Mayor Adams unveils 45-ton storm-surge barrier to protect NYC’s East Side from climate change

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Mayor Adams marked the completion Monday of another link in the chain of storm surge barriers along the East Side — a 45-ton, 79-foot-long sliding barrier intended to keep homes and businesses safe in the likely event of more extreme flooding in New York City.

The storm gate, which is located in Asser Levy Playground just west of the FDR Drive, is the second of 18 moveable walls that will extend just north of 23rd Street down to Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side when the entire project is complete.

“The goal is to protect Lower Manhattan,” Adams said Monday before testing out the new moveable wall at a press conference. “Climate change is happening now right, here on our planet, and we have to be serious about it. The more we’re seeing increasing temperatures and stronger storms, the more dangerous flooding in our coastal cities. We have to be prepared for that.”

The entire $1.45 billion resiliency project is expected to be complete by 2026. It’s being carried out in multiple phases to ensure residents have access to park and other other recreational spaces over the next four years.

Construction of the sliding barrier in Asser Levy Playground began in 2020. Installation of the first floodgate on the Lower East Side was completed in February.

The massive East Side Coastal Resiliency Project began in 2021 under former Mayor Bill de Blasio — nearly a decade after Superstorm Sandy battered the city, hitting the Lower East Side particularly hard.

Aside from the moveable barriers, the storm defense system also includes raised park areas, stationary floodwalls and berms to protect about 110,000 residents, including 28,000 New York City Housing Authority tenants.

Adams also vowed on Monday to bring “protective barriers” to Red Hook in Brooklyn, but he did not specify what those barriers would look like.

“We’re not stopping with Lower Manhattan,” Adams said. “We’re going to break ground on even more coastal resiliency projects as we go forward, including protective barriers in Red Hook, Brooklyn and our neighborhoods that are vulnerable to the effects of climate storms.”