Climate Change Isn't
Coming, It's Here

The Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan aims to build Lower Manhattan’s resilience to climate risks, including daily tides and coastal storms. We are developing a comprehensive plan to secure the future of the region.

Building Our Plan

How Are We Building Our Plan?

In partnership with the communities of Lower Manhattan, we are designing infrastructure that responds to the unique constraints and climate hazards the Financial District and Seaport neighborhoods face while creating implementation plans to ensure these designs come to life in the future.

The project team identified opportunities and constraints to guide the type of flood protection infrastructure and alignments we can build in this area.

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While constructing a wall on land along the existing bulkhead line could provide constant flood protection for Lower Manhattan, it would not meet other project goals, including:
- Providing the space needed to site new drainage infrastructure.
- Ensuring public waterfront access and connections back to the city.
- Maintaining maritime uses and transportation that serve the entire city and region.
A wall would also create an unsafe condition beneath the FDR Drive, with poorly lit corridors and unhealthy air quality.
Click the left and right arrows to learn more

How do we build our coastal defense without walling off the city?


Higher wave heights as well as low-lying elevations in the Financial District and Seaport mean that we cannot rely solely on deployable measures and must maximize passive measures (floodwalls, levees, etc.) to the greatest extent possible.
A constant “passive” level of protection is also needed to protect against future daily flooding during high tides.
As a result, gates must be used sparingly and in concert with passive measures.

Click the left and right arrows to learn more

Why is a solution that relies predominantly on gates not applicable here?


The waterfront will be much taller in the future than it is today. To protect from future coastal storms, we need to built to an elevation approximately 18 feet above the current waterfront esplanade.
Space is needed to allow for the appropriate slopes and grade changes to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability or age, can get up and over the design flood elevation to access the waterfront.
Adequate space is also needed for emergency and maintenance access (vehicular) to the flood defense, maritime uses, & water.
The project will include drainage infrastructure to capture stormwater runoff and replacement existing open space.
Click the left and right arrows to learn more

To achieve the project’s goals of providing flood protection for Lower Manhattan, we need to build into the water.

At the water’s edge, we need to:
- Plan for adaptive maritime uses, acknowledging their unique functions as well as vulnerability to sea level rise and storms.
- Provide a continuous waterfront esplanade in keeping with the East River Esplanade plan, with access to maritime uses.

Click the left and right arrows to learn more

This includes a multilevel waterfront to bring the neighborhood back down from the design flood elevation to the water’s edge.

While constructing a wall on land along the existing bulkhead line could provide constant flood protection for Lower Manhattan, it would not meet other project goals, including:
- Providing the space needed to site new drainage infrastructure.
- Ensuring public waterfront access and connections back to the city.
- Maintaining maritime uses and transportation that serve the entire city and region.
A wall would also create an unsafe condition beneath the FDR Drive, with poorly lit corridors and unhealthy air quality.
Click the left and right arrows to learn more

How do we build our coastal defense without walling off the city?


Higher wave heights as well as low-lying elevations in the Financial District and Seaport mean that we cannot rely solely on deployable measures and must maximize passive measures (floodwalls, levees, etc.) to the greatest extent possible.
A constant “passive” level of protection is also needed to protect against future daily flooding during high tides.
As a result, gates must be used sparingly and in concert with passive measures.

Click the left and right arrows to learn more

Why is a solution that relies predominantly on gates not applicable here?


The waterfront will be much taller in the future than it is today. To protect from future coastal storms, we need to built to an elevation approximately 18 feet above the current waterfront esplanade.
Space is needed to allow for the appropriate slopes and grade changes to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability or age, can get up and over the design flood elevation to access the waterfront.
Adequate space is also needed for emergency and maintenance access (vehicular) to the flood defense, maritime uses, & water.
The project will include drainage infrastructure to capture stormwater runoff and replacement of existing open space.
Click the left and right arrows to learn more

To achieve the project’s goals of providing flood protection for Lower Manhattan, we need to build into the water.

At the water’s edge, we need to:
- Plan for adaptive maritime uses, acknowledging their unique functions as well as vulnerability to sea level rise and storms.
- Provide a continuous waterfront esplanade in keeping with the East River Esplanade plan, with access to maritime uses.

Click the left and right arrows to learn more

This includes a multilevel waterfront to bring the neighborhood back down from the design flood elevation to the water’s edge.

What Flood Protection Alignments Are We Studying?

We focused our options to only those that meet our project goals and are feasible. After studying wider shoreline extensions, we removed them from consideration because of the permitting challenges and potential impacts to currents, boat navigation, and ecology. We are continuing to study on-land project options for the northern and southern parts of our project where it may be viable to construct the flood protection on-land. For more information on challenges with on-land options, see here.

Learn more about the flood protection options and considerations for each section of our study area below.

