Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update – podcast}

Sea Wall discussion (fruitlessly) goes on

After the public backlash about the moronic “sea walls” proposed by the city – they were supposed to “go back to the drawing board,” and come back with revised plans that reflected the concerns of the residents.

Guess what happened?

Not that.

They basically came back with TWO plans. One wall on the waterfront (the best option), but the city said they cannot afford it.

The second, was a wall down Garden Street (two different versions) – which was EXACTLY what most of the opposing people did NOT want!

Next up – they’ll come back with an animated movie of what they “think” would happen in case of another Hurricane Sandy event (which will 99.9% NOT happen in any of our lifetimes.)

Listen to what concerned residents have to say – in this Hoboken Podcast via Hoboken Internet Radio’s Alice Stockton-Rossini.

Hoboken does NOT want sea wall (flood walls, whatever you call them)

12/16/2015 Update:

It’s clear that the residents of Hoboken, NJ do not want ANYTHING to do with these fruity proposed “flood walls,” “sea walls” or whatever they’re ultimately re-worded to be called (usually something like this: “community friendly flood disaster mitigation safety implements.”)

If you oppose these plans – be sure to head over to the petition at Change.org. 300 residents have already signed the petition.

Hoboken Podcasts: Residents react – and what other options are there?

Hoboken Internet Radio’s Alice Stockton Rossini got reactions from residents today:

Additionally – we sat down with engineering expert Alan Blumberg of Stevens Institute of Technology for a lengthy discussion about the entire plan – if you want more info. It boils down to “you get no money if you build no wall.” This is what residents seem to want.

Can’t wait to see how stressed out “mayor” don Zimmer gets with the conundrum of a multi-million dollar project that elicits pitchforks and torches from property taxpayers – or “turning down the money” (and developer love from Rockefeller, etc.) She’ll probably lose sleep over this.

Hoboken Sea Walls / Flood Walls forge ahead

12/15/2015 Update:

Despite being what we feel is an utter waste of time and effort – the plan to piss away hundreds of millions of dollars (of other people’s money) on “flood mitigation solutions” continues more than three years after the “once in a thousand years perfect-storm” Hurricane Sandy.

The state has come up with “Five Concepts” for Hoboken. Various configurations of flood walls. (The PDF is massive and slowed down even my powerful desktop for some reason.)

flood wall garden street vote no Hoboken NJ - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}

Who would want an ugly flood wall on their block?

One of the “concepts” includes an 8 foot high flood wall along Garden Street uptown. From the northern waterfront all the way to 13th Street (and even to 12th Street if they want to meet the “500 year flood” criteria).

Residents do NOT want that (flood waters would destroy even more property to the east!) I doubt very highly the bobble-headed politicians can endure the backlash if they chose that concept.

If we were forced at gunpoint to choose one of the five “concepts,” we’d probably go with “Concept C” which offered the maximum impact.

But we’re not – and we really feel NO FLOOD WALLS AT ALL should be built.

It’ll be a fruitless debacle that lasts a decade.

However, we’re still a firm believer that if you somehow successfully mitigate the flooding here – it will only be significantly worse somewhere else. That’s not very fair is it?

Mother nature always seems to win – and choosing to live next to a massive body of water comes with risks that should be born by the individual, not the “nanny state.”

Here are some better ideas for the money:

  • “Rainy Day Fund” to pay for damages that will almost certainly NOT happen in our lifetime again.
  • Property tax holiday for a couple years for residents that have to deal with such moronic politicians.

You have to ask yourself why wasn’t this plan on the table before the hurricane?

Because this is how they work. “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Someone is benefiting handsomely from all this rhetoric and money.

Hoboken Flood Walls Garden Street - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}

Hoboken sea wall idea debunked, Zimmer talks about “character”

2/26/2013 Update:

Dawn Zimmer on Hoboken Sea Walls for flooding mitigation - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}Yesterday morning, a radio interview aired on NPR with Mayor Dawn Zimmer talking about the Hoboken Sea Wall that is on the radar after Hurricane Sandy flooded Hoboken.

