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Ed Fallon and Christine Quinn at Grand Hyatt NYC on Oct 19, 2011
That headline is NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn's words, not ours. Yesterday, we snapped her at BOMA/NY's annual conference at the Grand Hyatt with Brookfield Office's Ed Fallon (also BOMA/NY prez). She was referring to the "sexy" submarket of West Chelsea, where she moved in '92, and the area's (not so sexy) sewer problems. The art gallery scene was just getting going back then, and sewage flooding was a problem for folks storing valuable artwork. Hence the '90s West Chelsea Sewer Task Force, though the city's sewers still worry her now. Christine says the City is making the Department of Sanitation and Office of Emergency Management's decision-making process during events like December 2010'ssnowpocalypse more transparent. And borough-specific response plans are in the works.
Mike Smith at Grand Hyatt NYC on Oct 19, 2011
AccuWeather WeatherData founder Mike Smith says a hurricane, tornado, cascading power failures from lightning, earthquake, or tsunami will hit NYC within 75 years. If the west face of Canary Island Volcano off the west coast of Africa were to fall into the Atlantic Ocean (it's already disconnected, so an earthquake could finish the job) a 41-foot tsunami would head our way. JFK and LaGuardia would be under water, so there's no relief coming into those outlets. With the six to eight hours of notice, the best building operators can do is "evacuate up" to the fifth floor or higher. And if the 1938 hurricane hit today and 60 miles west (right on Manhattan) there'd be$40B of commercial property damage alone. Still, we're in much better shape thanks to massively improved forecasting, he says, pointing out that without evacuations, Katrina's death toll could have been 60,000 instead of 2,000.
Hani Salama at Grand Hyatt NYC on Oct 19, 2011
Monday Properties' Hani Salama tells us he has respect for what storms can do, having been a property manager for the Empire State Building during the '91 Halloween Nor'easter. Over 150 of the single-pane windows (originals from 1931) blew out, followed by immense interior office damage. Oh, and those colored discs that sit on the light fixtures and help the ESB play chameleon? They were flying like frisbees. Not to mention the pavers sitting on foam on the roof that the wind lifted from beneath and deposited on the roof next door.