Some of Tribeca Is in Battery Park City's Plan for Its Flood Protection

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy flooded the north end of Battery Park City, including Rockefeller Park, shown here. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Oct. 05, 2019

Parts of Tribeca appear to be headed for storm protection, if only for the sake of saving the north end of its neighbor, Battery Park City. 

That’s the preliminary finding of consultants, hired by the Battery Park City Authority, to come up with a plan for preventing a massive future storm from inundating the north neighborhood.

The project, roughly estimated to cost $85 million and expected to be completed by the end of 2022, is one of four in various stages of planning that together are meant to protect Battery Park City’s entire 92 acres from a devastating flood in the coming decades. 

The public got a look at the preliminary study for the project during a presentation last week by the Authority and its consultants, Aecom. The barrier system, which is yet to be designed, would protect Battery Park City along the north esplanade to the end of Chambers Street, and extend east across West Street into Tribeca. (In Battery Park City, the barrier would connect with a much longer, separate project that would run along the west side to Wagner Park.) 

The area being studied includes Stuyvesant High School and the residential tower Tribeca Pointe in Battery Park City and, potentially, Borough of Manhattan Community College, the northern end of Hudson River Park, Independence Plaza and Washington Market Park in Tribeca.

The consultants are looking at three options for aligning Battery Park City’s protections with Tribeca’s. “We have to be able to match the high point in Battery Park City on the west side of Stuyvesant to a corresponding high point on the other side of [Route] 9A,” explained Gwen Dawson, the Authority’s vice president for real property. “What we’re trying to determine is the most effective and cost efficient way of getting to that high point in the manner of which we can achieve the greatest good and have the least amount of negative impact.


The barrier alignment of the Chambers Street Alternative would run along the north edge of Battery Park City, turn south to Chambers Street and run for a block to a block and a half along Chambers into Tribeca.


The Harrison Street Alternative turns north beyond Stuyvesant High School, either on the east or west side of West Street and ends at the highest elevation point, which according to the AECOM map is short of Greenwich Street.


The North Moore Street Alternative would extend the barrier system to the high ground on that street, which Aecom says is about halfway between Greenwich Street and Hudson Street.

In February, the consultants are expected to return with their recommended option and design concept.

Alice Blank, chair of Community Board 1’s Environmental Protection Committee, asked why Canal Street was not considered as a northern-most alternative for Tribeca. “It seems like the obvious place for demarkation, and it was one of the most acutely affected areas,” she said. “It seems like a missed opportunity.” 

Dawson said the Authority’s mandate is to protect Battery Park City properties, and that’s what justifies the bonded funds that will pay for it. “We’re going to end up protecting other assets in Lower Manhattan as well,” she said. “But without doing that we wouldn’t be able to protect Battery Park City assets.”

“From a very technical standpoint,” added Garrett Avery of AECOM, “North Moore Street is a very clean alternative given our mandate and our ability to operate on behalf of Battery Park City.”

Jordan Salinger, from the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, said the city is in the early stages of looking at interim flood protection measures for Tribeca’s northwest neighborhood up to Canal Street and possibly beyond. The city, he said, is also partnering with Army Corps of Engineers’ on its New York and New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study that includes Tribeca. A plan from them is expected in the spring, he said.

“We recognize there’s risk for this neighborhood,” Salinger said. “There’s more work to be done, but we are working across all of our agencies and authorities to address the issue.”