NYC Safe Zone
Owner State of New York Established May 5th, 2015
Purpose Resettlement of New York City
Status Habitable — Population: 474,558 (4,745 SLC-Expressive)

The NYC Safe Zone covers a roughly 13-mile wide portion of what was once portions of Brooklyn and Queens. The western and northern perimeters of the Safe Zone are defined by the East River, and land routes to Staten Island and Manhattan are no longer extant. The southern perimeter is demarcated by Jamaica Bay. The eastern border of the Safe Zone is marked by a temporary wall of irregularly-sized chain link fence topped with razor-wire and floodlights. This wall borders the uninhabitable ruins of eastern Queens and the remainder of Long Island. The interior of the Safe Zone is a work in progress, with more than 50% of the walled area still in ruins or otherwise of uninhabitable status. Month by month, more buildings are reclaimed and waiting families are moved in from temporary housing areas. Much of the infrastructure of the Safe Zone is still in a state of disrepair, with minimal functioning electricity, water, and gas to most regions of the new borough.

The majority of the Safe Zone's residents live in the city's original tenement buildings or brownstones, which are in varying states of disrepair. Electricity is rationed by neighborhood block; scheduled brown-outs are a way of life everywhere except hospitals. During the years in which the city was considered "abandoned" by the U.S. government, nature reclaimed its parks and sprung up through cracks in the sidewalks and building foundations. Even inside the Safe Zone, there are wild, unkempt areas of new growth, infant forests and tangled vegetation. It is not uncommon to spot escaped zoo animals or their descendants.

NYC Safe Zone

Locations

Additional Info

The New York City Safe Zone is the only inhabitable neighborhood in the entirety of New York City. In the aftermath of the Second American Civil War, New York City and many surrounding cities were left largely uninhabited and in considerable disrepair. Following the instatement of the Praeger Administration, efforts were made to begin reconstruction of America's destroyed cities in the hopes that healing would spread outward from these major population centers into the rest of the nation. The NYC Safe Zone is one of many reclaimed metropolitan areas across the country; others include the Chicago, Atlanta, and Boston Safe Zones. The NYC Safe Zone is ostensibly under the governance of the State of New York; however, due to the American financial collapse following the war, reconstruction efforts are handled by private sector corporate interests. These contracts were established by public bidding among hand-chosen industrial corporations from around the world. The NYC Safe Zone is maintained by Yamagato Industries.

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Government

The NYC Safe Zone is governed by New York City Mayor Caroline Short, whose offices are located in the Safe Zone Municipal Building. Though state and local government is operating at some levels, the NYPD has yet to be reinstated within the Safe Zone due to staffing shortages. Efforts are being made for their official reinstatement (and the withdrawal of many of the Safe Zone's armed forces) sometime in 2019.

SESA maintains their headquarters on Governor's Island, alongside the UN Security Council observers who are resident in the Safe Zone to report on any human rights violations that may arise in the aftermath of the Civil War. SESA also maintains several Chesterfield Act registration offices across the Safe Zone.

The Department of Homeland Security and FBI operate out of the Liberty Island Detention Center, a federal holding facility for war criminals and terrorists following the civil war's conclusion.

Residency

Residency in the NYC Safe Zone is open to any and all US Residents, naturalized citizens, and foreigners operating on a Visa. Individual US Citizens willing to relocate to the Safe Zone are afforded a $25,000 government grant (with increases for couples and families) and are also eligible for subsidized government housing opportunities. Newly relocated Safe Zone residents are initially moved to the Spring Creek Settler's Park where they are placed in temporary housing for 3 to 4 months, after which time they are settled by lottery into an extant residence within the Safe Zone.

Residents of the NYC Safe Zone are required to register under the Chesterfield Act, and falsification of these records are punishable by immediate removal from the Safe Zone and criminal prosecution.

Those coming to America as asylum seekers from foreign nations are relocated to one of the country's Safe Zones. As such, the NYC Safe Zone has an abundance of immigrant residents, particularly among the SLC-Expressive community as individuals flee more restrictive and hostile countries. Immigrant citizens, even SLC-Expressive asylum seekers, risk deportation should they be convicted of a violent crime.

Property Ownership

In 2015, the United States Government declared the entirety of the NYC Safe Zone property of the United States Government as per the statues of the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution. Former NYC Residents who can prove ownership of seized material assets are eligible to receive compensation for their losses, but claiming it is a tangled and prolonged process that requires suing through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Furthermore, no physical assets are typically returned. The US Government has used this method of reclamation to redistribute property among Safe Zone settlers by means of a public lottery. Applicants to the Safe Zone are thus assigned residences by lot, with properties in formerly affluent neighborhoods being weighted to smaller scales and much less likely to be awarded.

All land appropriated by the US Government is also for sale to private owners, though at exorbitantly inflated prices so as to help offset the substantial financial burden the US currently faces. It was through this arrangement that Yamagato Industries was able to purchase the entirety of what was once Calvert Vaux Park to create Yamagato Park.

