“Hoboken Could Be a Model for Dealing With Urban Flooding
SARAH GOODYEAR FEB 13, 2013
Hoboken is a charming, compact little city on the banks of the Hudson River, with a walkable downtown and excellent public transit connections to New York City, as well as other communities in New Jersey. Its streets are lined with trees and brownstones, and it has transformed over the last 20 years from a fading industrial backwater to a flourishing residential community, gaining nearly 30 percent in population between 2000 and 2010.
Gentrification and the rising cost of living were, in fact, one of the more troublesome issues facing this city of 50,000 — until Superstorm Sandy hit. Then the rising waters suddenly became everyone’s primary concern. Flooding filled the city “like a bathtub,” mayor Dawn Zimmer said in the midst of the crisis. Tens of thousands were left stranded without power in the storm’s aftermath, and the streets were filled with contaminated water. It took weeks, in some cases even months, for transit connections to be restored.
Hoboken’s geographic position made it unusually vulnerable to Sandy’s effects. The land occupied by the city was once an island in the tidal waters where the Hudson opens up to what is now New York Harbor. Much of its two-square-mile area lies at or below sea level. Water came at the city from several directions, and there was nowhere for it to go once it had poured in.”