that asked artists, designers, and architects to submit 3-minute videos that provide ideas for making the Rockaways more sustainable.
Rockaway Beach, the waterfront community severely battered by Hurricane Sandy, is now the site of MoMA PS1's geodesic dome, a temporary cultural center offering lectures, exhibits, performances, and community events. PS1 kicked off the opening of the VW Dome 2 last Friday with a performance by singer Patti Smith, a fellow Rockaways resident. The museum will collaborate with local organizations in Queens to provide a range of programming over the next few months. The VW Dome 2 is part of a larger upcoming exhibit, EXPO 1: NEW YORK, that will present a variety of ideas and strategies to create a more sustainable waterfront. Last month, MoMA PS1 called on artists, architects, and designers to submit 3-minute video proposals that address relevant issues such as shoreline protections, community engagement, and climate change. The 25 winning submissions will be on view within the next month. Of course, this discussion would be incomplete and shortsighted without the feedback from the local community. Kevin Boyle, editor of The Wave, and Ideas Wanted-columnist Rick Horan have set up a video camera inside the VW Dome 2 and invited residents to participate in a conversation about the recovery efforts and needs of the Rockaways. The first Open Camera Session took place on Saturday, but locals will have another opportunity to offer their input tonight between 6:30 and 8:30 PM. The VW Dome 2 is located at the southern end of the parking lot between Beach 94th and Beach 95th Streets.
After much backlash from New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and several community members in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Lightstone Group has decided to abandon its proposed “minor modification” in favor of keeping the as-of-right design for its Gowanus Canal-side development that is in compliance with the rezoning passed in 2009. Today the New York City Department of City Planning gave Lightstone the greenlight to move ahead with its 700-unit residential development on the Gowanus. The “Minor Modification” would have used a waiver to extend the depth in the rear yard. And while the design initially won the community board’s support, the damage and flooding from Hurricane Sandy in the area generated concern and protest among some residents. According to a statement released by Lightstone today, the design approved is “very similar to the Minor Modification design,” which includes the identical massing along Bond Street and along portions of First and Second Streets, the same floor area and uses of retail and residential space, and the same number of units and affordable apartments. But Lightstone did manage to deviate from the original design by Toll Brothers, the previous developer, by “gently stepping up" the building heights toward the canal and adding 2,955 square feet of open space to accommodate an expanded public walkway along the canal and pull the buildings away from the waterfront. The developers will also adhere to new FEMA maps and implement the required changes to protect the building from flooding such as raising the lowest occupied floors and moving all mechanical equipment to above grade. The blog Pardon Me For Asking reported that even though the Minor Modification is off the table, Brad Lander is not budging on his position. “In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I continue to believe it is a mistake to move forward with dense, high-rise, residential development without a comprehensive plan for infrastructure and land use regulations that Gowanus needs,” said Lander.
The Rockaways was one of many waterfront communities that sustained serious damage from Hurricane Sandy, which makes it an appropriate site for MoMA PS1’s upcoming exhibit. But first, MoMA PS1 and MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design are reaching out to artists, architects, and designers to come up with ideas for creating a sustainable waterfront—whether that touches upon protection of the shoreline or alternative housing—to be presented at the show. Twenty-five proposals will be selected and presented online and at MoMA PS1’s temporary space, the VW Dome2 in Rockaway Beach during the month of April. But hurry, the deadline for proposals is tomorrow. Submissions should be in the format of a short video (under 3 minutes).
Construction on the two-track Gateway project, a new tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan, will commence this summer beneath Related Company’s Hudson Yards redevelopment site. Related Companies and Amtrak will build this 800-foot-long “box tunnel,” which will first serve as a shell for Amtrak’s rail connection linking the Hudson tunnel to Penn Station’s tracks, and, eventually, to the proposed Moynihan Station. The actual Amtrak Gateway Project is still years away, but construction on this first leg of the tunnel is happening now to coordinate with construction on Manhattan's West Side. The project will be funded by the federal government including some funding from the Hurricane Sandy relief package meant to help mitigate flooding during future storms. It's estimated to cost between $120 and $150 million.
