MetroFocus: September 2, 2021

AFTER IDA

Record downpour from Tropical Storm Ida dropped historic rainfall across the tri-state area kicking off a flash flood emergency that claimed lives and crippled the MTA, suspended New Jersey rail and left tens of thousands without power from NYC to NJ, Westchester and Long Island. Tonight, we’re joined by reporters – Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max, The City transportation reporter Jose Martinez and City Limits Liz Donovan who’s on the climate change beat to share your stories from the storm front, survey the damage and discuss the State’s next move for our crumbling infrastructure.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO THIS 'METROFOCUS' SPECIAL REPORT.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

TONIGHT RECOVERY EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY AFTER HURRICANE IDA RIPPED THROUGH THE TRI STATE AREA CAUSING DESTRUCTION IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY.

AS OF OUR TAPING THIS AFTERNOON, MORE THAN A DOZEN PEOPLE HAVE REPORTEDLY BEEN KILLED.

MORE THAN 150,000 REMAIN WITHOUT POWER AND THERE WAS ALSO A CONFIRMED TORNADO IN THE GARDEN STATE.

IN THE FIVE BURROWS, THE TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR LEFT AT LEAST NINE PEOPLE DEAD.

AND SUBWAY STATIONS WERE UNDERWAY THROUGHOUT THE CITY, SEVERELY DISRUPTING SERVICE.

IN JUST ONE HOUR, CENTRAL PARK RECEIVED OVER THREE INCHES OF RAIN, AN ALL-TIME RECORD THAT WAS SHATTERED THE PREVIOUS WEEK SET MY TROPICAL STORM HENRI.

IS OUR REGION EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE RAPIDLY CHANGING CLIMATE?

AND THE NEW WEATHER PATTERNS THAT SEEM TO BE EMERGING.

JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THE IMPACT OF LAST NIGHT'S FLOODING AND WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE FOR NEW YORK CITY AND BEYOND IS BEN MATZ.

HE IS THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR.

BEN, WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS, JENNA.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY JOSE MARTINEZ.

JOSE, WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INVITING ME.

WE'RE JOINED BY LIZ DONOVAN.

BUSINESS, IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU JOIN US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

SO, BEN, I'LL START WITH YOU AND SAY, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE SCOPE AND THE SCALE OF THE DESTRUCTION AND DEVASTATION THAT HIT THE TRI-STATE OVERNIGHT?

WELL, I THINK YOU OUTLINED, OF COURSE, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF IT, WHICH IS THE LOSS OF LIFE, AND I WILL EXPRESS MY CONDOLENCES TO ANYONE WHO LOST ANYONE IN THE STORM.

IT IS DEVASTATING.

I THINK IN TERMS OF THE REAL ASSESSMENT BEYOND THAT LOSS OF LIFE, AND THERE MIGHT STILL BE OTHERS WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT WITH INFORMATION FORTHCOMING, I THINK IT WILL TAKE SOME TIME TO ASSESS THE FULL DAMAGE.

WE HEARD THE GOVERNOR AND OTHERS HOLD A PRESS BRIEFING, AND THAT'S BASICALLY NEXT ON THEIR AGENDA, IS TRYING TO GET TRANSIT UP AND RUNNING AND ALSO GET A REAL ASSESSMENT OF THE DAMAGE.

SO I DON'T THINK WE'LL KNOW THE FULL DETAILS OF THAT.

JOSE, I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON IT BECAUSE FOR ANYONE THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA, ET CETERA, WE HAVE SEEN REALLY HORRIFIC DESTRUCTIVE SCENES OF JUST FLOODING IN THE SUBWAY SYSTEMS, ET CETERA, AND BUSSES GETTING STUCK IN WATER.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW SO FAR OF THE DESTRUCTION?

WELL, THIS IS AN UGLY ONE.

YOU KNOW, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THE MTA USED TO REFER TO AS A 100-YEAR STORM, WHERE THERE IS SUCH SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE.

UNFORTUNATELY, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, WITH EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENING, NOW IT'S BEING DESCRIBED BY SOME AS AN EVERY OTHER WEEK STORM.

VERY SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE IN SUBWAY STATIONS, TO BUS DOEEPOSN LOW-LYING AREAS.

ANY PLACE WHERE WATER GETS INTO THE SYSTEM, THAT'S A DANGER BECAUSE YOU HAVE CRITICAL EQUIPMENT, ELECTRICITY MIXING WITH WATER AND THOSE TWO DON'T MIX.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S HAPPENED REPEATEDLY IN RECENT MONTHS IN THE SUBWAY STATION WHERE YOU HAVE STATIONS FLOODED, WHERE YOU HAVE COMMUTERS CUTOFF WHILE TRYING TO GET HOME.