REACH A

REACH B

REACH C

REACH D
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In Reach A, we are exploring options to connect the flood protection back to higher ground:

  1. One option is to construct the flood protection along the Battery Park Underpass. This would require the flood protection to run through the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and then be located just inland of the Battery Maritime Building. This would require only partial reconstruction of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal but would leave the Battery Maritime Building vulnerable to flooding.
  2. Another option would route the flood protection outboard of the Battery Park Underpass. The Battery Park Underpass would be protected from storms, but the flood protection would run through both the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and the Battery Maritime Building.
  3. One variation of the second option would be to also locate the flood protection outboard of the Battery Maritime Building. This would protect the historic building but would also require more fill, which is harder to permit, and the existing ferry uses would need to be relocated.

In Reach B, there is limited space on-land so we are studying options to create new land to site the flood protection while maintaining universal access back to the waterfront.

We are studying options that keep the FDR Drive viaduct as-is as well as options that transform the FDR Drive into an at-grade boulevard. In both instances, we are studying a narrow to moderate shoreline extension to allow for the appropriate slopes and grade changes to ensure access for all. The exact width will vary throughout the project area.

In locations where we cannot build to the target design flood elevation, flood gates will be needed. However, the gates must be used with passive measures to ensure a reliable, operable, and maintainable coastal defense system.

In Reach C we are examining pathways to protect historic assets while navigating the buildings at Pier 17. Two options are still being evaluated:

  1. Option 1 goes through the Tin Building. While this option minimizes fill, it would heavily impact the Tin Building, a recently reconstructed landmarked building. Both the Tin Building and Pier 17 would be outboard of the flood protection and left vulnerable to coastal storms and waves.
  2. Option 2 runs the flood protection between the Tin Building and Pier 17. In this option, the Tin Building would be protected but Pier 17 would still be left unprotected.
In Reach D, we are exploring how to minimize fill while still allowing for connections to the waterfront to protect habitats in the water. Given the complex site conditions, further study – including aquatic sampling & testing and wave modeling – is required to advance our study of flood protections alignments in this reach.

In Reach A, we are exploring options to connect the flood protection back to higher ground:

  1. One option is to construct the flood protection along the Battery Park Underpass. This would require the flood protection to run through the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and then be located just inland of the Battery Maritime Building. This would require only partial reconstruction of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal but would leave the Battery Maritime Building vulnerable to flooding.
  2. Another option would route the flood protection outboard of the Battery Park Underpass. The Battery Park Underpass would be protected from storms, but the flood protection would run through both the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and the Battery Maritime Building.
  3. One variation of the second option would be to also locate the flood protection outboard of the Battery Maritime Building. This would protect the historic building but would also require more fill, which is harder to permit, and the existing ferry uses would need to be relocated.

In Reach B, there is limited space on-land so we are studying options to create new land to site the flood protection while maintaining universal access back to the waterfront.

We are studying options that keep the FDR Drive viaduct as-is as well as options that transform the FDR Drive into an at-grade boulevard. In both instances, we are studying a narrow to moderate shoreline extension to allow for the appropriate slopes and grade changes to ensure access for all. The exact width will vary throughout the project area.

In locations where we cannot build to the target design flood elevation, flood gates will be needed. However, the gates must be used with passive measures to ensure a reliable, operable, and maintainable coastal defense system.

In Reach C we are examining pathways to protect historic assets while navigating the buildings at Pier 17. Two options are still being evaluated:

  1. Option 1 goes through the Tin Building. While this option minimizes fill, it would heavily impact the Tin Building, a recently reconstructed landmarked building. Both the Tin Building and Pier 17 would be outboard of the flood protection and left vulnerable to coastal storms and waves.
  2. Option 2 runs the flood protection between the Tin Building and Pier 17. In this option, the Tin Building would be protected but Pier 17 would still be left unprotected.
In Reach D, we are exploring how to minimize fill while still allowing for connections to the waterfront to protect habitats in the water. Given the complex site conditions, further study – including aquatic sampling & testing and wave modeling – is required to advance our study of flood protections alignments in this reach.

REACH A

Image

In Reach A, we are exploring options to connect the flood protection back to higher ground:

  1. One option is to construct the flood protection along the Battery Park Underpass. This would require the flood protection to run through the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and then be located just inland of the Battery Maritime Building.
  2. Another option would route the flood protection outboard of the Battery Park Underpass. The Battery Park Underpass would be protected from storms, but the flood protection would run through both the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and the Battery Maritime Building.
  3. One variation of the second option would be to also locate the flood protection outboard of the Battery Maritime Building. This would protect the historic building but would also require more fill, which is harder to permit, and the existing ferry uses would need to be relocated.

REACH B

Image

In Reach B, there is limited space on-land so we are studying options to create new land to site the flood protection while maintaining universal access back to the waterfront.

We are studying options that keep the FDR Drive viaduct as-is as well as options that transform the FDR Drive into an at-grade boulevard. In both instances, we are studying a narrow to moderate shoreline extension to allow for the appropriate slopes and grade changes to ensure access for all. The exact width will vary throughout the project area.

