Decade since Sandy: A look at how the Hudson River weathered the storm

It's been 10 years since Sandy devastated parts of New York, and News 12 is taking a look back on how the Hudson River weathered the storm.

News 12 Staff

Oct 19, 2022, 9:26 PM

Updated 583 days ago

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It's been 10 years since Sandy devastated parts of New York, and News 12 is taking a look back on how the Hudson River weathered the storm.
The river is a place John Lipscomb has the privilege of knowing more deeply than many people ever will. He grew up on the Hudson River. For more than two decades, he's captained the R. Ian Fletcher - most recently, with his first mate, Batu, by his side.
They travel about 5,000 nautical miles a year searching out polluters for nonprofit Riverkeeper. He was on the river 10 years ago when Sandy hit New York.
MORE: Sandy: 10 Years Later
Back then, Lipscomb's calculated that the best way to protect the boat was staying on board all night at Westerly Marina in Ossining where it got windy.
"So much that I couldn't walk on the dock...I had to crawl," he says.
The boat made it. Others just across the river in Rockland County were smashed.
Lipscomb says the long-term consequence for the river isn't healing from pollution.
"What the Hudson and the harbor are having to deal with is society's desire to prevent the damage from Sandy again," he says.
Riverkeeper has fought flood mitigation plans before, including designs for a storm surge gate, that the nonprofit thinks could have affected the tide.
"To diminish that would've been a slow death to this river," he says.
Lipscomb wants to see a softer approach: a mix of fortifying naturally and building higher, with the understanding sea level rise will mean Sandy-level high water more often.
"That wall would be underwater and that's the way it was in Sandy," he says.
There are always new plans to review, but Lipscomb says he'll keep doing his best to work for the river because while people may call it the Mighty Hudson, it can't defend itself.
Riverkeeper says the public can help protect the river. He says people can vote in November for a bond act that would approve money for environmental projects.
Lipscomb says that the community can also tell senators to support federal legislation - the New York-New Jersey Watershed Act - that would allocate millions of dollars over many years to restore the Hudson River Valley.


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