Getting In and Out of the Safe Zone

There are four official land routes out of the Safe Zone: Grand Central Parkway on the north end, which abuts the ruins of LaGuardia Airport; I-495 and Jackie Robinson Parkway which cut through the middle of what was once Queens; and Belt Parkway which follows the Safe Zone's border with Jamaica Bay. Each of these four roads are protected by military checkpoints, manned 24 hours a day by the US Army and National Guard. Safe Zone residents are free to come and go during daylight hours, but after dark, vehicle traffic in and out of the city is limited to restricted access vehicles only (government contractors, emergency, medical, military, and Yamagato Industries employees). Non-residents are not permitted into the Safe Zone at any time without first passing through a light security screening at the checkpoint. Vehicles are sometimes searched for contraband, but corruption is rife among the border guards and smuggling is a known problem.

Queens Boulevard is the sole restricted land-route access to the Safe Zone, reserved for Yamagato Industries and government traffic only. Identification is required both coming and going from this route.

While the extant roads in and out of the Safe Zone are monitored, the miles of fence separating it from the rest of New York are not. People slip in and out of the city through gaps in the fence, or by navigating the ruins of subway tunnels and sewers.

Due to damage caused by both the events leading up to the Second American Civil War and the war itself, there are no land routes to Staten Island or Manhattan. The Verazanno-Narrows Bridge that connected Brooklyn and Staten Island was destroyed in 2009 during a confrontation with the terrorist organization known as the Vanguard, while the Hugh L. Carey tunnel that connected Red Hook to Battery Park City collapsed from structural damage in 2012. The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge were both destroyed during 2013 as forces allied to President Mitchell retreated into Manhattan. The Williamsburg Bridge that connected Brooklyn to the Lower East Side was heavily damaged by an air strike in 2013 but did not fully collapse until the summer of 2014. The Queens Midtown Tunnel connecting Long Island City to Midtown East was closed following the 2007 nuclear explosion in Midtown, and its Manhattan side collapsed from structural damage in 2014. The Queensboro Bridge remains partly intact as far as the uninhabitable ruins of Roosevelt Island, but the span joining Manhattan to Roosevelt Island collapsed into the East River from structural damage in early 2015.

The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and Hell Gate Bridges connecting Queens to Randall's Island are mostly intact, but suffer from severe structural damage and are on the verge of collapse. Yamagato Industries is in the process of repairing both of these bridges to ease access to Randall's Island for future expansion of the Safe Zone. Additionally, the Whitestong and Throgs Neck Bridges connecting Queens to the Bronx are intact and serve as the only through-way passage off of Long Island to mainland New York, though the territory they cross through is not considered part of the Safe Zone.

Water traffic in and out of the Safe Zone is strictly monitored by US Army patrols up and down the East River and Hudson River. Daytime boat traffic is allowed via permit, but nighttime traffic is restricted just as land-traffic is. However, security within the Safe Zone suffers from minimal man-hours, and it is common for small boat traffic to sneak in and out of the Safe Zone at night. Penalties for breaking transit curfews range from 24-hour detention to fines and potential jail time on Riker's Island.

Economy

With the current economic and material state of the US, the Safe Zone acts like a microcosm of the entire nation. Like most affected parts of the country, major sales corporations have yet to reemerge from the financial fallout. As such, much of the NYC Safe Zone's economic activity occurs through pop-up street markets, bodegas, and bazaars. Prices for goods range wildly from one business to the next and there is very little market stability. Furthermore, even with the $25,000 resettlement incentive and government-subsidized housing, poverty and disease are both rampant in the Safe Zone and in most cities across the United States.

Food rationing is an ongoing reality. While scarcity is mitigated nation-wide by the efforts of SLC-Expressive individuals with relevant abilities (such as plant growth and object replication), it will be at least a decade before the nation's food crisis is fully averted. This situation impacts businesses such as restaurants, which are more often than not short of demand on all food products. Fresh produce and protein is in high demand, and as the Safe Zone lacks arable land suitable for mass farming these are imported through government shipments on a monthly basis. Residents are encouraged to grow their own vegetables whenever possible.

With inflation of the US dollar at 300%, barter is often seen as a desirable alternative to direct trade of cash; many businesses are willing to arrange barter exchanges on a case-by-case basis, especially for staple products.

Travel

Most Safe Zone residents utilize public transportation or foot traffic and bicycles to get around. While there is infrastructure for automobiles, the exorbitant prices for gasoline and electricity prohibit most automobiles from being used by individual residents. Furthermore, as there are only two land routes into the Safe Zone, getting automobiles into the area outside of via expensive shipping is often prohibitive. The Safe Zone has several bus routes and more than 75% of the original subway infrastructure in the Safe Zone is operational and intact, allowing residents easy access to most neighborhoods. Personal automobiles are considered a luxury and only possessed by wealthier and more influential members of the Safe Zone's citizenry.

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