Warned Years Ago, Mayor Adams Launches Battery Coastal Resilience To Protect Lower Manhattan Urges Federal Funding

May 6, 2024

NYC Mayor Adams today announced the groundbreaking of Battery Coastal Resilience, a critical, $200-million component of the overall Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency strategy to protect the coming flood Harlem’s Dr. Paul G. Falkowsky talked about in 2018

Led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), and the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ), Battery Coastal Resilience — a key initiative announced in Mayor Adams’ State of the City address earlier this year — will rebuild and elevate the wharf promenade in The Battery, staying true to the character and uses of the park while protecting against projected sea level rise in the year 2100. The project is expected to be complete in 2026 and will protect the 100,000 residents, 300,000 jobs, and 12,000 businesses that call lower Manhattan home. Additionally, the project will create 400 construction jobs.

“For every $1 invested in coastal infrastructure projects, $6 is saved in recovery costs.”

Mayor Adams today also called on the federal government to create a regular, recurring source of federal funding for coastal infrastructure that would enable New York City to complete critical resiliency projects. For every $1 invested in coastal infrastructure projects, $6 is saved in recovery costs. A regular, recurring funding program would help New York City more reliably access federal funding for crucial projects to protect more New Yorkers from climate change hazards.


“We’re building a more resilient, more sustainable city for today’s New Yorkers and for generations to come, and our coastal resiliency projects are key pieces of that work,” said Mayor Adams. “The Battery Coastal Resilience project will help protect Lower Manhattan from the stronger storms that climate change is bringing while ensuring that New Yorkers can still enjoy the beautiful green space and cultural icons that The Battery has come to be known for. We’re investing billions in green and grey infrastructure across the city to ensure that New York City is ready for whatever Mother Nature can throw at us. And because the need for these projects isn’t going away any time soon, we need the federal government to establish reliable sources of funding for key coastal resiliency work across the country.”

Related: Harlem Native Dr. Paul G. Falkowski Wins Nobel Prize For The Environment warns of coming to Harlem to Houston flood.

“Climate change is the defining fight of our generation; the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency strategy is a bold effort to protect this jewel of a city. It is also just one tool in a huge and growing toolkit that we are using to protect not just Manhattan but all five boroughs against heat, stronger storms, increased rain, and even smoke,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “From barrier walls to protect us from storm surges to bluebelts to capture rain, we need to commit to every component of our broad-based fight against this crisis. And we need every tool — with better, faster, cheaper capital delivery — to ensure we win.”


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“As we made clear in the recently-published Green Economy Action Plan, the City of New York is the world’s leader on climate-forward policies, which includes upgrading our built environment to be more resilient in the face of more frequent and more powerful storms,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “I’d like to thank my colleagues across city government for their collaboration on this project, with special thanks to EDC. With this groundbreaking, we are mitigating the threat of sea-level rise to lower Manhattan for decades to come and advancing the city’s position as a global pioneer in the fight against climate change.”

According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), coastal New York City is experiencing higher rates of sea level rise than the global average. NPCC projects, at the higher end, 23 inches of sea level rise by the 2050s and 65 inches of sea level rise by 2100. The project will protect New Yorkers from that sea level rise and will include the reconstruction of the deteriorating wharf; preservation and enhancement of the park’s character, gardens, and community amenities; memorials and historic monuments; adaptability to future passenger ferry needs, universally accessible design principles; and more.

Battery Coastal Resilience has received a Platinum award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision program, which promotes industry-wide sustainability metrics and fosters cost-effective, energy-efficient, and adaptable long-term infrastructure investments. Battery Coastal Resilience is the first major project in the city to meet the commitments of the NYC Clean Construction Accelerator of reducing embodied emissions by over 50 percent. Battery Coastal Resilience will use low-carbon and recycled materials, and it will reduce truck traffic through using barge transportation. This equates to the removal of more than 2,000 trucks from the roadways in Lower Manhattan, avoiding approximately 400 metric tons of carbon emissions. Battery Coastal Resilience exemplifies the way that mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change can be complementary in major capital projects. This strategy will be critical as more coastal resiliency projects continue throughout the city and raises the bar to achieve for future climate solutions.  Battery Coastal Resilience exemplifies the way that mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change can be complementary in major capital projects. This strategy will be critical as more coastal resiliency projects continue throughout the city and raises the bar to achieve for future climate solutions. 

