Videos of NYC’s flooded streets and subways raise concerns

The East River and FDR just before the arrival of superstorm Sandy.
The East River and FDR just before the arrival of superstorm Sandy.
Donald Bowers Photography/Shutterstock
The East River and FDR just before the arrival of superstorm Sandy.

Videos of NYC’s flooded streets and subways raise concerns

Can the city withstand another Sandy?
July 23, 2019

A torrential downpour on Monday night led to some dramatic, if short-lived, flooding in New York City’s streets and subways, which caused quite a stir as videos of streets that had turned into rivers began to circulate online.

The videos of flooding in the city also called into question whether or not New York’s infrastructure could withstand another major flooding event like superstorm Sandy. Such events are likely to become more common, as climate change leads to higher sea levels and more extreme storms. A study published in 2017 stated that New York City could get hit with a flood every five years.

As City & State reported in April, New York City has several projects in the works to help prepare for its next big storm, such as the development of coastal protections in Battery Park City, fortifying the Battery, the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project and a number of smaller interim flood protection measures, including water-filled dams and sand-filled barriers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also unveiled a $10 billion plan to extend the shoreline of the Financial District and South Street Seaport neighborhoods on the east side of Manhattan by two full city blocks, to protect the city from rising sea levels. 

Despite the projects in the works, New York City still appears to lack the ability to prevent significant flooding, as multiple videos captured on Monday evening. One woman was filmed clearing the Long Island Expressway’s sewer of debris to help drain the roadway and prevent further flooding. While other New Yorkers were documented wading through flooded city streets and coming up with MacGyver-esque ways to avoid getting soaked during their evening commute. Here are some of the most remarkable videos that capture Monday night’s flooding:

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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