AND I GUESS WE SHOULD SAY, IF NOTHING ELSE, AT LEAST THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN DURING RUSH HOUR.

TRUE, TRUE.

I GUESS THAT WAS ONE MERCY THROUGHOUT THE STORM.

LIZ, I WANT TO TURN TO YOU AND SAY, YOU KNOW, THAT IS A THING.

THESE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE, YOU KNOW, 100-YEAR STORMS, ET CETERA.

WE JUST HAD TROPICAL STORM HENRI DUMP A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF WATER ON AN ALREADY SACH TURATE AREA AND NOW THIS.

WHAT ARE YOU SEEING DEVELOPING IN THE CHANGES FOR THE NORTHEAST REGION.

YEAH.

I MEAN, MAYOR de BLASIO SAID TODAY THE SPLIT IS A WAKEUP CALL FOR NEW YORK CITY.

FOR THOSE OF US THAT HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE REPORT WHICH CAME OUT EARLIER THIS MONTH OR LAST MONTH, WE TALKED ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO BE HAPPENING A LOT MORE FREQUENTLY.

THEY SPECIFICALLY MENTION CITIES THAT CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BE AMPLIFIED, FLOODING FROM HEAVY PARTICIPATION EVENTS.

AND, FRANKLY, THE MTA, IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE SUBWAY SYSTEM ISN'T READY TO HANDLE THESE FLASH FLOODING EVENTS.

A LOT OF THE WORK THAT'S BEEN DONE SINCE SUPER STORM SANDY HAS BEEN IN THE STORM SURGE AREA.

SO THIS IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT THE CITY HAS TO FOCUS ONGOING FORWARD.

OKAY.

SO WITH THAT IN MIND, BECAUSE, BEN, I FEEL LIKE, WELL, I GUESS BECAUSE WE JUST HAD HENRI, WE DISCUSSED THIS RECENTLY.

THE FACT THAT DRAINAGE DOESN'T REALLY SEEM LIKE A SUPER, YOU KNOW, SEXY OR URGENT ISSUE THAT POLITICIANS FOCUS ON.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW OF AT LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO JUST ADDRESSING THE DAMAGE THAT GOVERNMENT AT ALL LEVELS IS PREPARED TO DO?

YEAH.

I MEAN, I THINK THERE IS A NUMBER OF REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS HERE AROUND CITY, STATE, REGION, PREPARATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS.

THERE IS OBVIOUSLY A MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE BEING DEBATED AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT COMES THROUGH THERE IN TERMS OF MORE IMMEDIATE MIDDLE AND LONG-TERM NEEDS AND CHANGES.

YOU KNOW, I THINK WHAT LIZ AND JOSE BOTH GOT AT IN TERMS OF THIS URBAN FLOODING PROBLEM WE HAVE IS ONLY HEIGHTENING, IS ONLY BECOMING MORE OF A SOURCE OF CONCERN.

IT WAS DEFINITELY ALSO CONCERNING TO HEAR SOME GOVERNMENT LEADERS THIS MORNING AFTER THIS STORM SAY THINGS THEY HAVE SAID BEFORE.

AND IT SEEMED CLEAR THAT SOME OF OUR CITY, STATE, REGIONAL LEADERS WERE CAUGHT OFF GOURD BY THE INTENSITY OF THE STORM.

IN SOME WAYS NOT BY THAT MUCH.

THE INTENSITY OF THE STORM DEFINITELY DID.

BUT THE TOTAL PROJECTIONS WERE VERY CONCERNING, AND IT SEEMS LIKE THERE WERE SOME GAPS IN SOME OF THE WARNINGS THAT WERE GIVEN EARLY IN THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY AND THEN SOME OF THE RESPONSE AS THINGS GOT MORE INTENSE LATER IN THE DAY.

THAT WILL BE REALLY IMPORTANT FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

I DO THINK THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU JUST RAISED AROUND THE SORT OF MUNDANE ISSUE OF HOW DO YOU MANAGE STORM WATER BETTER IS, YOU KNOW, REALLY NEEDS TO BE PUSHED TO THE FOREFRONT HERE AS WE HAVE SEEN THESE TWO EVENTS IN SUCH A SHORT TIME.