For property owners of Hurricane Sandy-ravaged buildings, the road to recovery just got easier. Starting on Monday, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) will offer a new program that provides design consultations to property owners and design professionals who want to reconstruct their buildings. Department officials and technical experts will explain the building code and zoning requirements for properties in special flood hazard areas, as indicated on insurance rate maps or on updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps. According to the announcement from the DOB: “This program is designed to accelerate the approval process for these projects, assist homeowners with their decisions on reconstruction and better ensure that new flood recommendations and standards are incorporated into the design and construction of these affected buildings." The consultations will be held at the Department’s NYC Development Hub at 80 Centre Street in Manhattan. Property owners will sit down with officials and compile a list of recommendations to apply to the construction plans that they intend on submitting to the DOB.
Last fall Hurricane Sandy swept through New York with a vengeance, knocking down more than 8,000 trees city-wide, and over 300 in Brooklyn's Olmsted-designed Prospect Park alone. But now, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has teamed up with tree house architect Roderick Wolgamott-Romero to give a hand full of these damaged trees a second chance at life. The New York Daily News reported that Wolgamott-Romero plans to build a 200-square-foot tree house, which he has dubbed the "Sandy Remix," out of 10 oak trees salvaged from the Botanic Garden grounds. Raised 5-feet off the ground, the tree house will be located in the southern area of the Garden. Wolgamott-Romero said they have already built the brackets and foundation, and expect to be finished by April. When completed, the tree house will serve as a classroom for schoolchildren for a period of 18 months. A number of celebrities have commissioned Wolgamott-Romero to build his sustainable tree houses including Sting, Julianne Moore, Darren Aronofsky, Val Kilmer, and Donna Karen.
While Hurricane Sandy hasn’t slowed development in some parts of Brooklyn, it has delayed the groundbreaking of the Roger Marvel Architects-designed hotel and residential complex at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park called the Pierhouse. The New York Post reported that the project was originally slated to begin construction this month, but Toll Brothers, the developer, said they will hold off until the redesign of the 159-apartment and 200-room hotel complex is updated with measures meant to protect against future storm surges. Changes include elevating the building three feet, adding steps and ramps to the lobby, and placing the mechanical systems on the roof. This development is paying for a considerable portion—about $3.3 million—of the park’s $16 million annual maintenance budget. Nearby, plans for a velodrome proposed for the park were scrapped in part due to potential flooding of the site.
Houses of Worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy were initially excluded from receiving federal aid based on the constitutional separation of church and state. But in an interesting turn of events, the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would provide grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rebuild synagogues, mosques, and churches. The New York Times reported that FEMA has stipulated that, according to its rules and regulations, it can only allocate federal money to "repair and replace 'furnishings and equipment,'” which puts into question what items “are eligible.” It comes as no surprise that the American Civil Liberties Union and Congressman Jerrold Nadler oppose this legislation, calling it unconstitutional. (Photo: Loozrboy/Flickr)
It looks like construction of Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center PATH hub won't be wrapping up any time soon. Second Avenue Sagas reported that costs are mounting as the project deadline keeps getting extended. The project could now cost an additional $1.8 billion, and take another 18 months as a result of flooding from Hurricane Sandy, which would mean the station wouldn’t open until 2016. In an interview with The New York Times, Cheryl McKissack Daniel, president and chief executive of McKissack & McKissack, an architecture and construction management company specializing in infrastructure, discussed the cause of the delay. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Tishman Construction Corporation, however, insist that the transit hub will still be completed by 2015, according to the New York Observer.
After much silence, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John Rhea revealed at a panel on Tuesday that the cash-strapped agency failed to adequately prepare for Hurricane Sandy. The super storm left 80,000 tenants without heat or power for several weeks, exposing the weak infrastructure and fragility of over 250 buildings, and also the agency’s disorganization. Crain's reported that Rhea outlined the three main lessons from the disaster, which boiled down to recognizing the magnitude of future storms and natural disasters, taking proper measures to protect vulnerable buildings, and accepting the reality that many residents will refuse to evacuate. Rhea admitted that NYCHA is under-staffed as a result of budget cuts over the years, which likely contributed to the agency’s poor response to the storm. On the upside, Mayor Bloomberg announced last week that the city will allocate $120 million to NYCHA to help in the recovery efforts. But Rhea said that will barely cover the $785 million in damage from Sandy. The agency is exploring other less conventional, and somewhat prickly, funding options such as leasing playgrounds and community centers in the middle of housing developments to private developers to build luxury high rises. Yesterday Rhea went in front of the City Council for the first time. According to NY1, he had to explain why NYCHA’s emergency response went awry. NYCHA is expected to present an action plan by next month.