Study Says Much of Downtown Will Have That Sinking Feeling by 2050
A map from Climate Central, illustrating projected risk to Lower Manhattan from rising sea levels and extreme-weather events by 2050, shows almost one-third of Downtown under water.
In 29 years, approximately one-third of Lower Manhattan is likely to be underwater, according to a new map that quantifies flood risk for Lower Manhattan (as well as other locations), produced by Climate Central, a nonprofit news organization that analyzes and reports on climate science.
This online, interactive map was created in conjunction with a team of five researchers, as part of an article published Monday in Environmental Research Letters (a quarterly, peer-reviewed, scientific journal covering research on all aspects of environmental science), which gauges the risk that global warming poses to the inventory of affordable housing throughout the United States.
It projects that by the year 2050, West Street will be mostly submerged between Battery Place and Chambers Street, with long stretches on either side of that thoroughfare—in Battery Park City, Tribeca, the World Trade Center, and Greenwich South—all under water, as well. (This scenario also shows large segments of Rockefeller Park vanished, with River Terrace becoming the new waterfront in Battery Park City’s northern neighborhood.)
In the Financial District and Seaport neighborhoods, the map predicts, the East River will encroach as far inland as Beaver, Pearl, and Stone Streets, mostly tracing a line along Water Street, between South Ferry and the Brooklyn Bridge.
All of these contours essentially reprise the maximum extent of the storm surge from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, but are instead meant to depict everyday conditions, rather than temporary inundation resulting from a major storm.
Ironically, as the interactive map shows, Lower Manhattan south of Chambers Street contains relatively little affordable housing stock. (Conversely, New York City as a whole is home to more units of affordable housing threatened by climate change than any other municipality in America.) But the exposure of non-affordable housing (more than 60,000 people live in the square mile of Manhattan below Chambers Streets) is acute, with more than $10 billion of property, both residential and commercial, at risk.
On an optimistic note, these projections do not incorporate any of the local resiliency measures now in the design phase for Lower Manhattan, although some plans are still months or even years away from start of construction.
A basis for pessimism, however, is that Climate Central’s projections are based on assumptions about sea level rise of less than three feet by 2050. This is a longtime consensus figure that has increasingly come to be viewed by scientists as understating the more likely (and significantly worse) scenario of a larger increase in water heights.
A separate map, from Realtor.com (which recently became to first online property marketer to disclose flood risks) delineates more than 800 buildings in Lower Manhattan at risk from climate change in the next three decades.
In a separate development, real estate listings website Realtor.com earlier this year became the first in the nation to disclose information about current flood risk for the homes it markets, along with projections about how climate change may increase that risk in foreseeable future.
Realtor.com’s online Flood Factor tool paints a sobering picture of Lower Manhattan, with 879 buildings at risk of damage from flooding in the next 30 years, and all Downtown residential districts categorized as facing “increasing risk.”
On a related note, New York State—for all of Albany’s protestations about leadership on climate change—remains one of 21 jurisdictions that effectively allow property sellers to withhold flood-risk information from prospective home buyers. This has earned the Empire State a grade of “F” from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which says, “under New York law, if a seller fails to provide a disclosure statement, the seller owes the buyer a $500 credit toward the purchase price at the closing.” In practice, many New York sellers view this incredibly low penalty as an opportunity to opt out of having to disclose issues concerning the property. As such, New York’s disclosure law stacks the deck against buyers when it come to learning about a property’s flood risks or past flood damages much like a ‘buyer beware’ jurisdiction.
A measure pending before the State Senate aims to remedy this problem by amending the law to “require sellers to either provide the disclosure statement or risk being held liable for failure to do so.” The same measure would, if enacted, “also create a new section of the Real Property Law requiring residential leases to provide notice of the flood risk and flood history of a leased premises, as well as a notice to tenants of flood insurance available to renters.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman, sponsor of the proposed law, says, “New Yorkers deserve to be informed about the condition of residential property they purchase and to be aware of any flood risks they might face when buying or renting their homes, especially in an era where so-called ‘100-year floods’ are happening much more frequently due to climate change.”
Build Your Dream House
The Church Street School for Music and Art will continue a decades-long Downtown tradition (albeit, in virtual form, as a concession to COVID-19) by offering Gingerbread House Decorating Kits (priced at $85), now through Christmas week.
Each take home kit includes one homemade gingerbread house, a variety of candy, freshly made icing, and one foiled round to set your house up on. In addition to offering great holiday fun, this program is one of the most important fundraisers for the highly regarded non-profit institution that has brought enrichment to the lives of generations of Lower Manhattan kids.
161 Maiden Lane, where glass panels have been removed from the partially completed structure, which a former contractor alleges is tilting ominously.
Two separate residential towers planned for the Financial District are suffering from the local real estate slowdown. In developments first reported by the online real estate journal, YIMBY, the building now under construction at 161 Maiden Lane has undergone removal of pieces of its facade in recent weeks (the only recent activity on the otherwise-stalled project), while construction equipment has been removed from 45 Broad Street, which is the site of a planned 1,115 foot residential tower.
