Sandy Changes Hunter’s Point Library Plans

Design plans for the Hunter’s Point Library will be adjusted to avoid flooding during future Sandy-like storms. (Photo via

Fear of another devastating hurricane has lead the Queens Library to alter the design of a yet-to-be-built branch near the East River waterfront in Hunter’s Point, The Queens Courier reported.

The land supporting the 21,500-square-foot facility, to be located at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue on the banks of the East River, will be graded an extra foot higher to avoid any possible flooding that could occur during another Sandy-type storm. While initial plans already placed the structure above the 100-year-flood line, library officials, architects and members of the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) agreed an extra measure of caution was necessary.

“The building hasn’t been built yet,” said Queens Library spokesperson Joanne King. “There’s no reason not to make it even higher.”

The library will sit 150 feet from the East River shoreline, and, according to the spokeswoman, its lowest floor will be above the level of the floodwaters from Sandy. However, it will be built to withstand winds “considerably stronger than Sandy’s.”

According to King, none of the branches of the Queens Library existing in the hard hit areas of Arverne, the Rockaway Peninsula, Broad Channel and Seaside suffered structural damage. Aside from broken glass, minor flooding and damage to interior equipment and books, the buildings remained intact. The Broad Channel branch had been graded up, similarly to what will be done at the new Hunter’s Point location, which kept the building from experiencing as much damage as the other branches.

“Anything that could have been done had been done in the sense that any precaution that had been taken when they were built near the beach was taken,” said King. “There are no basements, they were built on one level. They were as safe as they could have been but it was a very extraordinary circumstance.”

According to the article, the changes to the building’s plan will not affect the timeline, cost or design. The building, designed by architect Steven Holl, is expected to open in 2015.

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