Bloomberg proposes a Battery Park City for Manhattan’s East Side

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A rendering of the proposed Seaport. (NYC.gov)
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg today proposed a Battery Park City-like development on Manhattan's East Side to protect lower Manhattan from the next superstorm.

"Battery Park City would have protected inland areas, including the World Trade Center site, had floodwaters not been able to penetrate low lying coastline both to the north and the south," said Bloomberg today, during his presentation of "A Stronger, More Resilient New York," his compendium of proposals for how best to prepare New York for future extreme weather events.

Battery Park City, like much of lower Manhattan, was built on landfill. Unlike much of lower Manhattan, it was built to withstand flooding.

"We can achieve the same thing on the East Side of lower Manhattan," he said. "We can built it out, raise it above the flood level, and develop it. Call it Seaport City. Yes, it would be expensive to build. But over time it could prove to be a great investment, just as Battery Park City has proven to be."

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Bloomberg said housing and office space could be built there, capitalizing on high demand for both.

"It's an ambitious idea, yes," he said. "But so was Battery Park City."

This idea is very much in keeping with the rest of the plans announced by the administration since Hurricane Sandy. In general, the mayor has shown a marked preference for fortifying the residential waterfront against the superstorm, rather than encouraging people to retreat from it into more defensible areas, though he recently announced a limited program to buy out homeowners in particularly flood-vulnerable areas in order to facilitate redevelopment for other purposes.