May 28, 2024

New York preppers face many of the same threats as anyone else in America: civil collapse, EMP, natural disasters, etc. However, Pennsylvanians have unique challenges than preppers in other states. What makes sense for a prepper in Michigan may not make sense for a prepper in California. This applies to New York as well.

NOTE: Do you live in New York? You know your state, so let us know in the comments section how this article can be improved. What did we miss? What did we get right?

New York Overview – Prepper’s Perspective

With a royal nickname, the “Empire State” is the 4th most populous state and the 27th largest state by total area. The state is home to numerous corporate headquarters and the most significant number of Fortune 500 companies in the US. It is best known for New York City, which is the leading center of finance, banking, media, publishing, and communications, but people often forget the rest of the vast, Adirondack-covered state that houses it. New York is essentially two states in one. One is the NYC metropolis and the rest is made up of a rolling hills countryside.

The state has a large manufacturing sector. The Hudson Valley and Albany area serve as major centers of microchip and nanotechnology manufacturing. While state’s manufacturing scene fails in comparison to the city’s robust financial output, it is still a significant area that needs special consideration for prepping. What one must do to survive in the city may be of no concern in the country and vice versa.  

Food

Depending on where you are located, food could look very different. This gets more complicated depending on what time of year the SHTF. If it is winter, things are bleak for everyone in the state. However, in the other parts of the year, there is plenty of options for hunting, fishing, and farming outside of New York City.

The state has a robust agricultural scene for a reason. The state has over 36,000 farms, using more than 20% of the land to produce many commodities, leading products including dairy and milk. New York ranks 2nd in the nation for apple production and third for wine and apple juice. Therefore, so long as you have the will to find food, you can find and produce it albeit with some effort.

Inside the city, however, the food will have to be brought in. Since the city produces none of its own food, this means you must be able to procure, produce, or store your own. In a prolonged situation where normal society is fundamentally broken, doing this will be crucial to your survival. Additionally, you will want to do it in a way that you can hide effectively. The likelihood that this can happen in NYC – virtual nil. You’ll need a bug out plan!

Water

Water is easily procured anywhere in the state outside of NYC so long as you are prepared to capture and purify it. The state’s annual average precipitation is 47 inches with snowfall averaging 25 of those inches annually. Having rain barrels, tarps, or access to runoff will sustain you for a long period of time.

However, New York City gets its water from a nearly 2,000-square-mile watershed and 19 reservoirs. That water is piped into the city to serve its residents. If there is a societal breakdown, much of the key infrastructure will no longer be supplying fresh water to the tap. That means water will become a high-priced commodity inside the city and those that can’t afford it will be pouring out of the city in search of it. Expect chaos

New Your Specific Concerns

Personal Defense

New York has some of the most strict (and confusing) gun laws in the country. You will not be (legally) defending yourself or others with a modern sporting rifle. Certain firearms, and the ability to carry them, are allowed, but New York preppers have to go through a more robust screening process and face more limitations than what preppers in other states might.

For more information on New York gun laws watch the YouTube video I made while visiting New York City:

Population

Most states that have a major city located within their borders have to contend with a potential disaster happening in that metroplex. However, New York is on a whole other level of concern. The entire state’s population is 19.4 million, with 8.8 million of them living in the New York City metroplex! If a disaster struck, the rest of the state couldn’t support the residents of the city as they fled inland. This should be a chief concern for any prepper within a few hundred miles of the city.

Terrorism

Another unique concern for anyone in New York is terrorism. Though, since the last terrorist attack in 2001, there are far better systems in place to help combat this sort of threat. Still, New York City remains an American icon overseas. Those that want to attack the idea of America will always want to see NYC topple and fall. Therefore, being vigilant, prepared, and equipped to deal with the next terrorist attack should be ever-present on residents’ minds.

New York Disasters

From a natural disaster standpoint, New York is fairly safe. Though the state does have its fair share of floods, severe storms, tropical storms, winter storms, and wildfires. The most dangerous events are actually man-made tragedies. The most notable disaster in New York is the terrorist attack on September 11. It’s surprising just how many other plane crashes have occurred in this state over the years.

Prepping Strategies 

Bugging In

Storage Is Key

If you find yourself in upstate New York during winter or in New York city when SHTF, there is likely going to be a severe interruption in supplies. Food, water, medical items, and heat will very quickly become scarce. Therefore, having a 90-day supply of everything you need to survive is crucial. This is incredibly vital if you find yourself living in the city. Keep a robust supply of food and water so that way you and your family can weather the storm. Further, make sure you do not advertise that you have it as some of the less than reputable New Yorkers will try and take it for themselves during a crisis.

Know Your Neighbors

If you are going to bug in when SHTF is in New York, upstate, or in the city, one of the best things you can do is to know your neighbors. This will allow you to take a potential liability and turn it into an asset. Knowing your neighbors can enhance your security and collaboration as you seek to survive after SHTF. This will further aid you in discerning who is supposed to be in your neighborhood and who is up to no good.

Window Bars

Commonplace in other parts of the world, a cheap, easy way to enhance your home’s security both now and for when SHTF is window bars. Keeping bars over the windows will present thieves and looters with an extra level of challenge that they will shy away from. When considering bugging in, your home literally becomes your fortress. Everything you need to survive and all the people you hold dear are located inside its four walls. Why not fortify them?

Bugging Out

One of the most important pieces of equipment for any prepper planning to bug out is to have decent maps of their state. Having an identified bug out location is crucial. All preppers in any state should begin their bug out plans with a paper map of their state. Nothing is better for all-purpose use than the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer.

Water is Your Friend

Like much of New England, New York is flush with rivers, creeks, and streams that can be used to get around. When considering a bug out, think through how you can use New York’s hydrology to your advantage. While there are rivers that run inland, there are substantial water features in the west and in the east. The Atlantic Ocean can be a very effective escape route and source of food. The Great Lakes in the west also have been used as trade routes and food sources for centuries. Consider a boat, pack raft, or other means of navigating New York’s waterways.

Consider the Subway in the City

While New York has a massive population above ground, there is practically no one below ground in the miles of subway tunnels below the city. If you find yourself in the city when SHTF, the subways will likely stop working immediately. While you won’t be able to conveniently ride your way into the suburbs, you can still use the tunnel to get out of town. Though the subways end in Queens and the Bronx, it will allow you to bypass much of the crowded inner city during times of trouble. The danger here is that others might be thinking the same thing – and you’ll need light!

Steer Clear of the Crowd

New York’s greatest threat during a disaster is its own population. While they are able to accomplish incredible things during good times, when they go without food, water, medical care, and law enforcement, the residents of New York City could be very dangerous. Given the city’s long history of organized crime, during an SHTF situation, there is likely to see a rise in violent crime as these criminals seek to consolidate power. The best thing for someone bugging out to do is to avoid the crowd by taking to the ocean or heading to the Adirondacks.

Further Reading for New York Preppers

New York City Prepper’s Network – Prepper networking and information sharing group focused on New York City.

NYC APN Chapter – Chapter of the American Prepper Network located in New York City that regularly hosts prepper events.

New York City Emergency Management – New York City’s emergency management page for updates, training, and information.

New York State Emergency Management – New York State’s management information on counter-terrorism and disaster response.

Mountain Scout Survival School – Upstate New York survival school that teaches survival, navigation, and wilderness skills.

Citizen Preparedness Corps – Government-sponsored prepping course that teaches citizens how to be ready for disaster.