How Do We Solve the Flooding Problem? With Walls?

Text and photo by Brian J Pape, AIA

During Storm Sandy, as well as more recently, the Hudson River overflowed its seawalls at the Hudson River Park (here looking north from Horatio Street/ Pier 51). The Army Corps of Engineers has suggested flood walls be erected to protect the neighborhood. How would that be done?

Flood walls have now been constructed at East 23rd Street at the FDR Highway, about 10’ high, with rolling flood doors that would close the openings in case of flooding. This is a technique the Army Corps of Engineers has installed along rivers nationwide for many decades. This may be appropriate under the FDR but not at the Hudson River Park.

The flood walls continue from East 24th to East 20th streets and include landscaped berms where there aren’t openings for access.