The building at 161 Maiden Lane (branded as Seaport Residences) has a troubled history. According to a lawsuit filed against by developer by one of its former contractors, the partially completed 670-foot tower is tilting precipitously north and east. The contractor alleges that the building “is leaning, as a rigid body, outside of its vertical control,” and, “is now exhibiting a bowing or curve in its verticality that is due entirely to said leaning.” The suit also claims that, “the building… has settled and moved to such a degree that the structure is encroaching on a neighboring property line.”
The overall tilt of the tower is currently alleged to exceed three inches, with Pizzarotti’s court complaint arguing that, “the building is still moving as the foundation continues to settle and as additional load is added to the structure.”
‘Such Parties Have No Grievance That Is Ripe for Review’
Judge Rules City Can Proceed with Plan for Homeless Shelter in FiDi
On Wednesday afternoon, a few hours before the City shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Debra James nullified a temporary restraining order she had issued on October 19, which had provisionally halted a plan by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to transfer more than 200 homeless men from a hotel on the Upper West Side to another hotel in the Financial District.
This ruling followed two days of argument the previous week, focused on that restraining order, which barred the City’s Department of Homeless Services from moving ahead with the plan, based on arguments from attorney Michael S. Hiller, acting on behalf of the homeless men, who were originally scheduled to be transferred from the Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street to the Radisson New York Wall Street (52 William Street) in early October.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean ambition has to take a backseat. No matter your industry or position, building a foundation for success is key to advancing in your career, inside or outside the office. In this workshop, join Marya Stark and Amelia Newbury of Trajectory Women as they discuss the most important drivers of women’s career success and how to steer through common challenges in the workplace. Free
Online performance via Zoom. Inspired by the 1967 Stanley Kramer film starring Sydney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy, Stefanie Batten Bland’s Look Who’s Coming To Dinner pays tribute to those who paved the way toward acceptance in love and life. Set around a transformative dinner setting, dance-theatre artists excavate interlaced universal traumas through imagery and ritual as they seek a seat at the table. Free
During the 64 years of Qianlong’s rule, China’s population more than doubled, its territory increased by one-third, its cities flourished, and its manufactures – tea, silk, porcelain – became principal items of international commerce. Join us as we delve into the private life of one of China’s most illustrious rulers – a notorious builder, and prolific patron of the arts, who presided over one of the last golden ages of China’s Imperial Empire. Free
EYES TO THE SKY
November 30 – December 13, 2020
Full Snow Moon rises this afternoon, winter stars follow, planets delight
November 30, 2020 at 7:25pm. Orion rises earlier every night going forward, e.g. 6pm on the 13th. Red arc represents the Milky Way. Image: Judy Isacoff/StarryNight
The Full Snow Moon rises above the east-northeast horizon this afternoon at 4:48pm, nearly simultaneous with sunset in the southwest at 4:29pm. See moonrise about an hour later every evening and sunset remaining within seconds of 4:29pm until the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21.
Mornings, awake to the intriguing spectacle of moonset in the west-northwest as the Sun rises in the southeast. Tomorrow, December 1, sunrise is at 7:01am, while the great orb of the moon will be visible in the daylight blue sky until 8:08am. See the moon higher and longer in the morning sky – in waning gibbous phase – everyday this week. The Sun rises about a minute later everyday through the 26th: Sunrise is at 7:12 on 13th.
During the long nights that precede the arrival of astronomical winter on December 21, we have the opportunity to observe the celestial harbinger of the new season, the constellation Orion, in both the darkness of night and pre-dawn sky. See the sky view diagram, above, that shows the figure of Orion rising into the nighttime sky within a few hours of sunset and, in the diagram below, the iconic constellation setting in the pre-dawn sky. For best viewing of the diagrams, increase light on computer screen.
Morning sky one-hour before sunrise on December 1, 2020 and similar through the 13th. The phase and position of the moon changes. Orion, Sirius and Taurus set about an hour earlier, about 5am. Illustration by Judy Isacoff/StarryNight
Glancing back to the diagram of the evening sky, notice rusty gold Mars in the southeast midway between the rising moon in the east and Saturn and Jupiter in the southwest. Jupiter sets at 7:45 this evening, close to 7pm on the 13th. Saturn follows Jupiter. Observe these planets as they appear closer to each other every night.
Calling all Performing Artists: Mark DeGarmo Dance Seeks Applicants for the 2020-2021 season of its Virtual Salon Performance Series: a sharing of works-in-progress with a facilitated audience response curated and facilitated by dancer, choreographer, writer, and researcher, Dr. Mark DeGarmo.
Mark DeGarmo Dance seeks applicants for the 2020-2021 season of its Virtual Salon Performance Series, a showcase of original artistic works-in-progress with a facilitated audience response session. Performing artists are invited to apply via the above GoogleForm by Saturday, December 3rd, 11:59PM ET. All Virtual Performances will be held on Zoom. Apply nowmarkdegarmodance.org
Downtown Restaurants Brace for More Closure Orders
As New York wades deeper into its second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, some local restaurants are trying to get ahead of the curve of anticipated closures by voluntarily shutting down both indoor and outdoor dining.
Among these is Blue Smoke, in Battery Park City, owned by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which is also taking similar measures at the company’s Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern.
Distressed Downtown Real Estate Indicators Point South
The first Baron Rothschild is said to have advised, “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.” If he was correct, this may be an auspicious moment to purchase real estate in Lower Manhattan, where the distress is acute. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found