WE KNEW THAT PREVIOUSLY, BUT IT REALLY NEEDS TO BE GIVEN A GREATER SENSE OF URGENCY.

THERE ARE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT HAVE BEEN SPENT.

BILLIONS MORE PLAN TO BE SPENT TO DO THINGS RELATED TO STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AND THOSE EFFORTS NEED TO BE RE -- YOU KNOW, REEVALUATED AND POTENTIALLY HEIGHTENED TO AVOID THE CATASTROPHES THAT WE HAVE JUST SEEN AS WELL AS REEVALUATING THE SORT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OF IT ALL AND WHEN EMERGENCIES ARE DECLARED, WHEN TRANSIT IS SHUT DOWN, WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT GETTING VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD AND SO MUCH MORE RELATED TO MANAGING THESE TYPES OF EVENTS GOING FORWARD.

JOSE, SPEAKING OF ALL OF THAT, I DO WONDER, WHEN IT COMES TO A LOT OF THE WATER WE SAW RUSHING INTO THE SUBWAY AND AS YOU MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, THAT'S GOING TO BE EFFECTING THE ELECTRICAL FIRES, THE ELECTRICAL TRACKS IN THE SUBWAY AND OF COURSE THE BUSSES, ET CETERA.

BUT WHAT I DON'T THINK IS LOST ON A LOT OF PEOPLE IS THAT THAT'S NOT JUST RAINWATER.

THAT'S ALSO MIXED WITH RAW SEWAGE WATER.

SO DO YOU SEE SOMETHING LIKE MANAGING DRAINAGE, I GUESS, BECOMING A CRITICAL PART OF HOW WE CONSIDER TRANSPORTATION WORKING?

LIKE WE HAVE, IT'S BEEN MENTIONED, THIS INFRASTRUCTURE BILL THAT IS ON THE PRECIPICE OF BECOMING A REALITY FOR US.

DO YOU SEE THAT AS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN IT?

WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MANAGE THESE BIG STORMS AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE IS A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF THEM THERE.

WE'LL PUT IT THIS WAY.

ON AN AVERAGE DAY, ALL RIGHT, A BEAUTIFUL DRY DAY LIKE TODAY THE SUBWAY WILL PUMP OUT 14 MILLION GALLONS OF WATER.

AGAIN, THAT'S ON A DRY DAY.

IMAGINE THIS WHEN YOU GET CLOBBERED AND YOU HAVE MULTIPLE SYSTEMS GET OVERRUN.

IF YOU HAVE DRAINS THAT ARE NOT CLEAR, THAT CREATES A FURTHER PROBLEM.

SO THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS WHERE THE CITY AND THE TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY HAVE TO WORK HAND IN HAND TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS DOES NOT KEEP HAPPENING.

AND, OF COURSE, THE MTA SPENT BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AFTER HURRICANE SANDY TO FORTIFY TUNNELS.

OF COURSE MANY WERE CLOSED FOR OVERNIGHTS OR IN SOME CASES WERE WEEKS AND MONTHS AT A TIME TO STRENGTHEN YARDS, TO KEEP THEM FROM FLOODING.

BUT YOU HAVE TO PROTECT AGAINST THE SUDDEN INFLUX LIKE WE HAD LAST EVENING.

AND IT IS NOT JUST THE STORM SURGE.

OTHERWISE, THE SUBWAY BECOMES THE DEFAULT SEWER SYSTEM.

YEAH, WHICH IS WHAT WE SAW, WHICH IS CONCERNING ON MULTIPLE, MULTIPLE LEVELS, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO FIXING ALL OF THIS.

BUT, LIZ, I DO WANT TO TURN TO YOU AND JUST ASK ABOUT CENTRAL PARK AND THE RAIN FALL BECAUSE, AGAIN, FOR TROPICAL STORM OR TROPICAL DEPRESSION HENRI, WE GOT REPORTS THAT CENTRAL PARK RECEIVED A RECORD BREAKING AMOUNT OF RAIN.

OF COURSE THAT RECORD WAS BROKEN A FEW DAYS LATER.

WHAT KIND OF INDICATOR IS THAT TELLING YOU ABOUT AT LEAST WHAT WE'RE SEEING HAPPEN WITH THE CHANGING CLIMATE FOR THIS AREA?

YEAH.

AND THIS IS -- WE HAVE ALSO SEEN WITH HEAT WAVES.

WE'RE CONSTANTLY BREAKING OUR OWN RECORDS CONSTANTLY WITH SCORCHING HEAT IN THE CITY.