Also on the program was Phil Orton, an oceanographer from Stevens Institute as well as Paul Gallay, the Hudson Riverkeeper President – both men with profoundly more knowledge than our Mayor, who just reads prepared press releases and coaching cue cards.

Zimmer spoke about (well rehearsed spiel) a “universal solution” of walls, grass, and windmills (along with cotton candy and crossing your fingers it doesn’t happen again). And the two other guests on the show basically said that The Hoboken Flood Walls are a BAD IDEA – and will never work. In fact could cause WORSE problems for both Hoboken and surrounding areas.

Dawn’s response? “We’ve got a city with fantastic character, and we don’t want to destroy that character. And most importantly, I mean, what we’re talking about is the future of Hoboken and the future of, you know, the urban landscape.”

Listen below (interview is about 3:50 in length). Photos courtesy of 7th Sign Photography here in Hoboken.

Zimmer’s big picture for Hoboken is “nightlife” and “shopping”

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on WYNC - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}As part of her orchestrated “radio interviews over the phone” media blitz yesterday (these things don’t happen by accident – they are purposely arranged in attempt to “shape” public perception with the same repeated message over and over) – Zimmer appeared on The Brian Lehrer show on WNYC as well.

The topic was “Protecting Hoboken.”

I stopped listening after the first question. Why? See it for yourself – and listen below. I got quite a few emails saying what a bumbling embarrassment it was for US in Hoboken. Dare you to read the transcript without getting dizzy.

Brian Lehrer: “First, can you give us a top line update on how the city is doing, how many people are still without homes, does anyone still not have power? Where are you “big picture,” first of all?”

Dawn Zimmer: “Well, the big picture, I mean, it’s a du, it’s a, the challenge is, it’s really a dual message I mean we’re very proud of all the, you know, great restaurants and shopping and night life that we have in Hoboken and so, you know, um, W-Washington Street, the majority along our waterfront is all very much open for business and and uh, you know many of the stores have been able and residents have been able to get back in, but then you know we have, we do have a lot of renters and renters have had to, uh, move on, and and property owners are, you know trying to uh you know there’s there’s quite a few people I know who are not yet back in um, and there’s, I walked from uh, you know I live in southwest Hoboken, my my home was flooded and so I walked down First Street and down Observer Highway to to work and uh you know I could see there’s a lot of businesses that are not yet opened back up.”

HOLY CRAP! How the hell is that answering the question? Is she really our Mayor? Yeah?

I couldn’t bear to hear the rest. Interview begins at the 2:30 mark:

God help us!

Hoboken Sea Walls – a flooding solution?


Well all know Hoboken is not only synonymous with Frank Sinatra and Baseball – it’s also well known for how bad it floods. Whether it’s a brief summer thunderstorm or a major storm like Hurricane Sandy, where our shores were breached by the Hudson River.

Despite all the flooding, Hoboken has been here for 200 years, with much of it’s history still in place.

Our recent flooding disaster with Sandy not only resulted in FEMA updating the flood maps for our area, it’s also led to recent conversations about installing Hoboken sea walls in strategic areas. Yes, that’s right – discussions happening and proposals are in the works.

FEMA flood map hoboken NJ - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}
(Updated FEMA Map – download here)

Competition for Hoboken Sea Wall job?

We all know that Hoboken has two main “choke points” for tidal surges from the Hudson River to enter town. Uptown near 1600 Park – and downtown south of the Lackawanna Terminal.

And guess who has a substantial amount of property in one of those areas? The Rockefeller Group. They own several blocks of prime Real Estate right in the line of fire.

So you can imagine what happened next. They’re right in the middle of the action, and have been involved with this Hoboken sea wall proposal. I happened to get a look at the proposed Hoboken Sea Wall plans drawn up by The Rockefeller Group this week – see approximations below.

Hoboken Sea Wall downtown flooding - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}
(Note: Drawn from memory and may not be exact. The final design has not been determined.)

