Support provided by: LEARN MORE
Support provided by: LEARN MORE

NYC Rising

Posted: February 5, 2018

The world’s climate is changing and sea levels are rising. For New York City, Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was a costly wake-up call. Now, more than ever before, the city needs a way to protect its future and make it more resilient after extreme weather events. NYC Rising takes a look at five different solutions New Yorkers are using to fortify their homes and businesses for the future. These solutions are helping people, communities, and institutions cope with a changing climate, now and in the future, and could be a model for the nation. #NYCRising. Watch all five episodes below.

This series was produced by Geraldine Moriba, Ed Hersh, Jamila Paksima, Karla Murthy, Maya Navon, Julie Florio, Andrew Robertson, Darren Peister and Jon Berman.

How one storm could destroy NYC’s main food supply

In Hunts Point, the workday ends at 7:00AM for most workers. That’s because they’ve been working all night in the bustling food distribution center in the South Bronx that serves as the food supply hub for 22 million people… but sits vulnerably right on the water. We take you inside the busy fish and meat markets to meet some of the New Yorkers who are keeping it running… and learn just how critical this hub is to feeding the region. Superstorm Sandy spared much of Hunts Point, but it was only luck. We’ll show you the ambitious plans to guard against floods and keep the lights turned on in a disaster. Local community organizers have been taking resiliency into their own hands for years, but the full proposed solution for the area will cost billions of dollars. With so much at stake, you’ll learn what’s being done to protect NYC’s critical food distribution centers.

When disaster strikes, how do we communicate?

When Superstorm Sandy hit, residents of the Red Hook Houses, the largest public housing development in Brooklyn with over 7,000 residents, struggled without power and clean water for almost a month. Instead of waiting for help, residents and civic groups, transformed themselves from storm victims to storm responders. Meet the local leaders that are stepping up to the plate and taking emergency preparedness into their own hands including installing and expanding a free, solar-powered Wi-Fi network to make sure that communication is always possible when disaster strikes. With climate change, sea level rise, and another superstorm always threats, they’re making sure that Red Hook is hooked up.

What does a home of the future look like?

Imagine that it’s a bone-chilling 35 degrees outside… yet it’s a comfy 70 degrees inside your home, and the heat isn’t on!  That’s the wonderful reality of living in what is called a “Passive House”. We’ll take you inside a home that is airtight, with thick, insulated walls, and cutting edge technology that exchanges interior and exterior air… all of which makes it comfortable inside without any kind of active heating and cooling systems. Did we also mention that they use 85-90% less energy than a typical house? Developed in Germany, Passive Houses have jumped the Atlantic Ocean and have quietly taken root in Brooklyn. You’ll meet the architect that designs them… and the homeowners who live in them. We’ll take you to see a home under construction, and show you why we say these homes are “sealed for freshness.”

How do we green America’s inner cities?

An innovative start-up is targeting a low-tech problem with high-tech solutions. With about 70% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from its buildings, for Brooklyn native Donnel Baird the solution is simple: bring green power to those who need it most, block by block. Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a Brooklyn-based company working to green American inner-cities using cutting-edge data analysis and green energy solutions. Baird takes the #NYCRising crew door to door in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City, to see his vision already coming to life with an unprecedented number of solar-panel installations in a single community. What would it take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by two to three percent in five years?

How the Whitney Museum protects its priceless art

Imagine huge pieces of mechanical equipment bobbing like corks in floodwater. That was the grim reality that the Whitney Museum of American Art faced after Superstorm Sandy ripped through lower Manhattan in 2012. The storm flooded the construction site of the museum’s new location right on the river. We’ll take you behind the scenes of the efforts to rethink the entire site, and ultimately, build a fortress-like new building, one of the most flood-resilient structures in New York. In “Artful Solutions,” you’ll see the museum team unfurl in less than 10 hours a 16 ½ foot wall around the museum that can be deployed during a storm event…  and watch as they operate a massive flood door that can withstand the force of a semi-truck floating (or flung) across the West Side Highway. The stakes are high: millions of dollars of priceless art.


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by The Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III and Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly.

Funding for Sinking Cities also provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and PBS.