Map of Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Projects. Credit: NYCEDC

Also highlighted today was the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project (SBPCR), a Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency initiative led by the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and currently under construction adjacent to the Battery Coastal Resilience site. Creating a physical tie-in with Battery Coastal Resilience, SBPCR will create an integrated coastal flood risk management system extending along the northern border of Battery Park, across Pier A Plaza, through a rebuilt Wagner Park, and to the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Under the Adams administration, the city is embarking on historic, multibillion-dollar work to fight climate hazards and advance environmental justice. The projects in The Battery are part of over $1.7 billion in Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency climate adaptation capital investments. These investments include the $350 million Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resilience, which began construction in fall of 2022. Construction is also advancing on the $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency project, with the first two public areas opening in 2022 and 2023, and other coastal projects are in progress in all five boroughs. For example, as part of the city’s citywide efforts to reduce coastal risk, the administration recently completed construction on the Old Howard Beach Street project, which will protect New Yorkers from what would have been routine tidal flooding in 2050.

Citywide Coastal Resilience Projects. Credit: MOCEJ

“Climate change presents a real, ongoing threat to New York City, and Lower Manhattan in particular,” said New York City Chief Climate Officer and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “These coastal resiliency projects are important steps toward protecting the area against rising sea levels, flooding, and extreme weather events that continue to happen more frequently. DEP is proud to be a part of New York City’s efforts to improve The Battery’s resilience against climate change and ensure that Lower Manhattan remains a vibrant neighborhood for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.”

“The Battery first became a critical part of Lower Manhattan’s coastal defenses 400 years ago. Today, we are building on that history to respond to the new threat of rising seas, while also restoring its magnificent gardens and enhancing its iconic views,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Parks is proud of our work with our partners on this urgent project to replace the deteriorated wharf and esplanade with a new, higher structure, providing uninterrupted ferry access to the Statue of Liberty for many decades to come and increasing accessibility to the waterfront, using sustainable construction methods and protecting the park’s character.”

“”Battery Coastal Resilience is a key part of our strategy to protect our ever-evolving shorelines from the intensifying impacts of climate change,” said MOCEJ Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson. “New York City is executing complex coastal resilience projects in our dense urban environment and this project is a window into the future of sustainable and clean construction practices where we use our waterways and marine highway instead of trucks, and where we use low-carbon and recycled materials for construction in a cost-effective way that reduces construction impacts to our neighbors.” 

“The Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project sets the standard for future projects of this kind, marrying coastal protection with an ambitious sustainability agenda,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “Breaking ground on the Battery Coastal Resiliency portion of Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency marks a huge win in advancing the work to protect our city from future sea-level rising and flooding due to climate change. NYCEDC is thrilled to work on this with MOCEJ and NYC Parks to deliver a sustainable and resilient future for all New Yorkers.”

“DDC installed the city’s first flood gate on Manhattan’s east side in 2022, and we are cumulatively building 3.2 miles of shoreline protection from the Brooklyn Bridge up to East 25th Street,” said New York City Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley. “Soon we will start similar work in Red Hook, Brooklyn. These projects are protecting New Yorkers in NYCHA and other housing, as well as important public buildings such as firehouse and clinics, from the effects of future storms and anticipated tidal flooding. They also are an opportunity to enhance public recreation spaces and expand access to the river, which our Lower Manhattan resiliency projects are doing. We opened the improved Stuyvesant Cove Park last summer and this fall we anticipate opening the first parts of the new East River Park.”

“Superstorm Sandy pushed nearly 10 feet of damaging salt water over The Battery that submerged much of Lower Manhattan, including our subways and vehicular tunnels. With shovels in the ground on these coastal protection projects, we are one step closer to safeguarding this critical part of New York City,” said DEP Deputy Commissioner for Coastal Resilience Laurian Farrell. “Similarly, after years of planning and working with our federal partners and local communities, we anticipate several additional coastal protection projects to get under way soon, including in Brooklyn and on Staten Island.”