Would 2 walls do the trick? Rockefeller thinks so

Without complex flooding models or other high-tech simulations, Rockefeller used simple elevation maps and the concept behind tidal flooding. They came up with a solution for a four or five foot Hoboken sea wall in two locations:

  • Uptown around the perimeter of the NW, and
  • Downtown near the inlet just to the south of the train terminal.

They said that those were the only two places that were breached during the hurricane, and that the other locations had elevation in their favor (and is why they didn’t flood).

I heard numbers being discussed for this solution of around $30 million dollars or more – and that it’s possible some or all of this cost would be in the form of a federal grant.

Hoboken Sea Wall uptown flooding - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}
(Note: Drawn from memory and may not be exact. The final design has not been determined.)

Stevens and RSA Protective Tech want the job too!

In case you missed it – this past December, Hoboken’s Stevens Institute of Technology, along with a company called RSA Protective Technologies published an article about a “flood wall invention” they came up with.

The article read more like a fear mongering “sales pitch” to convince the public and future customers that their solution has validity. What caught my attention was this quote:

“Cities are going to have to answer a critical question: “What do we want to protect ourselves from – the 100 year storm or the 10,000 year storm? Storms of the future will be more frequent and more intense. So, when you compare the cost of the flood wall system to the costs of remediation after a storm or the costs of other storm protection alternatives, it no longer seems like such a large investment.”

We can barely predict the weather THREE DAYS in advance – and this guy is guaranteeing the strength of “storms of the future?” And why did he choose to embellish with the “10,000 year storm?” Did “Billion year storm” sound too far out there? Anything to sell a flood wall, right? Fear tactics is more like it.

The proposed cost is $15 million dollars per mile.

RSA Flood wall system proposed in Hoboken NJ post hurricane sandy - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}
(Holy robotic, retractable walls, Batman!)

Would Hoboken sea walls even be necessary?

Will Hoboken Flood Walls work - Would Hoboken Sea Walls work? {update - podcast}We have a couple things at play here.

So many people have bought into this “global warming” meme that it has clouded their judgment. Now when someone is quoted as saying that the future looks grim in terms of weather, people just swallow it whole.

We have a very rare type of storm affect our area, and now we should expect it every season?

We only a have hundred years of weather data, and we’re expected to take any of it at face value?

Again, look at Hoboken. It’s been here for a very long time, and has persevered just fine. Sure, a few hiccups here and there – but those are the risks of living so close to a major body of water. What next, A GIANT DOME around the whole city?

Why are we always looking for “protection” from our government anyway?

If this Hoboken sea wall does get built – does it come with a guarantee? If it doesn’t work will homeowners get reimbursed for everything they lost?

Just remember other fear based actions in history – 9/11 brought Homeland Security, “Weapons of Mass Destruction” brought a 10 year war, one nut brings on gun control and so on. Why does the public fall for it every time – and fail to recognize the pattern? Why the irrational knee-jerk reaction to every crisis? And those that look for profit or control each time? Think of who enables them. YOU.

In the end – if the Feds want to give us $30 million bucks so we can build our Hoboken sea wall for freewith no impact on property taxpayersthen go for it. But I think that money would be better spent fixing the sewer system, all Hoboken roads, and maybe the parks Zimmer promised and never delivered.

You may also like...

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 12:08 pm

Sea walls?! All I can say is… BRILLIANT! It recalls the town where I grew up that has sea walls. It’s called New Orleans.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 3:45 pm

There is $230 million in Federal and state funds plus about $100 million in Hoboken funds that have to get spent here (Hoboken funds will come from a tax increase). Assuming that patronage and graft account for 30% of the project that is almost $100 million in patronage. There are a lot of well connected people who are going to get rich on this project. Those people are going to fight very hard for this project. Unfortunately City hall does deals with these people and relies on them for support so City hall is going to fight very hard for this project too. Even if the project does not work there is so much patronage we need a miracle to stop this project.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 3:40 pm

First of all, the government does not spend “other people’s money”. The government spends your tax money. Every time the government wastes money you pay more in taxes and get less in service.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 3:37 pm

I think the sea walls will help if another “storm of the century” hits, but more wet weather pumps are needed for normal flooding.

The Professor
The Professor
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 12:30 pm


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x