New York City's skyscrapers are causing the city to sink at a rate of 1 to 2 millimeters a year, according to recent geological research. The weight of the city's more than 1 million buildings, which weigh nearly 1.7 trillion pounds, is causing concern for the city's vulnerability to natural disasters, particularly flooding. Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens are all at risk, with Lower Manhattan being particularly vulnerable due to NYC sinking into its ground. The threat of sea level rise is 3 to 4 times higher than the global average along the Atlantic coast of North America. The city has already experienced the effects of flooding, with Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Ida in 2021 causing casualties and heavy damage. Geologist Tom Parsons of the United States Geological Survey warns that the structural integrity of the city's buildings could be at risk in the future, as the combination of tectonic and anthropogenic subsidence, sea level rise, and increasing hurricane intensity imply an accelerating problem along coastal and riverfront areas. The threat of severe storms is more likely than it was years ago, according to Parsons. Despite the threat, many of New York's real estate additions built since the devastation of Sandy are not taking the situation seriously enough. New York is emblematic of growing coastal cities all over the world that are observed to be subsiding, meaning there is a shared global challenge of mitigation against a growing inundation hazard.
Buildings causing NYC to sink