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.

Protecting Lower Manhattan

Why Lower Manhattan?

Lower Manhattan is at the core of New York City’s transportation system, economy, and civic life. It is the birthplace of New York City, dating back to the 17th century. However, this area’s human history began much earlier when the Lenape people settled here over 3,000 years ago. Over the centuries, Lower Manhattan has continued to reinvent itself as part of a transforming and growing city. Today, it remains an iconic global symbol and an exemplar of dynamism and resilience in the face of change.

Lower Manhattan serves as both a destination and gateway for residents, workers, and visitors from across the city, region, and world.

What happens in Lower Manhattan impacts New Yorkers in every corner of our city.

Millions of people travel through Lower Manhattan by rail, bus, car, and ferry every day, including over 415,000 daily subway and PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) train riders and 93,000 daily ferry riders. Lower Manhattan provides connections across all five boroughs and to other regional centers like Midtown, Jersey City, and Downtown Brooklyn.

New Yorkers from every neighborhood work in Lower Manhattan, from small business owners to construction and building trade workers, to those in the healthcare, education, technology, civic, and financial sectors. As one of the largest business districts in the United States, Lower Manhattan is not only central to the economy of the city, but also to the region as a whole.

Lower Manhattan is also more than just a business district; it is a residential community that has tripled over the past two decades. Lower Manhattan also welcomes tens of thousands of students as well as millions of visitors every year. It is a regional center of culture, community, and civic life.


Why a Climate Resilience Plan?

Lower Manhattan is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its low-lying shoreline. As early as the 2040s, Lower Manhattan’s shoreline will begin to experience frequent tidal flooding due to sea level rise, impacting streets, sidewalks, buildings, and critical infrastructure. By the end of this century, daily high tides will reach up to three blocks inland to Pearl Street. However, the impacts of climate change are not limited to the future; they are already being felt acutely today. Hurricane Sandy devastated the area in 2012, taking two lives and damaging buildings, streets, and infrastructure. In 2021, Tropical Storm Henri and Hurricane Ida brought record rainfall to the city. These threats will only increase over time.

Failure to act will render much of this area unusable, leading to the loss of Lower Manhattan—along with its critical citywide functions—as we know it today. Such a devastating impact on our economy, transportation, and identify, affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of New Yorkers, is not an option.

Given the scale and severity of these risks, the City is acting now to address them by advancing over $900 million in infrastructure projects to protect Lower Manhattan. In 2019, the City released the Lower Manhattan Climate Resilience Study, a comprehensive multi-hazard climate risk assessment, highlighting the vulnerabilities of the area. The report identified infrastructure projects to adapt and protect 70% of Lower Manhattan’s shoreline, but found the areas between The Battery and the Brooklyn Bridge particularly challenging and in need of further study. This included examining the need to extend the shoreline of Lower Manhattan into the East River to construct flood defense infrastructure. This master plan sets out to fill this critical gap in realizing a resilient Lower Manhattan. Combined, these projects along with the master plan comprise the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) strategy.

Brooklyn Bridge to The Battery is a missing link in realizing a resilient Lower Manhattan.

Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) is the City’s strategy to adapt Lower Manhattan to climate change for this generation and the next. The City released the LMCR study in March 2019; it was the most comprehensive assessment to date of the area’s climate risks.

Because of Lower Manhattan’s vulnerabilities, the City is taking action now—investing $500 million to protect workers, residents, businesses, schools, critical infrastructure and more across 70% of Lower Manhattan’s coastline. For each project, the resiliency strategy and design of flood protection infrastructure is tailored to the neighborhood’s unique context and flood risk.

The City is working to identify the right resiliency projects for the Financial District (“FiDi”) and South Street Seaport (the “Seaport”) neighborhoods. While there are interim flood protection measures in place for a section of the area, they are short-term solutions. The area’s low-lying topography, dense infrastructure, and complex waterfront and maritime uses make it particularly challenging to adapt for the long-term.

To respond to this challenge, we are advancing the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan.

Learn More About Each of the LMCR Projects:

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Montgomery Coastal Resilience
  2. Battery Park City Coastal Resiliency
  3. The Battery Coastal Resiliency
Brooklyn Bridge to The Battery is a missing link in realizing a resilient Lower Manhattan.

Battery Park City Coastal Resilience Projects

Lead: Battery Park City Authority (BPCA)

This includes a series of resilience projects and drainage improvements to provide flood risk reduction for Battery Park City and parts of adjacent neighborhoods in response to the threats of coastal storm surge and sea level rise.

