Construction Breaks Ground on the First Section of the BIG U

The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project broke ground in the fall of 2020 and is advancing construction of the flood wall and flood protection in Stuyvesant Cove and Asher Levy Playground site improvements. The project will extend flood protections and improve open spaces for more than 110,000 New Yorkers – including 28,000 public housing residents – on Manhattan’s East Side, from East 25th Street south to Montgomery Street.  

The project is an integrated 2.4-mile system of raised parkland, floodwalls, berms, and movable floodgates located in Stuyvesant Cove, East River Park, and adjacent areas, to create a continuous line of protection against sea level rise and the growing threat of stronger and more severe coastal storms, and to completely rebuild East River Park. The new design improves waterfront access, and focuses on entry points and reconstructed bridges to better connect the community to the park. Additionally, it will upgrade existing sewer systems to capture and manage precipitation during heavy rain events. 

Though this project changed scope in 2017, it has been approved by the local Council Members and Community Boards in its current form. The project has a Community Advisory Group which meets monthly to monitor construction, monitor air quality, local and diverse hiring goal compliance to community boards among other issues. You can find more information on the full project at the ESCR website and view weekly construction updates and community advisories here.

 

Total cost: $1.45B  ($335 million Federal through Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Competition + $710 million City)

Lead agency: New York City Department of Design and Construction

How you can stay involved: Attend monthly Community Board 3, Community Board 6, or Community Advisory Group meetings. To find out their schedule, click on the links.

Press: New York Magazine: The Destroy It to Save It Plan for East River Park, Architect News: BIG’s Manhattan flood wall resiliency project advances, France 24 (video): Amid Increasing Threat From Climate Change, New York Prepares for Rising Waters 

 

THE BIG U -The collaboration and innovation that began with the Rebuild by Design competition have given way to the planning, design, and implementation of various sections of this continuous flood infrastructure spanning multiple community boards. The City's funded plans span from East 25th Street on the East Side to Chambers Street on the West Side, for which sections have been named: East Side Coastal Resilience (ESCR), Brooklyn Bridge Montgomery Coastal Resilience (BMCR), Lower Manhattan Coastal Resilience (LMCR), and Battery Park City Resilience Projects. Additionally, in some areas there is interim flood protection using Tiger Dams and HESCO barriers to address flooding in Lower Manhattan before construction is complete. There are no current plans for permanent flood protection above Chambers Street on the West Side.