Our Common Good
Let me be clear,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “We are not going to abandon the waterfront. We are not going to leave the Rockaways or Coney Island or Staten Island’s South Shore.” But he added that the city “cannot just rebuild what was there and hope for the best.”

“We have to build smarter and stronger and more sustainable,” he added, while conceding that the city had yet “to determine exactly what that means.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg vows to put more people in harms way. (via climateadaptation)

Last fall, as part of a massive report on climate change in New York, a research team led by Klaus Jacob of Columbia University drafted a case study that estimated the effects of a 100-year storm on the city’s transportation infrastructure. Considering MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota’s comments today that Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the subway was "worse than the worst case scenario," it seems pretty safe to put Sandy in the 100-year category. In that case, assuming the rest of the report holds true, the subway system could be looking at a recovery time of several weeks, with residual effects lasting for months and years.

The researchers modeled a potential 100-year storm that consisted of either a category 1 or 2 hurricane hitting nearby, or a severe nor’easter that coincided with high tide. (As we know now, Sandy was a hybrid of all three events.) The models predicted complete flooding of several tunnels after such an event, including all the tunnels in the East River.

Based on their models, Jacob and colleagues wrote that a 100-year storm could leave roughly 1 billion gallons of water to be pumped from the city’s network of subway tunnels. (To give you an idea of scale, that’s equal to the average daily consumption of drinking water in the city.) If all 14 tunnels flooded, it would take about five days to pump each one clear, according to the report. However that’s the best-case scenario; a week per tunnel is more likely.

Immediate flood-clearing isn’t the only concern. As Ted Mann writes for the Wall Street Journal, salt water is likely to have considerable residual effects on the aging subway system. Jacob and colleagues write that equipment damaged by brackish water will at least require time to clean and could also require time for replacement. In some cases, when the parts are too old and no longer in production, it could require completely new infrastructure

Google launched a new Hurricane Sandy crisis map specifically for New York City (http://goo.gl/g3HZw). The map features evacuation zone data from NYC Open Data, open shelters, weather information and live webcams. As the team identifies additional information, they’ll be updating the map.

Unlike New Orleans, New York City is above sea level. Yet the city is second only to New Orleans in the number of people living less than four feet above high tide — nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, according to the research group Climate Central.

The waters on the city’s doorstep have been rising roughly an inch a decade over the last century as oceans have warmed and expanded. But according to scientists advising the city, that rate is accelerating, because of environmental factors, and levels could rise two feet higher than today’s by midcentury. More frequent flooding is expected to become an uncomfortable reality.

With higher seas, a common storm could prove as damaging as the rare big storm or hurricane is today, scientists say. Were sea levels to rise four feet by the 2080s, for example, 34 percent of the city’s streets could lie in the flood-risk zone, compared with just 11 percent now, a 2011 study commissioned by the state said.

Via NYTimes steady rebuke of Bloomberg’s climate plans New York Faces Rising Seas and Slow City Action (via climateadaptation)
projectunbreakable:

Impromptu NYC photo day. Please feel free to pass along to your friends and followers!

projectunbreakable:

Impromptu NYC photo day. Please feel free to pass along to your friends and followers!

firthofforth:

whowatchesthenypd:

The New York Police Department has spied on Muslim New Yorkers for no other reason than that they are Muslim, according to documents released today by the Associated Press.


Step one is admitting you have a problem. #RacialProfilersAnonymous

BOOM.

Fox Business News recently ran a segment criticizing a collective bargaining agreement struck between workers and management in New York City’s hotel industry. Analysts on the program called the deal “a nightmare,” singling out the provisions raising wages for housekeepers as “shocking.” Fox’s reaction is consistent with its past coverage of worker’s issues, which has portrayed union efforts to secure higher wages and benefits for the working class as an affront to capitalism.

The agreement between the New York Hotel Trades Council A.F.L.-C.I.O, the union representing workers in New York’s hotel industry, and the Hotel Association of New York, the trade group representing hotel owners, gives housekeepers a 29% raise in their current salary over seven years, giving them a salary of $59,823 by the time the CBA expires.

Contrary to what Fox implied, hotel owners did not view the terms of the agreement as onerous. Management has publicly voiced its satisfaction with the deal. Joseph E. Spinnato, President of the Hotel Association described the deal as “good for our members, the union, and the city of New York.”

The pay increases are hardly “shocking” considering that the current pay for housekeepers of $46,337 is actually slightly below the median income of workers in the state of New York.

