Hudson Yards can withstand a storm or terrorist attack



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Whether you call it a "city in the city" or a living room for creative workers, Hudson Yards is by far the most grandiose development of New York City's recent history. Over an area of ​​more than 18 million square feet, the dense configuration of the buildings is large enough to accommodate the entire population of Hartford, Connecticut – approximately 125,000.

It's also the most expensive real estate development in the history of the United States, with a price of $ 25 billion.

Read more: Inside Hudson Yards, the most expensive real estate development in the history of the United States

Thought by Associate President Stephen Ross, whose portfolio includes the West Palm Beach Time Warner Center and CityPlace Centers in New York City, Hudson Yards is the legacy of many development projects defining the Axis of Life. a town. Where New Yorkers once flocked to Times Square or Grand Central, they could soon gather at Hudson Rivers to eat, shop or enjoy the view on the western outskirts.

But Hudson Yards is more than just a collection of luxury skyscrapers. It is also a fortress built to survive off the network in case of hurricane, flood or terrorist attack.

The Vessel's art installation site elevates it to 150 feet in the air.
Business Insider / Jessica Tyler

Development can stave off major threats to security

Recalling the attacks of September 11, the developers of the site – Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group – have made considerable efforts to mitigate acts of terrorism. They consulted with security teams, including the former police commissioner of the city, to prepare for active shooters and truck bombs, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The site is also prepared for the imminent threat of natural disaster.

Hudson Yards is a riparian development located along the century-old floodplain of New York City, but the majority of the buildings are elevated at about forty feet above sea level. The mechanical systems located in the flood plain, including fuel pumps and elevator pits, were sealed by watertight "submarine doors" and electrical systems were moved above the ground to protect them from damage waters. Even the more than 200 trees and 28,000 plants in the complex are kept alive through rainwater harvesting rather than the irrigation system of New York City.

In the event of a power outage, micro-turbines can heat and cool buildings, allowing development to survive independently of the city's infrastructure – what is often called "off-grid" living.

15 Hudson Yards on skyline background of New York City.
Katie Warren / Business Insider

The phrase is somewhat misleading, said Billy Grayson, executive director of the Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance of the Urban Land Institute.

"No building is off-grid because every building needs roads to get people there," he told Business Insider. "If the city does not make the right investments in resilient infrastructure, even though the buildings can work perfectly, it will not save them from extreme weather events."

While Grayson said Hudson Yards had made "very good" investments in resilience, he warned against considering development as a refuge from climate change.

"Even though I have a nice apartment," he says, "I do not want to get stuck in for a month while they're trying to dig the subway or rebuild the roads that connect me to the rest of the city." Manhattan. "

This spell might be preferable to life in another New York City development that could be wiped out by a major flood.

Firefighters warn of persistent security problem

Although the developers have prepared for all sorts of major disasters, the site is still facing the absence of local fire halls, which could limit the firefighters' ability to respond to emergency calls.

The night development site.
Katie Warren / Business Insider

In 2018, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association – the union representing firefighters in New York City – sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio in which he was worried about the increase in the traffic and security emergencies near Hudson Yards.

In his letter, Gerard Fitzgerald said his department was already "on the brink" and was trying to serve the community located near the eastern and western railroads, which include neighborhoods like Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen. Without a new fire station in the area, he told Business Insider, hundreds of thousands of lives could be at risk.

De Blasio's office did not immediately dismiss Business Insider's request for comment, but the New York City Fire Department acknowledged the existence of a potential security problem.

For the time being, people face a paradox: they can find immediate security in a hurricane or chemical attack, but a more common emergency may take longer.

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