Hulk Smash! How Much Damage Would The Avengers do to New York?

Everybody loves a nice, expensive Hollywood action sequence. But how much would a battle between superheroes and marauding space warriors really cost the Big Apple?

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Zade Rosenthal / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Everett

The Avengers, from left: Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson

New York City has been blown up dozens of times in the movies, and once or twice in real life. But the newest catastrophe to hit the city is, thankfully, of the fictional kind: in this summer’s mega-blockbuster The Avengers, the city hosts a massive climactic battle sequence between the forces of good and evil.

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At the end of the super hero epic, much of midtown Manhattan has been smashed, shattered and laid to waste by an invading band of aliens called the Chitauri, as well as by some of the earth-saving Avengers (we’re looking at you, Hulk). But witnessing all that destruction on screen makes us wonder: how much would restoration cost?

According to Kinetic Analysis Corp., one of the leading disaster-cost prediction and assessment firms in the nation, that overall price tag would be about $160 billion.

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In an analysis for the Hollywood Reporter, a KAC team, led by Chuck Watson and Sara Jupin, used computer models that typically predict construction costs of nuclear weapons to estimate the price of physical damage at $60-$70 billion, economic clean up at $90 billion and the actuarial cost of thousands of lost lives. All together, it totals $160 billion.

In comparison, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks cost $83 billion, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion and last year’s Japan tsunami cost $122 billion.

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The majority of buildings were limited to superficial damage, like windows, however building with tops crushed would be very costly to fix, as would Grand Central Station, crushed beneath a Chitauri hybrid of armored personnel carrier and flying sea cow.

“The extensive damage to Grand Central Terminal could provide highly disruptive, depending on the subsurface damage to the subway system,” KAC notes:

“Although such damage is unlikely as the 9/11 events showed, collapsing buildings can cause significant damage to subsurface infrastructure such as gas, communications and electrical systems.  Detailed site surveys will be required to assess the state of the subterranean infrastructure.”

Duly noted for the next alien invasion.

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