Why New York City's Flooding Its Own Subway Entrances

MTA reassured disoriented New Yorkers that it's flooding subway entrances on purpose, to test barriers that it hopes will guard the system against another Sandy.

1 minute read

November 27, 2019, 6:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


New York Subway

Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

When one pedestrian passed an entrance to the New York subway's G train in South Williamsburg, "she saw something was very off," writes Zoe Schlanger. "The station entrance, a staircase leading underground, was completely flooded. The water level appeared so high as to be flush with the sidewalk."

When her photo went viral, the Metropolitan Transit Authority clarified that it's "testing a barrier that could seal off subway entrances in the event of another flood like the one that hit the city during Hurricane Sandy in 2012."

Schlanger notes that the 2012 hurricane inundated several subway lines, leading to a whopping $5 billion in damage. "The MTA explicitly draws the connection between storm surge preparedness and climate change in several of its projects," she reports. As the MTA put it, "We're doing this because climate change is real."

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