WE ARE DEALING WITH MORE FREQUENT, EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS.

YOU KNOW, NEW YORK HAS A REALLY AGGRESSIVE CLIMATE.

THE CLIMATE POLICY THAT IS LOOKING AT REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT THAT WOULD TRY TO ADDRESS SOME OF THESE THINGS.

BUT IN A PRESS CONFERENCE SOMEBODY ASKED, WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

WE REALLY NEED TO SEE OUR CITY OFFICIALS FOCUSSING ON INFRASTRUCTURE LIKE THEY MENTIONED TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM BEING ABLE TO -- FROM THESE STORMS THAT WE'RE JUST GOING TO KEEP SEEING MORE OFTEN.

HEAT WAVES AND STORMS.

WELL, SPEAKING OF THAT QUESTION, WHAT DO WE DO NOW, AGAIN, AS WAS MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, THAT IT WAS REFERRED TO AS A WAKEUP CALL BY MAYOR de BLASIO.

BUT THE SAME THING WAS ESSENTIALLY SAID ABOUT HURRICANE SANDY SEVERAL YEARS AGO.

SO ARE WE PASSED THE POINT WHERE WHAT DO WE DO NOW IS A RELEVANT QUESTION?

OR IS THE URGENCY OF THAT QUESTION MORE CRITICAL THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN AND THAT MASSIVE URGENT ACTION NEEDS TO BE TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT.

I THINK -- I MEAN, WHEN WE SAW THE PASSAGE OF THE CLCPA IN 2019, THAT WAS, YOU KNOW, BEING REALLY AGGRESSIVE WITH DEALING WITH CLIMATE NOW.

BUT THEN, YOU KNOW, WE HAD JUST SAW A RATE HIKE GETTING APPROVED RELATED TO A NATIONAL GRID PIPELINE.

SO, YEAH, WE NEEDED TO BE DEALING WITH THIS YESTERDAY.

AND I'M HOPING THAT THIS ACTUALLY DOES SERVE AS A WAKEUP CALL FOR OFFICIALS GOING FORWARD.

I MEAN, I THINK IT'S CLEAR THAT GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BE OPERATING ON MANY LEVELS, YOU KNOW, SHORT-TERM, MEDIUM-TERM, LONG-TERM AND ACCELERATING THE ACTIONS.

A LOT OF THIS NEEDED TO HAPPEN YEARS AGO, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU STOP, YOU KNOW, FROM TRYING TO PUSH IT AHEAD NOW.

HOWEVER, IT DOES SORT OF ADD TO THE URGENCY AROUND BETTER EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS, AS I WAS MENTIONING BEFORE.

I THINK THE WAYS THAT THE IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDS TO BE TAKEN TO PROTECT PEOPLE NEED TO BE SCRUTINIZED BETTER, AND SOME OF THOSE WARNINGS SYSTEMS NEED TO BE ENHANCED.

THEN THERE IS ALSO, YOU KNOW, SHORT TERM MEASURES AROUND KEEPING SEWER LINES CLEAR.

YOU KNOW, YOU CAN NOTICE IN ALMOST ANY NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE CITY WALKING AROUND THAT WE JUST HAVE MAJOR PROBLEMS AROUND DRAINAGE NOT BEING CLEAR.

AND I'M ALWAYS LOOKING, AS I WALK AROUND, AHEAD OF A STORM TO SEE, YOU KNOW, HOW MANY DRAINS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD HAVE LOTS OF LEAVES, LOTS OF GARBAGE, LOTS OF THINGS BLOCKING THEM UP THAT CREATE ALL THESE BACKUPS.

THOSE ARE SOME OF THE SORT OF BASIC QUESTIONS OF MUNICIPAL, COUNTY, ET CETERA, GOVERNMENT THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE SHORT-TERM THAT ARE NOT THE SAME AS ADDRESSING CARBON EMISSIONS WHICH OF COURSE ALSO NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED.

THAT WAS THE ISSUE WE SAW, TOO.

IT WAS ABOUT A MONTH AGO, THE 157th STREET STATION RECEIVED A LOT OF FLOODING.

THE VIDEO WENT VIRAL ON TWITTER.

THAT WAS BECAUSE OF SEWAGE BLOCKING.

IT WAS ALSO THE FLASH FLOOD PROBLEM THAT WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER.

BUT, YEAH, THIS HAS TO INVOLVE MULTIPLE AGENCIES.

THEY HAVE TO BE COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER, AND, YEAH, THAT'S EXACTLY A GREAT POINT.

