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Both Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene have shown that New York City is vulnerable to storm surges and extreme weather. The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance has been actively working to document the impacts and vulnerabilities of industrial waterfront communities to climate change impacts through original research, policy analysis, and other advocacy efforts. While flooding has been amply documented in areas like lower Manhattan, industrial waterfront communities have received less attention. Moreover, while there have been extensive conversations regarding opportunities to reduce the vulnerability of the region to flooding and storm surge, many government reports have almost exclusively focused on the built environment -- leaving behind the social, environmental and public health issues central to both the everyday life and the long-term resiliency of these communities. This article discusses the wide range of community-based responses to climate change that NYC-EJA has been working on, highlighting opportunities, major challenges, and lessons learned.