Twitter | @kayeblegvad

NYC Flooded A Subway Station On Purpose Because 'Climate Change Is Real'

New York commuters are hardy folk, mostly because they often have to overcome a variety of trials and tribulations to get from Point A to Point B. Spend a week riding the MTA and you'll think you've seen it all.

Mind you, even veterans of the MTA probably weren't prepared to see a subway station brimming with water one morning.

It's certainly the sort of thing that will throw off your whole morning.

So it's little wonder why Kaye Blegvad took a picture of the sight and tweeted out "MTA explain yourself" when she happened upon the scene.

Frankly, it's a bit amazing that one of New York's more colorful citizens hadn't taken their swimming trunks out of storage and gone for a dip.

As it turns out, the station had been flooded on purpose.

It was no mistake, and there are tweets to prove it.

"We're pivoting to submarines," the MTA's Twitter account quipped in reply.

All joking aside, the flooding was completely planned and it was actually done for a good reason.

"We're doing this because climate change is real," they explained on Twitter.

New York's subway system is constantly under threat from water.

Even on a dry day, with not a cloud in the sky, it's a battle to keep the system water-free. Below the city, there are 300 pump rooms working day and night to keep the subways dry.

According to New York Transit President Andy Byford, flooding is a huge problem that is constantly on everyone's minds.

Unsplash | Brandon Jacoby

"Manhattan is built on a series of rivers and streams, so there is a huge amount of water just naturally present under the bedrock and within the bedrock," he told NY1.

Given that even dry days are a challenge, storms can do significant damage to the system, and it's only expected to get worse.

Even now, in late 2019, the city is still making repairs to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when several subway stations were submerged from track to ceiling.

So, with more frequent and stronger storms predicted for New York, coupled with rising sea levels, the MTA is trying to take some preventative measures ahead of time.

The flex gate being tested at the station Kaye found is just one measure the MTA is looking at.

Basically, the flex gate is a stairwell cover made of Kevlar, and manufactured by the same company that made the Apollo 11 space suits. It can be easily deployed by a single worker in case of another Sandy-like situation.

But that's not all they're doing to protect the city's crucial subway stations.

Twitter | @EricaByfieldNY

Other measures include large "submarine-like doors and portable vent covers" at various weak points in the system, The Verge reported.

So that inconvenience on the morning commute might just prove to be a huge life and money saver down the line.


"We're investing in capital projects around the system to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate," the MTA's Twitter account explained to Kaye. So, chances are New Yorkers can expect a few more disruptions just like the one she stumbled across.

h/t: Gothamist, The Verge