The MTA had a fool-proof system for preventing floodwaters from getting into the subway system. Shocked that it didn’t work. From a reader, who snapped this photo in Brooklyn as the hurricane approached:
We live on Jay street in Dumbo right by the water. The end of the York street station is in front of our building. While we were evacuating we saw the MTA “securing” the grates in the sidewalk in front of our building, grates that would later be under 2-3’ of water. attached is what they built. It is laughable, but sad that anyone would have thought this would work. What we saw were about 9 MTA employees brought to the site in a van. they stood around, got coffee at brooklyn roasting, chatted while maybe 2 of them actually did work at any given time for probably close to an hour. they secured the tunnel with this plywood contraption and about 10 sand bags that look like the kind of play sand you buy at home depot, maybe 10 lbs each- not the real sandbags you see when the midwest floods. it was a joke, if they had wanted to save the subway they would have been better off asking the community to help- we would have filled more sandbags, done more work, and actually tried.
Clearly this reader doesn’t understand the fundamental water-repelling properties of wood. That’s why they make boats out of it! And the MTA slyly built a wooden floodwall around the subway grates so that, in the event of failure, it could be used as a flotation device.
Of course, in all seriousness, there’s nothing the MTA could have realistically done to prevent flooding. But building wooden silos with half-assed sandbags seems to have been an inefficient strategy for preparing for this event. It’s like scotch-taping a cardboard toilet-paper roll over your bathtub drain, filling the tub, and splashing around violently. And it didn’t work. —John