2020年1月21日 星期二

N.Y. Today: Trump's 'Foolish' Wall

What you need to know for Tuesday.

A Wall Trump Calls ‘Foolish’

It’s Tuesday.

Weather: Sunny, with a high in the mid-30s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Friday (Lunar New Year’s Eve).


When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, homes in Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn were destroyed. Lower Manhattan was flooded and thrown into darkness. Seventy-two people in the city died.

Could a six-mile-long wall, stretching from the Rockaways in Queens to land in New Jersey south of Staten Island, have protected New York?

The Army Corps of Engineers is studying five plans for barriers — four of which include configurations of retractable sea walls — to block storm surges.

It appears that the sea barrier is one wall that President Trump doesn’t like.

Reacting to my colleague Anne Barnard’s front-page story on the plans, he tweeted Saturday that a “massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall, built around New York to protect it from rare storms, is a costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly idea that, when needed, probably won’t work anyway.”

He added: “It will also look terrible. Sorry, you’ll just have to get your mops & buckets ready!”

Other critics say that the Corps’ plans would not adequately protect New York from rising tides and storm runoff.

I talked to Ms. Barnard, who covers the environment for The Times, about the proposals.

Anne, why should New Yorkers care about a sea wall?

Because this is about whether and how the city is going to survive, as we know it, for the next 100 years.

What options are under consideration?

The Army Corps of Engineers is looking at several plans, and all but one involve some kind of wall. The biggest wall would go from the Rockaways to New Jersey. That plan would also include a wall between the Long Island Sound and the East River.


In another plan, there would be walls across the waterways near the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, the Throgs Neck Bridge and the entrances to Jamaica Bay.

Another option has smaller walls across smaller waterways, like the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. And there is one choice that is made up of shore-based measures involving berms, wetlands restoration and raised parks.

Clearly, the Corps is focusing on walls because four of its plans involve walls.

What do New Yorkers want?

We don’t know. Do New Yorkers prefer 30-foot walls on shore, which is what advocates for sea barriers say would be needed if a giant wall is not built further from shore?


How high are we willing to build between the water and neighborhoods and central spaces like Lower Manhattan, in a city that just spent the past several decades reclaiming its connection to the waterfront?

Someone who lives or works in Lower Manhattan will have a different answer than someone who lives in Howard Beach, Queens.

What happens next?

In about six months, the Corps will settle on a plan, which must be approved by Congress; the federal government would pay 65 percent of the cost. New York State, New York City and New Jersey would also have to back the project, and pay for the remaining 35 percent.

From The Times

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

A city bus crashed into a Citi Bike station in Manhattan. [West Side Rag]

Governor Cuomo has created a census council that will be led by Martin Luther King III, Lucy Liu and Lin-Manuel Miranda. [amNewYork]

Sea turtle strandings more than doubled in New York in 2019. [Newsday]

Coming up today

Meng Jin discusses her novel “Little Gods” at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn. 7 p.m. [Free]

Experience choreographed sound and action at the “Dressing Up for Civil Rights” performance at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. 1 p.m. [Free with museum admission]

Take a walking tour of the Thain Family Forest at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. 12:30 p.m. [Free with all-garden admission]

— Emmett Lindner

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

And finally: ‘Don’t Bury the Lede’

In 2018, Alex Brook Lynn, a friend of mine, was at a shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when she saw VCRs piled atop something else that seemed antiquated: issues of The New York Post, The Daily News and The Times, published shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“I was just like, Oh my God, this is amazing,” Ms. Lynn, 38, said.

She bought the papers and took them home to the West Village. When friends came over, she said, they would eagerly pore over the issues. So, she went back to the shop and bought more.

“They had so many good ones,” Ms. Lynn said. “I found The Daily News’s ‘Nixon Resigns,’ complete and full.” She also bought an issue of Newsday that covered the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Then, Ms. Lynn had an idea: to create “a place where people feel comfortable exploring the physical items” from the time before mobile journalism.

This month, she opened “Don’t Bury the Lede,” a pop-up exhibit at 321 Canal Street that is sponsored in part by Wallplay, a company that repurposes empty storefronts. (“Lede” is jargon for the introduction to a news article.)

The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 30, includes the newspapers from 2001, a Smith Corona typewriter, a stocked newsstand and more.

Several podcasts have recorded episodes from the space, and freelance journalists have filed articles from it, too.

It’s also an artsy place: You can pick up rotary telephones to hear recordings of articles written by Nellie Bly, who spent 10 days inside a mental institution to report on abuses there, or dispatches by Edward R. Murrow from World War II-era London.

Guests’ paper coffee cups are even crumpled up and added to the décor.

“People need to be able to connect with the history that they are expected to appreciate,” Ms. Lynn said.

It’s Tuesday — read a newspaper.

Metropolitan Diary: Corner laundry

Dear Diary:

The corner laundromat is narrow, with blue walls and a small TV that plays the news in Spanish. A hand-lettered sign taped to the doorway reads, “Last Wash 7 p.m., Close 9 p.m.”

At 5 p.m., a woman in a mechanized wheelchair is loading a dryer. Her daughter, wearing a pristine elementary school uniform, is helping.

A woman who works at the laundromat is eating dinner at a table in the back with her two young children. She stands and comes over to help the daughter insert a money card into a dryer and select the temperature.

“No, please keep it,” the woman in the wheelchair says as the laundry woman hands back the card. “You help us every week.”

The woman in the wheelchair and her daughter leave the laundromat. I hold the door for them and follow them out. As they head off, a cloth falls from the wheelchair’s arm rest. Neither the woman nor her daughter notice.

Another woman, holding an infant on her hip, reaches down carefully and plucks the cloth off the sidewalk.

“Hello,” she calls. “You dropped something!”

The woman in the wheelchair stops, turns and smiles.

“Thank you,” she says. “Thank you.”

— Juliana Francis Kelly

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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