In locations where we cannot build to the target design flood elevation, flood gates will be needed. However, the gates must be used with passive measures to ensure a reliable, operable, and maintainable coastal defense system.

REACH C

Image

In Reach C we are examining pathways to protect historic assets while navigating the buildings at Pier 17. Two options are still being evaluated:

  1. Option 1 goes through the Tin Building. While this option minimizes fill, it would heavily impact the Tin Building, a recently reconstructed landmarked building. Both the Tin Building and Pier 17 would be outboard of the flood protection and left vulnerable to coastal storms and waves.
  2. Option 2 runs the flood protection between the Tin Building and Pier 17. In this option, the Tin Building would be protected but Pier 17 would still be left unprotected.

REACH D

Image
In Reach D, we are exploring how to minimize fill while still allowing for connections to the waterfront to protect habitats in the water. Given the complex site conditions, further study – including aquatic sampling & testing and wave modeling – is required to advance our study of flood protections alignments in this reach.

REACH A

Image

In Reach A, we are exploring options to connect the flood protection back to higher ground:

  1. One option is to construct the flood protection along the Battery Park Underpass. This would require the flood protection to run through the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and then be located just inland of the Battery Maritime Building. This would require only partial reconstruction of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal but would leave the Battery Maritime Building vulnerable to flooding.
  2. Another option would route the flood protection outboard of the Battery Park Underpass. The Battery Park Underpass would be protected from storms, but the flood protection would run through both the Whitehall Ferry Terminal and the Battery Maritime Building.
  3. One variation of the second option would be to also locate the flood protection outboard of the Battery Maritime Building. This would protect the historic building but would also require more fill, which is harder to permit, and the existing ferry uses would need to be relocated.

REACH B

Image

In Reach B, there is limited space on-land so we are studying options to create new land to site the flood protection while maintaining universal access back to the waterfront.

We are studying options that keep the FDR Drive viaduct as-is as well as options that transform the FDR Drive into an at-grade boulevard. In both instances, we are studying a narrow to moderate shoreline extension to allow for the appropriate slopes and grade changes to ensure access for all. The exact width will vary throughout the project area.

In locations where we cannot build to the target design flood elevation, flood gates will be needed. However, the gates must be used with passive measures to ensure a reliable, operable, and maintainable coastal defense system.

REACH C

Image

In Reach C we are examining pathways to protect historic assets while navigating the buildings at Pier 17. Two options are still being evaluated:

  1. Option 1 goes through the Tin Building. While this option minimizes fill, it would heavily impact the Tin Building, a recently reconstructed landmarked building. Both the Tin Building and Pier 17 would be outboard of the flood protection and left vulnerable to coastal storms and waves.
  2. Option 2 runs the flood protection between the Tin Building and Pier 17. In this option, the Tin Building would be protected but Pier 17 would still be left unprotected.

REACH D

Image

In Reach D, we are exploring how to minimize fill while still allowing for connections to the waterfront to protect habitats in the water. Given the complex site conditions, further study – including aquatic sampling & testing and wave modeling – is required to advance our study of flood protections alignments in this reach.

What Neighborhood Conditions Must We Consider?

To protect from future storms and high tides, a flood protection system could include a mix of features that are integrated into the landscape (passive) or are deployed before a storm (active). Due to the limited space along the water in this area, we must consider going out into the water.

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How Do We Protect the Financial District and Seaport from Flooding?
We need to manage stormwater that may collect behind the flood defense. This is accomplished through large-scale drainage infrastructure, such as pumps and storage strategies. We also need to plan for rising sea levels that make it harder for stormwater to drain during heavy rainfall events.

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How Do We Plan for Drainage?​
The location and alignment of our flood protection system must ensure continued transportation connectivity within and through the area. The FDR Drive runs close along the water’s edge, limiting available space–a challenge we must contend with. Our system must also cross underground subway tunnels and we cannot allow flood waters to enter Lower Manhattan through the tunnels. The system also needs to protect and ensure continuous ferry service at the many maritime hubs in the area.
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How Do We Plan for Our Transportation Networks?​
This area has a complex web of underground infrastructure, including drainage pipes, subway tunnels, and electric, communications, water, and transmission lines. We must look at how this infrastructure may interact with a new flood protection system while protecting it from flooding to ensure continuity of service.

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How Do We Plan for Our Underground Infrastructure?​
The area is a historically significant waterfront and home to historic districts and assets that must be preserved and protected, wherever possible. ​

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How Do We Plan for Historical and Cultural Destinations?​
The project area currently provides public open space and continuous public access to and along the waterfront. We must maintain this open space as a valuable amenity for residents and visitors, and ensure continuity of access to the waterfront and water-based transportation.

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How Do We Plan for Our Waterfront Access and Open Space? ​
We’re conducting habitat and biological sampling–the largest such study of the East River ever undertaken–and working with Federal and NY State regulators to better understand which species live and migrate through the area and how we can support, and not harm, our regional ecosystems.

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How Do We Plan for Our Environment and Ecosystems? ​