We Need a Green Plan, Not an Environmental Disaster
Hurricane Sandy Didn’t Kill East River Park. New York City Will
Soon, New York City will demolish our big, beloved park on the unwealthy side of the Lower East Side and East Village. Everything must go–shady lawns, picnic areas, ballfields, running track, amphitheater, the compost yard, historic buildings, and 1,000 trees.
The city is determined to go ahead with the $1.45 billion ESCR–East Side Coastal Resiliency–even with the budget in desperate shortfall and despite the desperate need during this pandemic for outdoor recreation at safe distances.
The city will build a 1.2 mile seawall and cover the park with eight feet of fill for flood control. It will also cause a health crisis for our already suffering neighborhood with many people of color, elderly and low-income residents.
True Resiliency is Possible
There are better plans that will preserve our park and give us flood protection.
After Hurricane Sandy raged through New York in 2012, the community worked for four years with officials to plan flood control. Flood walls and berms (long hills) would be built along the FDR Drive for storm surge protection. The park itself could be flooded during a hurricane. It would help absorb the overflowing waters and quickly recover. It would cost about $770 million.
In late 2018, the city suddenly decided the whole park should be erased to build a giant levee with a new park on top.
They will close 60 percent of the park in 2021, demolish it, then close other sections as they reopen completed areas. It is scheduled to take five years (but when has NYC ever done anything on schedule?) and cost $1.45 billion.
An adaptation of the earlier plan should be our solution.
Community members say that the current plan is an environmental injustice. Some 9,000 people including 2,000 from NYCHA Speaks signed various petitions against the plan. Hundreds of people have testified, marched, and protested, emailed, called, and flooded social media. Join us as we continue to try to Save East River Park.
Visit our ACTION page to see what you can do right now.
What should be done for flood control in East River Park?
Links to the earlier plans. This is the gory details page: History and Resources
What’s wrong with the plan: A Dozen Reasons Why. This we published in Oct. 2019. The reasons still hold. A 13th reason now: Covid-19 has made open park space crucial to our well being.
East River Park and the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan in the news from 2018 to now. East River Park News
See articles on Resilency, Mental and Physical Health Effects, and more.
Here are some of the passionate and well-informed testimonies opponents of the plan gave at the City Council Oct. 3: A Mountain of Testimony Against a Pile of Landfill
And here’s more testimony from earlier hearings. Hello? Hello? NYC Can You Hear Me?
Here is the November 2019 rally where we delivered 9,000 petitions to City Hall including 2,000 specifically from NYCHA residents. We represented our community allied in opposition to this plan that is an environmental disaster and an environmental injustice. New York City Council did not hear our impassioned demands. We Rallied.
East River Park ACTION leads 90 plaintiffs who took legal action over the destruction of environment and threats to health of residents. We filed a lawsuit in Feb. 2020. Judge ruled against us August 2020. We are appealing. See our Lawsuit page. And we are finding other legal avenues that will result in a better plan. Please donate to our legal fund.
East River Park ACTION is a nonprofit 501(c)3 charity. Donations are tax deductible.