Whenever I go into the city via Metro North, I always sit by the window. The Harlem line follows the Bronx River, which is known to flood in many areas, including the parkway surface, shutting it down.
The river is, basically, digusting. It's so obvious why the flooding gets to be so severe, and the same goes for the Hutchinson River and even parts of the Saw Mill river.
So, how could we make this problem better? First, remove all the trash and debris from the river and surrounding areas- it's digusting how much there is. This includes the dead brush and fallen trees that in places dam the river, slowing it's flow. The river also needs to be dredged in certain areas. In some places the river gets to be less then a foot deep. Aligning and widening the river in certain places would help tremendously, as would flood walls and overflow ponds. Finally, an comprehensive study needs to be done to find illegal drainage into the river, or legal drainage that is causing problems, like overdevelopment.
I'd also like to see, after the above tasks are completed, having the river banks restored. Plant native plants that have died due to the toxicity and slow death of the river. Stocking the river with native fish, along with providing them with a habitat.
Simple solutions typed up. Will they cost money? Yup, a lot of money. However, how much does the damage from a flood cost? What would the consequences of a healthy river be? A lot of the labor could be done by prisoners or those in need of work. Work to be accomplished by them could be task like removing the dead brush, fallen trees, and trash removal. An excavator could be brought in to deepen and align the river. And on and on we could go with solutions, yet we will react as usual in this county, not be proactive.