BEN, I WANT TO EXPAND ON YOUR POINT ABOUT THE ALERTS AND BETTER UNDERSTANDING THESE STORMS BECAUSE A LOT OF NEW YORKERS WERE SURPRISED.

THE FLASH FLOOD WARNING, IT WAS THE FIRST EVER FOR NEW YORK CITY.

BUT I THINK WHAT REALLY CAUGHT A LOT OF PEOPLE IS THEY GOT ALERTS ON THEIR PHONES ABOUT TORNADO WARNINGS WHICH IS ALMOST UNHEARD OF FOR NEW YORK CITY.

THERE IS ONE WE UNDERSTAND TOUCHED DOWN IN THE GARDEN STATE.

BUT DOES THERE NEED TO BE BETTER COMMUNICATION ON THE PART OF AT LEAST CITY GOVERNMENT LETTING PEOPLE KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT?

BECAUSE SAY IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE THAT, IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE A CELL PHONE AND YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT CARRIER, YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE GOTTEN THOSE ALERTS.

I THINK ALL THOSE SYSTEMS NEED TO BE LOOKED AT, YOU KNOW, AS I WAS MENTIONING AND DEFINITELY GROUNDS IN NEW YORK CITY, AT LEAST, FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF CITY COUNCIL OVERSIGHT HEARINGS, ESPECIALLY AS WE HEAD TO ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY OF SANDY HITTING AND EVEN THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEPTEMBER 11th ATTACKS.

THERE IS REASON TO ADDRESS THOSE EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS.

YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THE OTHER PIECES OF WHAT WE'RE DISCUSSING HERE ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO BE THE INVESTMENT IN SOME OF THE LOCAL BASICS, YOU KNOW, THINGS LIKE GREEN ROOFS AND MANY OTHER.

THERE ARE SO MANY PROJECTS WHERE PLANS HAVE BEEN LAID OUT BUT IMPLEMENTATION IS BEHIND SCHEDULE.

WE HAVE REPORTED THIS AND MANY OTHER OUTLETS REPORTED ON THIS THAT PLANS MADE AFTER SANDY AND THINGS ANNOUNCED YEARS AGO ARE BEHIND SCHEDULE AND THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT AXELING THOSE PLANS AND THAT IMPLEMENTATION AT THIS POINT.

RIGHT.

IF YOU LOOK AT -- IF YOU LOOK AT THE TRANSIT SYSTEM, BEN AND GENJE IN, NA, THERE IS SOME EXAMPLES THERE.

A LOT OF THE SANDY WORK, FEDERALLY FUNDING.

A LOT HAS BEEN DONE, BUT A LOT HAS NOT BEEN DONE.

SO WE HAVE SEEN SOME TUNNELS DAMAGED IN THAT STORM FORTIFIED.

BUT THERE ARE BIG YARDS AND NONE BIGGER THAN THE CONEY ISLAND YARD.

THE WORK IS STILL NOT COMPLETE THERE.

YOU HAVE TO PROTECT THE EQUIPMENT THAT'S IN THERE, AND THAT'S WHERE THEY GO TO REST.

IF THOSE PLACES FLOOD, THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING AT ALL FOR THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT DEPEND ON THE TRI STATE SYSTEM.

THE GROUP PUT OUT A REPORT ABOUT HAVING TO PROTECT BUS DEPOTS IN LOW-LYING AREAS BECAUSE IF THOSE FLOOD, THEN WHAT?

ESPECIALLY AS YOU HAVE MORE OF THE FLEET GOING TOWARDS ELECTRIC.

SO THESE ARE VERY SERIOUS ISSUES THAT HAVE TO BE A HUGE PART OF THE FUTURE AND OF THE DISCUSSION HERE IN NEW YORK.

WELL, AND THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS I ALSO WANTED TO BUILD ON IS THAT HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO TAKE THIS TIME TO GET THE FULL SYSTEM BACK UP AND RUNNING BECAUSE YOU DO HAVE SO MANY NEW YORKERS, ESPECIALLY IN OUTER AREAS, THAT RELY ON THE TRANSIT SYSTEM.

YEAH.

AND I'M LAUGHING BECAUSE UNFORTUNATELY, YOU KNOW, I WAS TALKING WITH SOME PEOPLE JUST THIS AFTERNOON, AND THEY HAD BEEN TRYING TO GET HOME LAST NIGHT.

GUESS WHAT TIME THEY WERE GETTING HOME?

