Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email

November 25, 2012
Dlandstudio, Architecture Research Office photo

This artist’s rendering provided by DLANDSTUDIO and Architecture Research Office shows a proposed perimeter wetlands and an archipelago of man-made barrier islets on New York’s Manhattan island, designed to absorb the brunt of a huge storm surge. The concept was worked up by DLANDSTUDIO and Architecture Research Office, two city architectural firms, for a museum project.

Craig Ruttle photo

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, Joseph Leader, Metropolitan Transportation Authority vice president and chief maintenance officer, shines a flashlight on standing water inside the South Ferry 1 train station in New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. A map of the original topography of Manhattan is seen on the wall behind Leader. By century’s end, researchers forecast up to four feet higher seas, producing storm flooding akin to Sandy’s as often as several times each decade. Even at current sea levels, Sandy’s floodwaters filled subways, other tunnels and streets in parts of Manhattan.

C.m. Spieglitz photo

This 1939 photo made available by the Library of Congress shows New York City Park Commissioner Robert Moses with a model of the proposed, but never built Brooklyn Battery Bridge in New York. Retired geologist Jim Mellet of New Fairfield, Conn., recalls hearing a story told to him by the late Bill A. O’Leary, a retired city engineer at the time: He and other engineers, concerned about battering floods, had approached Moses more than 70 years ago to ask him to consider constructing a gigantic barrier to hold back storm tides at the entrance to the city’s Upper Bay. Moses supposedly squashed the idea like an annoying bug. “According to Bill, he stood there uninterested, with his arms folded on his chest, and when they finished the presentation, he just said, ‘No, it will destroy the view.’” Or perhaps he was already mulling other plans for the same site, where he would build the Verrazano Narrows Bridge years later.

Associated Press photo

FILE - This February 1953 file photo shows an aerial view of a windmill pump elevated above the floodwaters in the coastal village of Oude Tonge in The Netherlands. It took the collapse of dikes, drowning deaths of more than 1,800 people, and evacuation of another 100,000 in 1953 for the Dutch to say “Never again!” They have since constructed the world’s sturdiest battery of dikes, dams and barriers. No disaster on that scale has happened since.

Fred Ernst photo

FILE - This Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005 file photo shows apartment buildings built just behind a small dike which separates them from the Maas River in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It took the collapse of dikes, drowning deaths of more than 1,800 people, and evacuation of another 100,000 in 1953 for the Dutch to say “Never again!” They have since constructed the world’s sturdiest battery of dikes, dams and barriers. No disaster on that scale has happened since.

Cdm Smith photo

This artist’s rendering provided by CDM Smith shows a proposed sea barrier at the mouth of the Arthur Kill waterway between the New York borough of Staten Island and New Jersey, designed by engineer Larry Murphy. The 1,700-foot barrier has locks for passing boats and a walkway for pedestrians.

Arthur Moore photo

This December 2006 photo provided by architect Arthur Cotton Moore shows flood gates he designed raised to protect the Washington Harbour complex in the Georgetown area of Washington from waters overflowing from the Potomac River.

Arthur Moore photo

This March 14, 2010 photo provided by architect Arthur Cotton Moore shows flood gates Moore designed protecting the Washington Harbour complex in the Georgetown area of Washington from waters overflowing from the Potomac River.

Bill Haber photo

FILE - In this Saturday, March 10, 2007 file photo, Daren J. Eller watches as pumps put in place by the Army Corps of Engineers extract water from New Orleans’ 17th Street Canal into Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. One of the levees along the canal failed during Hurricane Katrina, contributing heavily to the flooding of the city. The pumps and floodgate are designed to control the water level in the drainage canals during a storm event.