Metropolitan Hospital’s Flood Wall Resiliency Project

On May 25, 2022, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), NYC Health + Hospitals, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray, and community members broke ground for a new flood protection system project at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in East Harlem. 

The project includes a perimeter flood wall and an upgraded storm water pumping system. The wall will vary in height from eight to twelve feet, and includes resilient floodgates of up to 35 feet wide. The system is designed to keep out water from the hospital campus, which will allow for minimized damage and continued operations in the event of a major storm. Additional improvements will be made to protect loading docks, and to lighting, erosion control, fire protection and security. The basement walls will be hardened and areas of the hospital campus will be reconfigured to support these new features. 

Local artist Miguel Luciano was selected by a committee from NYCEDC, Health + Hospitals, the Department of Cultural Affairs and community members to create artwork for the design of the flood wall. The artwork will integrate infrastructure improvements into the community. 

The project is expected to cost $120 million and will be funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Construction is expected to go until summer 2024. For updates on the project, click here

Mayor Eric Adams stated, “The climate crisis is here, and we must ensure that New York City is ready for more frequent and more extreme weather events, especially at critical infrastructure sites, like our hospitals. This flood resiliency project shows federal, state, and city government partnership at its best — getting stuff done to protect New Yorkers. This flood wall will ensure the health care heroes at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan can continue fully serving their patients and helping them get better for generations to come.”

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Chief Executive Office Cristina Contreras stated, “We are grateful for the partnership with both the federal and local government to build a stronger and more resilient protection for our hospital. This comprehensive and innovative infrastructure project will mitigate the weaknesses exposed by Superstorm Sandy and provide our staff with the peace of mind of knowing that if we should experience any future natural weather disasters, the hospital and the community will be protected, and they can focus on what they do best – providing high-quality care for our patients and their families.”

Fathers’ Day is Harlem’s Skyscraper Classic Day

On June 19th, come out to Marcus Garvey Park to watch top talent in cycling do fast-paced loops in Harlem’s Skyscraper Classic Race.

This will be the 47th running of this cycling race.

The excitement starts at 9 and goes to 4pm

Say Their Names 2022

KICK-OFF THE JUNETEETH WEEKEND AT MARCUS GARVEY PARK!

Friday, June 17th
12-3 PM on NW lawn
New York Public Library, Harlem Branch and Studio Museum in Harlem,
with children’s storytime, giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price
sculpture curated by the Studio Museum. 

3:15 – 7:30 PM“Say Their Names” by Poet Gold, Suprina & Sounds of Heritage
In recognition of the lives taken by racism including those recently lost in Buffalo, NY and
Uvalde, Texas. Interactive workshops, Silent Processional through the park, and on-stage
performance preceding film screening. Co-sponsors Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and NYC Parks

SPECIFIC DETAILS FOR JUNE 17

3:15 – 4:00 & 4:15 – 5 PM Walkway outside NW Lawn – Look for Themis the 9 foot Puppet. 
Poet Gold’s Dream Out Loud poetry workshop designed to explore how one can be a “Beacon of Change” in the face of oppression and to create poetry that fosters empowerment and raises the voice for social equity. Participants are encouraged to address loss by adding the names of those lost due to racist acts to the cape of Themis, a giant 9 ft. living sculpture created by artist, Suprina.

6 – 7 PM DJ Boogie Blind

7:00 PM Procession line-up Walkway outside NW lawn

Community members line-up for silent procession through the park with Themis wearing the cape on which names from the workshops were added led by Poet Gold, Suprina, and Sounds of Heritage.

7:25 PM PROCESSIONAL arrives in orchestra pit of the Amphitheater

7:30 PM Pre Performance on stage by Poet Gold and Sounds Of Heritage

8 PM at Amphitheater Outdoor screening of Questlove’s Oscar®-winning documentary, “Summer of Soul,” presented by Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage.

Saturday, June 18th

12-3 PM at NW lawn   NYPL Harlem and Studio Museum with children’s storytime,
giveaways and tour/talk about the Thomas J. Price sculpture. 

5:30 – 6:30 PM at Richard Rodgers Amphitheater   
Pre-show conversation with the Federation of Black Cowboys and come meet their horses 

7 PM at Amphitheater  CROSS THAT RIVER
Join the Federation of Black Cowboys and the Federation of Black Cowboys and then Harlem’s own star Allan Harris – globally- renowned for his jazz vocals, guitar and songwriting
in the music & theatrical storytelling of Blu, who runs away from slavery to become a cowboy out west.
Did you know that 1 in 4 cowboys were Black men? Presented by NYC ParksCity College Center for the ArtsJazzmobile and Love Productions.

