Flooded Subways? NYC Commuters Trudge On

Videos show people wading in waist-deep water to get to trains after heavy rains bring flash floods
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2021 8:48 AM CDT

New Yorkers are known to be a tough bunch who roll with whatever comes their way, and videos that have emerged as thunderstorms pummeled the city this week did nothing to dispel that impression. Per the New York Times, the city was slammed by heavy rains on Thursday, leading to flash floods across the boroughs, including in subway stations. Videos on social media and in news reports showed commuters wading through knee- to waist-deep water and wearing plastic garbage bags like potato sacks to get to the train platforms, while other clips showed rainwater pouring down subway steps and onto the tracks. One man was even seen getting knocked down by rushing waters as a train pulled up at a subway station in Queens. The Times notes the flooding came even before Tropical Storm Elsa, due to arrive to the New York area on Friday, entered the picture.

Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of New York City Transit, says that the flooding issues—which happened even in places she says don't usually flood—were caused by drains that became filled too quickly by the pounding rains, as well as floods from the streets above pouring down into the subway. She warned residents not to go into stations that weren't passable. Meanwhile, in between expressions of horror at commuters wading through dirty water to make their trains came another observation, put bluntly by meteorologist Eric Holthaus: "New York City is not ready for climate change." Mashable echoes that concern, noting that the city's infrastructure may not be up to the task of increasing numbers of downpours as global warming continues. Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for NYC mayor, tweeted that the city needs "congestion pricing $ ASAP to ... add green infrastructure to absorb flash storm runoff. This cannot be New York." (More New York City stories.)

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