“… preserving this area in the face of the growing threat of climate change.”

“I thank Mayor Adams and all of those in city government who have been working hard for years to envision and put forth comprehensive initiatives to create and protect resilient communities in Lower Manhattan and across the city, including this Battery Coastal Resilience initiative, which is critical piece of the puzzle,” said New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “I am especially pleased that this project includes rebuilding and elevating the wharf promenade in The Battery. While plans like this one will no doubt need to be reviewed and augmented as the years go by, the city has been engaging with the local community for some time now and is taking decisive action today toward preserving this area in the face of the growing threat of climate change.”

Resiliency infrastructure is key to New York City’s very survival: sea levels may rise as much as 5.4 feet by the end of the century, threatening the 20 percent of our city lying in a floodplain,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “The $200 million Battery Coastal Resilience project, part of the greater Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency, is a cornerstone of our plan to withstand and recover from increasingly intense storms. This project will utilize an enhanced drainage system, salt-tolerant trees and plantings, and permeable pavers to safeguard 100,000 of our fellow New Yorkers from the devastation of climate change. We will also use this project as an opportunity to rebuild the wharf, beautify the park, and make it inviting and accessible for all. This plan is advancing our goal of making New York City.”

“My district knows all too well the need for increased resiliency to protect against future weather events,” said New York City Councilmember Joann Ariola. “This project will go a long way towards protecting the people of Manhattan, and I hope that it expands to safeguard other portions of the city as well.”

New York City and State partners are at work across Lower Manhattan to adapt our coastline to our changing climate and, in the process, reinvent incredible new public spaces along the waterfront we all cherish,” said BPCA president and CEO Raju Mann. “Lower Manhattanites have a front-row seat to the threats presented by more frequent and intense storms, and with the leadership of Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams, we’re addressing these challenges head-on.” 

“As the climate crisis bears down and the impacts of extreme weather become greater and more frequent, it is absolutely essential that New York City takes steps now to build up its coastal resilience before it’s too late,” said Julie Tighe, president, New York League of Conservation Voters. “NYLCV applauds Mayor Adams for launching the Battery Coastal Resilience project, which is a key component of ensuring Lower Manhattan is protected from rising sea levels and remains a robust center of commerce for generations to come.

“The Waterfront Alliance is pleased to see yet more progress in New York City’s initiatives to work against the acceleration of climate change,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, president and CEO, Waterfront Alliance. “The Battery Coastal Resilience Project is a vital step forward in the coastal protection portfolio for lower Manhattan. With each new project the city gains the resources, skills, and experience that must bring similar projects faster to neighborhoods across all five boroughs.  Projects that combine resilient infrastructure with waterfront access for boats, ferries, and recreation are essential for a city surrounded by water. We are motivated to continuing to partner and work with the city’s climate teams as the agenda continues to be defined and as tools are developed to deliver infrastructure more quickly.”

“… unparalleled access to the waterfront helps set us apart …”

“The Battery Coastal Resilience will help protect the residents and businesses that call Lower Manhattan home from rising sea levels while ensuring the park retains its character and its historical significance,” said Jessica Lappin, president, Downtown Alliance. “Lower Manhattan’s unparalleled access to the waterfront helps set us apart, and we’re encouraged to see tangible progress on this crucially important project.”

“The city’s investment in fortifying the Battery’s coastal defenses is vital to safeguarding this historic neighborhood and iconic public spaces from the increasing threat of storm surge and sea level rise,” said Alice Blank, vice chair, Manhattan Community Board 1. “New York is leading the way in climate resiliency by undertaking critical infrastructure upgrades in vulnerable areas like the Battery to protect residents, businesses, and treasured landmarks for generations to come.”

Photo credit: 1) HWM. 2) Map of Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Projects. Credit: NYCEDC. 3) Citywide Coastal Resilience Projects. Credit: MOCEJ.NYC.gov.


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