Abandoned neighborhoods. Boarded-up harbor facilities. An oil refinery submerged under several feet of brackish water. The Statue of Liberty slowly sinking into the sea.  “Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront,” a new show at the Museum of Modern Art, reflects a level of apocalyptic thinking about this city that we haven’t seen since it was at the edge of financial collapse in the 1970s, a time when muggers roamed freely, and graffiti covered everything.

Organized by Barry Bergdoll, the Modern’s curator of architecture and design, the show is a response to the effects that rising sea levels are expected to have on New York City and parts of New Jersey over the next 70 or so years, according to government studies. The solutions it proposes are impressively imaginative, ranging from spongelike sidewalks to housing projects suspended over water to transforming the Gowanus Canal into an oyster hatchery.

Yet the show is no crackpot fantasy. Based on a two-year research project by the engineer Guy Nordenson, the landscape architect Catherine Seavitt and the architect Adam Yarinsky, it builds on recent municipal efforts to create a greener New York, from bike lanes to the construction of the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. Its vision of “soft infrastructure,” which would replace much of the city’s aging concrete waterfront with a more porous blend of land and sea, is the most coherent model we have for a sustainable city in the current century — as well as one that would radically transform New York’s Manhattan-centric identity by reorienting the city around its harbor.

One of the first things you see in the show is a provocative series of images of Lower Manhattan in 2080. The Freedom Tower has (just?) been completed and dominates the downtown skyline. Many of Battery Park City’s towers, which were built on landfill produced by the construction of the original World Trade Center, are gone. A swath of green extends from the water’s edge halfway up to Wall Street. At first glance, it looks like a sci-fi disaster flick.  Read more at Art & Design in the New York Times.