Fox appears to believe that a maid living on $60,000 in New York City is overpaid. But in February 2010, on the same program, Fox Business Analyst Chris Cotter claimed that living on $250,000 is “very, very tough” in New York. He made this claim to argue against an effort to raise taxes on the very wealthy.

climateadaptation:

One of my favorite blogs is The Big Picture, run by Barry Ritholtz. It’s primarily an economics blog for wonks.
A recent post introduces the difficulties of evaluating long-term municipal infrastructure finance (eg, capital improvement projects) in the context of cancelled infrastructure projects. Exciting, eh?
I don’t agree with every thing in the piece, but over all it’s an excellent introduction to a serious issue that cities around the country face: long-term budgetary shortfalls. Cities are, for the most part, taking in less taxes than they spend on services. As a result, politicians are forced to cut spending on things like services to the elderly, education, employee benefits, and, as here, beneficial drinking water projects (note: true, sometimes they cut on ideological reasons, but despite the headlines this type of action is rare).
Anyway, the above section of drinking water pipe has been leaking for decades. The red outline shows the leak location, and the dotted line shows a proposed fix - build a bypass pipe.
The leak is so big that people’s homes have had to be evacuated. There are expanding sink holes and people are suing for damages. So much water is leaking that it could fill 650,000 swimming pools, or provide 3million Bangladeshis with water per year. The leaks were to cost NYC $60million to fix - a drop in the bucket for NY.
The project got cancelled for budget cutting reasons. And now the leak continues indefinitely and fingers are pointing to who’s at fault (Grr! Bloomberg! Grr! Obama! etc. Grr! Financial vampires!).
Meanwhile, the leak continues, homes are threatened, and drinking water for NYC may be in trouble.

climateadaptation:

One of my favorite blogs is The Big Picture, run by Barry Ritholtz. It’s primarily an economics blog for wonks.

A recent post introduces the difficulties of evaluating long-term municipal infrastructure finance (eg, capital improvement projects) in the context of cancelled infrastructure projects. Exciting, eh?

I don’t agree with every thing in the piece, but over all it’s an excellent introduction to a serious issue that cities around the country face: long-term budgetary shortfalls. Cities are, for the most part, taking in less taxes than they spend on services. As a result, politicians are forced to cut spending on things like services to the elderly, education, employee benefits, and, as here, beneficial drinking water projects (note: true, sometimes they cut on ideological reasons, but despite the headlines this type of action is rare).

Anyway, the above section of drinking water pipe has been leaking for decades. The red outline shows the leak location, and the dotted line shows a proposed fix - build a bypass pipe.

The leak is so big that people’s homes have had to be evacuated. There are expanding sink holes and people are suing for damages. So much water is leaking that it could fill 650,000 swimming pools, or provide 3million Bangladeshis with water per year. The leaks were to cost NYC $60million to fix - a drop in the bucket for NY.

The project got cancelled for budget cutting reasons. And now the leak continues indefinitely and fingers are pointing to who’s at fault (Grr! Bloomberg! Grr! Obama! etc. Grr! Financial vampires!).

Meanwhile, the leak continues, homes are threatened, and drinking water for NYC may be in trouble.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has issued an internal message ordering officers in New York City not to interfere unreasonably with journalists’ access during news media coverage and warning that those who do will be subject to disciplinary action.

The message was being read at police precinct station houses around New York on Wednesday. It came after journalists, including two from The Associated Press, were arrested covering Occupy Wall Street protests.

theriverwanders:

politicore:

It’s called the Paid Detail Unit and it allows the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street corporations, including those repeatedly charged with crimes, to order up a flank of New York’s finest with the ease of dialing the deli for a pastrami on rye.

The corporations pay an average of $37 an hour (no medical, no pension benefit, no overtime pay) for a member of the NYPD, with gun, handcuffs and the ability to arrest. The officer is indemnified by the taxpayer, not the corporation.

New York City gets a 10 percent administrative fee on top of the $37 per hour paid to the police. The City’s 2011 budget called for $1,184,000 in Paid Detail fees, meaning private corporations were paying wages of $11.8 million to police participating in the Paid Detail Unit. The program has more than doubled in revenue to the city since 2002.

The taxpayer has paid for the training of the rent-a-cop, his uniform and gun, and will pick up the legal tab for lawsuits stemming from the police personnel following illegal instructions from its corporate master. Lawsuits have already sprung up from the program.

Holy shit.  That’s disturbing.

think-progress:

NYPD’s posted outside of David Koch’s building. Your tax dollars at work!
(H/T @elliottjustin)

think-progress:

NYPD’s posted outside of David Koch’s building. Your tax dollars at work!

(H/T @elliottjustin)

quickhits:

In NYC, Mayor Sics Cops on Protesters; In LA, Mayor Hands Out Rain Ponchos (AlterNet)

chaotrix:

speciousplans:

Contemplation.

[Image: a protester holds a cardboard sign that says “NYPD is only a layoff away from joining us!!!” Next to him are two police officers, one is discreetly peeking at the sign, the other looks in the other direction looking somewhat discomforted.]

chaotrix:

speciousplans:

Contemplation.

[Image: a protester holds a cardboard sign that says “NYPD is only a layoff away from joining us!!!” Next to him are two police officers, one is discreetly peeking at the sign, the other looks in the other direction looking somewhat discomforted.]

pieceinthepuzzlehumanity:

therestlessnative:

Cornel West full speech at #occupywallstreet

This is beautiful.