RIGHT NOW AS WE TAPE THIS IN THE AFTERNOON.

SO IT'S BEEN THAT TYPE OF DAMAGE.

PEOPLE DEPEND ON THIS.

SO AFTER SANDY, REMEMBER, THE MTA DID A TERRIFIC JOB IN BRINGING THE SYSTEM BACK UP IN SHORT ORDER.

WITHIN DAYS, MUCH OF THE SYSTEM WAS UP AND RUNNING.

BUT IN THIS CASE, IT IS STILL TO BE DETERMINED AS TO WHEN IT GETS BACK AND AT FULL SERVICE.

BUT THE MTA DOES MANAGE TO BOUNCE BACK AND TO MAKE GOOD USE OF THE BUS SYSTEM.

BUT THE BIG -- THE BIG ISSUE IS OF COURSE PROTECTING WHAT'S UNDERGROUND, PROTECTING THE EQUIPMENT, PROTECTING THE TRAINS THAT MOVE THOSE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

AND THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE HAPPENING EVERY FEW MONTHS.

AND UNFORTUNATELY, THAT'S WHERE WE HAVE BEEN AT THIS SUMMER.

LET ME JUST TALK --

YEAH.

LET ME BRIEFLY UNDERSCORE THAT THERE WERE CLEARLY SOME GAPS IN TERMS OF HOW NEW YORK CITY AND NEW YORK STATE LEADERS REACTED TO WHAT WE SAW WITH THIS STORM.

THERE WERE WARNINGS ABOUT THE FORECAST.

THEY PUT OUT SOME OF THOSE.

THEY PUT SOME EMERGENCY MEASURES IN PLACE SORT OF EARLY IN THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY, BUT THEN AS THINGS SEEMED TO NOT BE COMING IN IN THE EARLY TO MID AFTERNOON, PEOPLE HAD A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY AND I THINK OUR GOVERNMENT LEADERS WERE LATE ON THIS.

THIS IS WHERE WE GET INTO THE PSYCHOLOGY OF, OH, WE WERE EXPECTING A ROUGHER TIME FROM HENRI, SO WE GOT A LITTLE LACKADAISICAL WITH IDA.

THEN YOU HEARD THE MAYOR TODAY SAYING HOW THE FORECAST MIGHT HAVE BEEN OFF, BUT WE CAN'T RELY ON THE FORECASTS BEFORE.

WE HAVE HEARD THAT BEFORE, AND IT CAN'T KEEP BEING DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN.

ESPECIALLY FOR PEOPLE, AS YOU KNOW, WHO ARE COMMUTING LONG DISTANCES.

THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE WE SAW DEVASTATED BY COVID NOW ALSO OF COURSE GET THE WORST OF THE OUTCOMES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND A LACK OF RESILIENCY PLANNING.

SO THESE MISTAKES JUST CAN'T KEEP HAPPENING.

AND THE OTHER ISSUE, TOO, IS THE RISK.

DO PEOPLE REALLY KNOW THE RISK WHEN THEY'RE GETTING THE WORDS?

IT IS NOT THE INITIATIVE TO KNOW YOUR ZONES, WHAT YOUR EVACUATION ZONE AND WHERE TO GO.

BUT THAT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER IN THE CASE OF FLASH FLOODING.

SO WHEN I SAW NEW YORK'S I THOUGHT, OKAY, I'M NOT ON THE FIRST FLOOR.

I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT THE FACT IF I WAS ON A HILL OR WHERE I WAS IN THE CITY, SO THERE NEEDS TO BE BETTER COMMUNICATION ABOUT THAT, TOO.

WELL, SPEAKING OF EVACUATIONS, SOME OF THE IMMEDIATE PLACES THAT SHOULD THAT BECOME NECESSARY SOME OF THE IMIMMEDIATE PLACES THAT PEOPLE MIGHT EVACUATE TO WERE ALSO INCREDIBLY HARD HIT BY THIS STORM AND I'M TALKING OF COURSE ABOUT LONG ISLAND, YOU KNOW, WESTCHESTER ROCKLAND COUNTY AND OF COURSE NEW JERSEY.

I REALIZE THAT EVERYONE ON THIS ROUND TABLE IS A NEW YORK CITY JOURNALIST, BUT WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE DEVASTATION THAT HAS HIT PARTS OF PARTICULARLY NEW JERSEY, WHICH HAS ALSO HAD NOT ONLY WHERE THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN BUT HAD A LOT OF MASSIVE FLOODING?

