End of the World-Building

John Kazior in The Baffler:

THERE IS AN ALMOST CHARMING, if childlike, logic to Jason Barr’s recent op-ed for the New York Times: simply fill in New York Harbor with more land, and not only will anxieties about flooding dry up, we’ll ease the city’s crippling shortage of pieds-à-terre. Wham-bam. The elegance of the proposal to stave off the city’s Atlantean fate dazzles: 1,760 acres of land for 250,000 more New Yorkers living in 178,282 new units of housing, a “significant” number of which could be made “affordable,” every last one of them kicking more tax dollars into the city’s coffers. Barr suggests we call it New Mannahatta, in a nod to the original land theft that made all the subsequent plunder possible.

Naysayers abound, but they simply lack the vision to see that exterminating a massive aquatic ecosystem off the island’s coast and replacing it with skyscrapers and Duane Reades will reinvigorate the city’s corroding relationship with nature. They do not have the strength nor the ingenuity to see that, as environmental crises threaten “vulnerable” places like Wall Street, retreat is not an option. We must do more than batten down the hatches; we’ve got to go big.

More here.