The Dust May Never Settle

How Dangerous Was That Dark Cloud Hanging Over Manhattan?

Sherwood would like channels to Manhattan dredged up and down the Hudson and East rivers, with stronger bulkheads added and hardware to tie up to, even if it's just for crews to get water from a hydrant or buy provisions at a grocery store. Such use might even help pay for the upkeep of emergency resources.

That might be pushing things too far for greens. "One recognizes that fish habitat is of scant comfort when a city is under attack," said Mele, but "one of the reasons we have opposed dredging is that there is so much development pressure on that area. If we are to preserve a public amenity and environmental value, these points of access will have to be limited to emergency use only."

Economic pressure is going to be hard to resist, said Ralph Diaz, a member of the advisory council of the Hudson River Park Trust and chairman of the harbor's Human Powered Boating Group. "I don't think anyone is going to charge forward worried about microscopic marine life or breeding grounds" while recovery efforts continue, said Diaz. "But I don't agree . . . that every pier up and down the river has to be hardened to be emergency-ready in a way that makes them commercially ready."

Greens know, however, that future environmental remediation projects will likely be put on hold. "I think the [Hudson River] Park is going to now be stymied," said Diaz. "They don't have the money, and it's going to be hard to argue for parks money" as New York rebuilds. "The lower part of the park is going to be very badly affected for a long, long time."

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