AND, LIZ, I'LL START WITH YOU.

WELL, I KNOW THERE ARE AREAS OF NEW JERSEY THAT COULD FIT MORE THAN A TOTAL EIGHT INCHES OF RAIN FALL.

THAT'S AN EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT OF PARTICIPATION.

I DON'T KNOW.

I ALSO SAW THE TORNADO HIT.

I DIDN'T CHECK THE DEATH COUNT RIGHT BEFORE WE LOGGED ON.

YEAH.

BUT I THINK NEW JERSEY AS WELL.

AND, JOSE, AGAIN, ANOTHER STATE WHERE EVEN THOUGH, YES, THERE ARE MANY MORE DRIVERS IN NEW JERSEY THAN THERE ARE NEW YORK CITY, BUT IT HAS A ROBUST TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM AND ONE THAT COMMUNICATES WITH NEW YORK.

SURE.

THEN THAT'S NEW JERSEY TRANSIT.

THERE WAS LIMITED OR NO SERVICE IN AND OUT OF PEN STATION FOR SOME TIME.

THIS AFFECTED AMTRAK.

THIS AFFECTED NEW JERSEY TRANSIT.

MULTIPLE LINES ON MJT.

SO YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT A LOT OF PEOPLE COMMUTING, EVEN KNOW AT A TIME WHEN OFFICE OCCUPANCY IS NOT WHAT IT USUALLY IS.

BUT OF COURSE PRE-PANDEMIC RATES.

BUT THOSE ARE PEOPLE WHO COMMUTE BETWEEN STATES, REGIONAL TRANSIT SYSTEM.

SO IT ALL HIT VERY HARD OUT ON LONG ISLAND, THE RAILROAD THERE, MJT, THAT SYSTEM, AMTRAK, SO IT HIT ACROSS THE BEN.

BEN, DO YOU THINK THAT GOVERNMENT LEADERS IN AT LEAST THE GARDEN STATE, PERHAPS, GOT IT A LITTLE BIT BETTER?

OR DO WE SEE SOME OF THE SAME MISTAKES, LET'S SAY, MISSTEPS HAPPENING ACROSS THE HUDSON AS WE SAW IN NEW YORK?

I WOULD HAVE TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN NEW JERSEY AND IN THE HUDSON VALLEY AND EVEN ON LONG ISLAND.

I THINK GOVERNOR HOCHUL WAS HEADING TO NEW JERSEY FROM LONG ISLAND.

AND THERE WILL BE A REAL E EVALUATION OF HOW THE DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP HANDLED THINGS IN NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK.

I DID WANT TO ADD TO NOTE THAT, YOU KNOW, WE'RE SEEING ONE OF THE REAL CRISIS POINTS HERE, AT LEAST IN NEW YORK CITY IN TERMS OF THIS TERRIBLE DEATH TOLL IS THE FLOODING OF BASEMENT APARTMENTS.

AND THIS IS WHERE, AGAIN, WE'RE SEEING VARIOUS MUNICIPAL POLICIES BUMP UP AGAINST EACH OTHER.

WE HAVE SEEN A PUSH IN RECENT YEARS FOR LEGALIZING MORE BASEMENT APARTMENTS.

THERE ARE MANY THAT ARE OPERATING ILLEGALLY THAT, YOU KNOW, IS A BIG CHALLENGE IN TERMS OF MAKING SURE THAT, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE DO KNOW, YOU KNOW, THE RISKS AND ARE MONITORING THINGS AND ARE WILLING TO CALL FOR HELP WHEN THEY NEED HELP.

SO, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, TO GO BACK TO SORT OF THE LAYERS OF COMPLEXITY HERE AND WHAT GOVERNMENT REALLY NEEDS TO ADDRESS, WHILE WE SEE PEOPLE TRY TO ADDRESS THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS, THEY ALSO NEED TO ACCOUNT FOR THIS, YOU KNOW, LIKELY ADDITIONAL THREAT OF BASEMENT APARTMENTS FLOODING AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE, WHETHER IT IS TRANSIT, WHETHER IT'S HOUSING, WHETHER IT IS SCHOOLS, YOU KNOW, WE SEE THESE VARIETY OF PUBLIC POLICY AREAS ALL IMPACTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE, RESILIENCY AND SEVERE WEATHER.

NOW, WE HAVE SEEN IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THERE ARE BASICALLY ALERTS WHERE PEOPLE ARE TOLD THAT YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED, EITHER, TO EVACUATE OR IF YOU ARE GOING TO SAY, AS THEY WERE SAYING IN LOUISIANA, THE FIRST 72 ARE ON YOU, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU FACTOR IN POWER OUTAGES.