Project Cost: $221 million (South BPC); $630 million (North/West BPC)

The Battery Coastal Resilience

Lead: New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), NYC Parks

This project will raise and harden the esplanade that runs along The Battery, protecting this important open space while preserving its historic character and active waterfront uses. The flood defense will be designed to protect against sea level rise through 2100.

Project Cost: $165 million

Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resilience (BMCR)

Lead: NYCEDC, NYC Department of Design and Construction

This project combines permanent floodwalls with floodgates that are hidden during normal weather conditions and flip-up during a coastal storm to create a complete line of flood protection. This project also includes drainage improvements and community amenities, such as playgrounds, benches, and seating.

Project Cost: $522 million

Seaport Coastal Resilience (SPCR)

Lead: NYCEDC, Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice (MOCEJ)

The City is acting now to protect the Seaport, which is the lowest-lying and most vulnerable portion of the master plan’s study area. The project will raise the esplanade approximately three to five feet to defend against tidal flooding and coastal storms and includes drainage improvements. The project will also improve waterfront access for pedestrians and cyclists. The City is seeking federal funding to complement the City’s commitment. 

Project Cost: $110 million

What Makes Constructing this Infrastructure on Land so Challenging?

The Financial District and South Street Seaport neighborhoods are unique within the geography of Lower Manhattan, facing unprecedented challenges to implementing a flood defense system. Along this one-mile stretch, a complex mix of infrastructure—including subway tunnels and stations, tunnels for vehicles, underground utilities, and an elevated highway—limit what can be built on existing land. Combined with limited space along the waterfront, in addition to the presence of active ferries, vessel traffic, and other maritime operations, constructing a flood defense system here is a monumental challenge. The area is also low-lying and experiences larger waves during coastal storms compared to neighboring areas, further limiting the types of infrastructure that can provide flood protection.

Other neighborhoods – like the Lower East Side – have wide-open spaces that can accommodate coastal flood protection infrastructure. 
By contrast, space is significantly more limited along the shoreline in the Financial District and Seaport. 

Solving this challenge is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a better waterfront for all, while preserving the essential functions and historic character of the area. This master plan provides flood defense for these neighborhoods, overcomes highly complex technical constraints, and envisions a transformed public waterfront for all to enjoy.

What Is the City Doing in Other Neighborhoods?

The City has invested more than $20 billion in climate resiliency to-date and major projects are ongoing in all five boroughs. For more information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice website.

What Does Lower Manhattan Mean to You?

Here's what we heard from you!
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I think of FiDi as New Amsterdam, the original Dutch settlement that laid the blueprint for the city that became New York. We must protect and preserve what is left of it and make sure this area is secure as the climate shifts around us. It is also, of course, a growing neighborhood and the beating heart of a major metropolis � creative, robust, integrated resiliency planning is necessary to make sure the many people who live, work, and pass through here can continue to thrive.

-Jennifer McDermott
There\'s a growing residential populations here who need more amenities - open space, grocery stores, etc.

Lower Manhattan is our home! What I loved about living and working in Lower Manhattan was proximity to the water, how open it is, and how vibrant and diverse the community is. For outboard proposals, please consider porosity of the development edge. Flood protection is necessary, but so is the preservation of the form/character of the area (especially the low, historic areas). It would also be great if more green (not just hardscape parks) were implemented, to serve double duty, interspersed with higher density outboard interventions (to avoid a wall of development). Outboard development also needs to remain inclusive to the incomes and backgrounds that already exist in communities (e.g. Seaport/Two Bridges).

Lower Manhattan deserves protection from storm surge and sea level rise. The answer is a \'layered defense\" with local sea walls to protect against slowly rising sea levels and a regional sea gate system connect Breezy point to sandy hook and across Throgs Neck to protect lower manhattan and all of NYC\'s 550 miles of coastline in a way that actually meets our social justice values To dat ether City has utterly failed to meet its obligation to protect Lower Manhattan as well as the other boroughs

Away from the noise and crowds of Midtown, Lower Manhattan has a completely different vibe to it. It is drenched in history, with the Statue of Liberty symbolizing a new dawn of opportunity for millions of immigrants over the years. Lower Manhattan is home away from home for me! And I strive every day, both personally and professionally, to protect it against the elements.

-Latha Chandrasekaran
FIDI Lower Manhattan has been my home for 42 years and it needs protection from climate change danger. Super Storm Sandy was a wake up call and to date there are no plans to remediate the problem. A resiliency park on an empty lot could be used as part of the solution.

-Linda Roche

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