In the first half of the 20th century, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company built two skyscrapers just across the street from Madison Square Park in Manhattan. One of them is now home to Eleven Madison Park, widely considered one of the best restaurants in America, and the most prominent to announce its intentions to do something about climate change. The other tower, currently home to a luxury hotel, is the setting for science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson’s dystopian 2017 novel, New York 2140, which takes place after catastrophic climate change has already arrived.
Eleven Madison Park doesn’t exist in the world of New York 2140, because the polar ice caps have melted, sending global sea levels up by 50 feet. All of Manhattan south of Central Park is now underwater, its famous grid of streets now a grid of canals. The lower floors of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s towers have been hardened to keep the water out, and the upper floors have been converted into co-ops of tiny efficiency apartments for well-off professionals — lawyers, investment bankers, influencers.
The tower where New York 2140 is set is also an agricultural op... Read more