IS THAT SOMETHING THAT ANY OF YOU SEE HAPPENING IN NEW YORK, WHERE THERE IS A PUSH TO GET PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME SORT OF, LIKE, TO GO PLAN OR SOME SORT OF TO GO BED OR SOMETHING READY IN CASE?

BECAUSE, AGAIN, WE JUST HAD A MAJOR STORM A WEEK AGO.

HERE WE ARE, AGAIN, DEALING WITH THE AFTERMATH OF FLOODING AND WATER DAMAGE.

BEN, I WILL START WITH YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

THIS IS PART OF THE EMERGENCY RESPONSIVENESS ON THE IMMEDIATE SIDE OF THINGS AS GOVERNMENT ALSO ADDRESSES THE VARIOUS SHORT, MEDIUM AND LONG-TERM CHALLENGES AND ANSWERS AND OPERATES ON MULTIPLE LEVELS OF POLICYMAKING.

THERE ARE REAL QUESTIONS AROUND WHETHER, YOU KNOW, THE CITY NEEDS TO NOT ONLY USE ITS LOCAL OFFICES BETTER, COMMUNITY AFFAIRS UNITS, THINGS OF THAT NATURE.

WE SAW ACTIVATION INCLUDING THE HOUSE OF NONPROFITS, WHETHER IT WAS AROUND THE SCENSUS AND THEN COVID.

THERE IS RECENT EXAMPLES WHERE THESE NETWORKS COULD BE BETTER UTILIZED NOW IF WE'RE FACING SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS GOING FORWARD WHERE PEOPLE COULD CHECK ON THEIR NEIGHBORS IN A MORE, YOU KNOW, SYSTEMIC FASHION.

AND, JOSE, IS THERE SOMETHING YOU THINK THE CITY CAN BEGIN TO GENUINELY IMPLEMENT CONSIDERING, AGAIN, HOW MANY PEOPLE RELY ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION?

WELL, IT REALLY NEEDS TO START WITH BETTER COMMUNICATION BETWEEN A STATE AUTHORITY, THE MTA, AND THE CITY MAKING SURE THAT YOU HAVE THESE TWO WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM DOES NOT ALLOW THE SUBWAY SYSTEM TO BECOME A DEFAULT SEWER SYSTEM.

THAT'S REALLY THE WORST OF WHAT CAN HAPPEN.

BECAUSE THEN IT BECOMES A SAFETY CONSIDERATION.

OF COURSE PEOPLE ARE DELAYED.

BUT YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE IN A PLACE THAT IS UNSAFE FOR MILLIONS OF USERS.

SO I REALLY THINK IT POINTS TO PLANNING, TO CONTACT AND COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE AGENCIES AND TO LOOKING AS MUCH AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN INTO TH& FUTURE BECAUSE THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT'S GOING AWAY, AND, AGAIN, YOU DO NOT WANT WHAT WAS ONCE 100 YEAR STORM TO BECOME AN ALL TOO COMMON OF A STORM.

LIZ, WE HAVE JUST A FEW SECONDS LEFT, BUT YOUR THOUGHTS?

I THINK EVERYONE NEEDS TO HAVE AN EVACUATION PLAN.

OF COURSE EVACUATING IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE.

BUT, YOU KNOW, IT SHOULD -- IT IS A LITTLE BIT IRONIC THAT THE FIRST DAY OF THE NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH, THE PRESSER HAD TO BE CANCELED BECAUSE OF, YOU KNOW, A STORM.

I WOULD JUST RECOMMEND THAT EVERYONE WHO DOES TRY TO HAVE SOME SORT OF PLAN INVOLVES THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR PETS SHOULD THEY NEED TO EVACUATE THEIR PROPERTY.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

BUT I'D LIKE TO THANK MY PANEL OF GUESTS.

BEN MAX, WHICH COVERS NEW YORK CITY AND GOVERNMENT.

JOSE MARTINEZ, TRANSPORTATION REPORTER FOR THE CITY, THE NONPROFIT NEWS ORGANIZATION.

AND LIZ DONOVAN, CLIMATE REPORTER AT CITY LIMITS.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR JOINING US AND TO DISCUSS, OF COURSE, WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

I THINK THAT'S THE BEST QUESTION AFTER THIS SECOND STORM.

SO THANK YOU ALL.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

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