Stormwater

With Ida in many residents’ minds, it’s useful to look at the latest maps of predicted flooding if another hurricane hits NYC.

New York City is facing multiple climate hazards that will impact daily life in the City in the future. Coastal storms, heat waves, sea level rise impacts, and extreme rain will strain our infrastructure and put New York City’s homes and businesses at risk. As climate change continues, these impacts are predicted to worsen in the coming decades.

The Stormwater Resiliency Plan and associated rainfall maps (beta) are the first City-wide analysis of how extreme rainfall will impact New Yorkers now and into the coming decades. The Plan also establishes key goals and initiatives for the next 10 years to ensure future investments made by City agencies consider and address impacts on rain-driven flooding vulnerability. The Plan and maps will be updated at minimum every four years. Read the Stormwater Resiliency Plan here: nyc.gov/resiliency

The maps focus on rain because it is by far the most common cause of precipitation-based flooding in NYC (as compared to other forms of precipitation, such as snow or sleet). Flooding caused by rainfall is more difficult to map than flooding from coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy. Unlike coastal flooding caused by hurricanes and Nor’easters, rainfall-based flooding can be caused by isolated storms in both waterfront and inland areas. Some may remember the heavy rains that fell in July of 2019. At the peak of the storm, the City’s weather stations recorded rates of almost five inches of rain per hour in central and northern Brooklyn. This resulted in flooding deeper than one foot in several locations across the City. By the 2080s, we know that extreme rain events are predicted to become 1.5 times more likely than today, and sea level will continue to rise by as much as 6 feet. Many of our sewers end up draining at or near coastal waters. As sea level rises, our sewer system cannot drain properly. On top of these stressors, NYC is similar to other cities in the US in that it is working with a sewer network first constructed decades ago, when we did not expect this amount and intensity of rainfall. By publishing this Plan and maps, the City is working to prepare for a future where extreme storms are more common.

The first map (below) shows what a moderate rainfall’s impact is predicted to be (darker blue meaning flooding more than 1 foot in the neighborhood:

The second map (below) shows what an intense rainfall event is likely to cause.

Again, dark blue indicates you can expect 1 foot or more of water on the street, and in houses and businesses:

You can read NYC’s full report on Floodwater here:

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/publications/stormwater-resiliency-plan.pdf

The full, interactive map, is here:

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/4b290961cac34643a49b9002f165fad8/

Stellar Harlem Restaurants

Eater has a map and listing of a number of stellar restaurants in Harlem and East Harlem:

https://ny.eater.com/maps/best-restaurants-harlem

East Harlem + Flooding

The https://welikia.org/ project to visualize the New York area before European explorers and colonists arrives is an incredible resource for anyone curious about the landscape of pre-contact New York.

Welika allows you to see how much more ‘pointed’ the lower tip of Manhattan was – jutting out into New York harbor – and how there were marshes, streams, ponds, and other water features in areas that are now part of Chinatown and the financial district.

Further north, in our neighborhood, you can see how Randall’s and Wards Island stood out, and were separated.

there is even an inlet or stream, paralleling East 108th Street to what is now the Harlem Meer in Central Park and then up (north) to the west of Marcus Garvey Park, and then over to 126/FDB.

In a zoomed-in view, the two hills in the yellowish marshland at the top of the screenshot are Big and Little Snake Hills. Big Snake Hill became Mount Morris. The smaller hill to the east (near Park/122) was leveled

All of this is to note that most of East Harlem is built on former marshlands or infill rubble. If you go to Lexington and 108th Street, for example, you can clearly see the depression that marks the former watercourse that essentially followed East 108th Street from the East River to Central Park.

The City has a great story on how a million-dollar report on the risk of flooding in East Harlem has not been released publicly: https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/1/25/22245050/de-blasios-1-million-flood-plan-shelved-and-hidden-from-high-risk-east-harlem. Indeed, a FOIL request for the report, resulted in a CIA level of redaction. It’s hard to believe that this amount of text on the topic of flood control needs to be hidden from residents:

But the De Blasio administration is afraid that something in there, beneath the blackouts, is somehow dangerous and something the public should not see.

Curious?

https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/contact-the-mayor.page

Senator Brian Benjamin

Senator Brian Benjamin at work in Albany: