The Other Wall

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 Dear Editor:

I'm not an engineer. I'm just a retired EMT, who's lived my entire life in Belle Harbor, Queens. As a child, I sheltered in place for Hurricane Donna in 1960, and as an adult, evacuated inland for Superstorm Sandy. However, when I read newspaper articles on a $119 Billion Sea Wall project, to prevent flooding in future Superstorm Sandy events (see link to NY Times article, ) I got a few questions.

Let’s start with, will this wall protect the Rockaways, or will our peninsula be used as a part of the wall? If it's a natural part of the wall, won't that leave Far Rockaway exposed at the Reynolds Channel/East Rockaway Inlet? For those who don't know, that's the area by the Atlantic Beach Bridge.

I've seen the water in the channel almost overrun the beach at Beach 9th Street, with the high tides that are caused by lunar gravitational pull at new and full moons, in addition to storms coming in from the ocean. It's a low point on our beach, and prior to Sandy, caused me to wonder why several new buildings had been built with the garages below the level of the street, at Beach 9th Street by Seagirt Boulevard.

Outside of our peninsula, comes the second question. In the Netherlands, the floodwaters would come, overall, from one side: the eastern Atlantic Ocean. As far as I know, there are no major rivers flowing into the area "behind" their wall.

Won't "our" wall hold back water traveling naturally "downhill" from upstate, to the ocean from the Hudson River, or from the Long Island Sound via the East River, driven by the storm our wall would be raised against? This surge would affect City Island in the Bronx, as well as the beaches on Staten Island, Coney Island, and us in the Rockaways. Water behind a dam usually rises, doesn't it?

What answers does the United States Army Corps of Engineers have? If paid for, whose budget(s) will need cutting, and will it be at the County, City, State, or Federal level? I'm jokingly doubtful Mexico will pay for this wall, either.

Richard Berger

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