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Staten Island's Post-Sandy Future Discussed by Experts

By Nicholas Rizzi | January 15, 2013 8:34am

EAST HARLEM — Staten Island's future after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy will be studied by a panel at the Museum of the City of New York Tuesday night.

The panel, “The Future of Staten Island After Sandy,” will focus on the land use and rebuilding of the borough, which was hit hard by the storm.

It's part of the museum’s "From Farm to City: Staten Island, 1661-2012" exhibit, which opened in September and looks at the development in the borough from its farming past to the present.

The exhibit was originally scheduled to end in January but has been extended to Feburary 10.

“The questions that are on the table are more difficult than the question we laid out in the exhibit, in light of Sandy and thinking about what areas may or may not be developable,” said the exhibit's guest curator, Liz McEnaney.

McEnaney said the five speaker panel, which includes professors and an urban planner for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, will each have a different take on how to address those questions.

“Everybody has quite a different take on development and a different vision for the island,” she said.

The panel will also discuss some of the history of the areas hard-hit by the storm. McEnaney said the destroyed areas were mostly built on wetlands, and the panel will focus on if it's viable to rebuild on the land.

“Perhaps a lot of this development occurred in areas where it really shouldn't have,” McEnaney said.

However, McEnaney said the questions become even more challenging because people have already made their homes in these neighborhoods.

"It's really challenging," she said.

McEnaney said the museum also hopes to update its “Mapping Staten Island” companion website to add the historic maps of wetlands areas and where homes were built.

Since the exhibit opened, non-Staten Islanders have gained a new appreciation for the borough,  Sarah Henry, chief curator for the museum, told DNAinfo.com New York.

"People are kind of berating themselves that they haven't spent much time on Staten Island, and now how they intend to do so," Henry said in September.

Since the storm, Staten Island has come into the nation's focus, and a question the panel will address is how to make sure awareness of the borough stays strong as rebuilding begins, McEnaney said.

“I think that more people have focused on Staten Island, not just in the city but nationality as well,” she said. “The question is just making sure Staten Island stays in the public attention, and that there are resources still going into rebuilding.”

“The Future of Staten Island After Sandy,” will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of the City of New York.

Tickets are $6 for museum members, $8 for seniors and students and $12 for the general public, reservations required. For more information, a list of panelists and to register, visit the museum’s website.