In Commemoration of the 9th Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, AIA NJ Fellow Suzanne DiGeronimo, FAIA, Speaks Out About Our Lack of Protection Against Future Storms

October 29, 2021

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In Commemoration of the 9th Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, AIA NJ Fellow Suzanne DiGeronimo, FAIA, Speaks Out About Our Lack of Protection Against Future Storms

AIA NJ Fellow, Suzanne DiGeronimo, FAIA, is a member of the New York/ New Jersey Storm Surge Working Group and an expert in resilient design. In commemoration of the 9th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the group hosted a boat tour aboard the Classic Harbor Line’s Manhattan II, featuring presentations by 15 individuals coordinated with the sites along the adjacent coastlines. The purpose of the tour was to provide the most comprehensive review to date of what progress has been made over the last nine years to protect New York and New Jersey from the existential threat posed by the next extreme weather event. 

The group was formed in 2009 after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy’s catastrophic coastal flooding. It is a voluntary association of engineers, planners, architects, environmentalists, scholars and public officials. Their mission is to advance policies and investments needed to protect the nation’s largest urban area for future flooding due to storm surges and sea-level rise. Group Chair, Malcolm Bowman offered the four key points of the program: 

  1. Coastal Flooding is an Existential Threat to the NY/ NJ Region. 
  2. Coastal Flooding is a Regional Threat and Requires a Regional Solution,
  3. We are as Vulnerable Now as We Were Nine Years Ago. 
  4. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to act now to address the existential threat of coastal flooding with a regional coastal resiliency system that meets our social justice, environmental justice, quality of life and economic development goals. 

Suzanne’s remarks were entitled Nine Years Later 1000 Miles of Still Unprotected Sandy and Ida Ravaged Coastline in New York and New Jersey. According to Ms. DiGeronimo, “The Little U in Hoboken concept was a complex combination of sophisticated engineering feats that all needed to work in unison. That means they all need to be built to affect the mitigation of another Sandy-type flood. One park with one retention basin underneath it was funded by the Federal government through FEMA under their newly authorized mitigation funding pool. But when the residents who got flooded learned they would be behind at 20′ high wall, they came out in droves to protest. The erection of the wall would block their view.” 

CBS News and Bloomberg joined the tour and covered the topic. View that HERE


In addition to Suzanne and Professor Bowman, presenters included Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, VP of Classic Harbor Line Richard Scarano, Climate Central Director Peter Girard, VP of Hazen and Sawyer Sandeep Mehrotra, Presidnet of Battery Park City Authority BJ Jones, Battery Park City Authority VP of Real Property Gwen Dawson, Community Advocate Catherine McVay Hughes, South Street seaport Museum President Captain Jonathan Boulware, Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Coprotation Wellington Chen, Cameron Engineering Senior Associate Stephen Hadjiyane, Langan Engineering Waterfront and Marine Senior Director Jonathan Goldstick, U Penn Professor Emeritus Robert Yaro and NY/NJ SSWG Moderator, William Golden. Mr. Golden reminded thte audience more than once that not a single inch of regional coastline has been protected in the last nine years.  

Form more information, to view a recording of the entire program or to join the group, visit





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