Serious Questions Remain as East River Resiliency Project Heads to Manhattan Borough President

Bowery Boogie: Back in mid-May, the Parks Department shared a presentation with the Community Board 3 Parks subcommittee regarding the East Side Coastal Resiliency project.

(The ESCR project is the city’s flood protection plan which will close, demolish, and rebuild the majority of the East River Park.)

The presentation was divided into three sections: “Project Update,” “Neighborhood Parks Improvements,” and “Next Steps.” The overwhelming majority of this presentation is contained within the “Neighborhood Parks Improvements” section, and outlines ten separate redevelopment projects at over a dozen locations throughout Lower Manhattan. Presumably, this presentation was in-part the department’s response to community demands for help in mitigating the massive loss of public space which the ESCR project requires for its at least three-and-a-half year construction period.

Among the initiatives summarized is the “Asphalt to Turf or Turf Improvement” initiative, which discussed eight proposed projects. Of these, six are located directly on the Lower East Side: Tompkins Square Park, Tanahey Playground, Coleman Field, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, the Baruch Playground, and the plot currently occupied by the LaGuardia Bathhouse.

In June, the full CB3 board voted to approve the ESCR project application, albeit with “conditions.” The approval outlines several unresolved questions including the “frayed trust” of the community, lack of consensus over whether the newer “Preferred Alternative” plan requires a vote by the state legislature, and the complete absence of outside scientific review. Read more>>