LES & East Village Residents Feel 'Duped' By City's Surprise Plan To Bury East River Park

Gothamist: After millions of dollars and countless hours spent fielding input from Lower East Side and East Village residents, the city now plans to abandon a long-in-the-works redesign of East River Park. Instead, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced via a press release in September, the city will literally raise the park, burying much of the current infrastructure under 10 feet of landfill and building it anew.

The abrupt reversal was the topic of a well-attended City Council hearing on Wednesday, in which a parade of local community groups sought answers from the city about a new plan that will cut off access to much of the park between 14th Street and Corlears Hook for an estimated three-and-a-half years.

"Closing the park for this long will have a devastating impact for residents and no real mitigation plan has been presented," said Naomi Schiller, a member of the LESReady! coalition, which was formed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and now includes over two dozen community groups. “We urge the City Council to do everything possible to prevent this plan that overrides years of community input from a broad range of stakeholders, that would restrict access to a critical source of recreation and open space for Lower East Side residents, and that leaves critical long-term environmental impacts inadequately addressed.” READ MORE>>