MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams is making a case for New York City to be better protected after the catastrophe of Superstorm Sandy.
"It looked like something out of a science fiction movie, to see the East River coming up towards your building," Trever Holland said.
The water then rushed into 82 Rutgers Slip. Outside the high rise, South Street was underwater when Superstorm Sandy barreled in on October 29, 2012.
Holland was one of the 2.5 million people in the dark. He lives at Two Bridges Tower.
"It's funny how we get disaster amnesia until we get to points like this, we forget how bad it was," Holland said.
Sandy caused roughly $19 billion in damage and economic loss.
To prepare for the next severe weather event, officials announced a number of critical steps.
"This kind of work is generations and it involves significant long-term planning and needs regular and reliable resilience funding," Adams said.
Crews are breaking ground on the Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resilience Project.
It will stretch along the East River for about a mile. The project costs $350 million overall.
Seventy-two hours before a storm hits, a team will activate a series of 100 9-foot-tall flood walls and flip up barriers.
"93 of the gates are hydraulics powered, press a button and the gate will come up within one or two minutes," Tom Foley from the NYC Dept. of Design and Construction said.
The mayor says the project is part of an entirely new class of infrastructure to protect the city.
Just north, yet another example is in full swing. Both are expected to be finished in 2026.
"It's over a decade of advocacy for flood protection programs for low income neighborhoods, so I'm extremely happy we're getting started," Holland said.