Take a sad plan
And make it better
To let us into our Park
Then you can start
To make it better”
That was the anthem, sung to the tune of “Hey Jude” composed by Marie de Cenival for our demonstration before the City Planning Commission hearing July 31 about the fate of our East River Park.
Some 58 people testified, almost all against the plan that will close and demolish our park, keep it closed for years, then rebuild it in a badly conceived flood control plan.
The Planning Commissions vote is an important step in the approval process for the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan that is so destructive to our neighborhood.
Did we persuade the Commission to VOTE NO on the plan? We gave them many good reasons to stop the plan and do it right. But more voices will make a stronger case.
Video by Naomi Schiller
If you weren’t able to testify, you still have until August 30 to send in your comments, which should be taken into consideration before the final vote. See the end of the post for instructions.
The hearing received some good coverage. Here are some excerpts. Click on the name of the publication to see the full story:
Flood Protection Will Cost Lower Manhattan Residents Time without Beloved East River Park
By Michael Herzenberg, Manhattan, August 1, 2019, NY1
“They’re basically going to take 2.2 miles of New York City shoreline and destroy every living thing along that shoreline,” said East Village Resident Amy Berkov.
“Over 980 trees will be killed many large and over thirty years old which creates deep cooling shade beneath,” another opponent of the plan told the Planning Department.
“Life over trees. I believe in protecting life and I believe in protecting homes,” area resident and plan supporter Nancy Ortiz told the Planning Department.
[Note from East River Park ACTION: Nancy Ortiz has consistently testified in support of the plan. We’d like to persuade her–and the city–that we can keep many trees and parts of the park open and also protect our lives and homes from flooding. The current plan will leave us completely unprotected for the 3 1/2 years planned closing and likely far beyond. We are asking for temporary flood protection that will make a difference this year! And for a better plan.]
Future of East Side flood protection plan debated at heated hearing
The plan will protect a 2.4 mile stretch of Manhattan’s coast from flooding
By Caroline Spivack Aug 1, 2019, Curbed
“This park and this neighborhood is located quite a distance from public transit and the park itself has really become an important transportation artery,” said City Planning Commissioner Larisa Ortiz. “I think that that’s got to be thought through because of the importance of this as a north-south connector.”
[Note from East River Park ACTION: This is an encouraging note from the Commissioner talking primarily about bikes. There is no current safe alternative for bicycles in our neighborhood.] Here is Elisabeth Dyssegard Kallick, a passionate advocate for bikes, play streets and other alternatives from an earlier hearing:
Flood Plan That Rebuilds East River Park Draws Dozens To Meeting
The City Planning Commission held a hearing on the controversial flood protection plan for Manhattan’s east side.
By Sydney Pereira, Patch
“If approved, the project would then go to City Council, where Councilmember Carlina Rivera holds a pivotal vote.”
“Rivera remains concerned about the lack of commitment to phased construction to allow for use of the park during construction, among other issues, though has not outright opposed the plan.”
[Note from East River Park ACTION: Council Member Rivera needs to know how many people in her district oppose this plan!]
BY AUGUST 30, Tell the City Planning Commission
VOTE NO on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan that will close and kill our park for years.
VOTE NO to keeping the park closed for years while they rebuild it higher for flood protection in the least environmentally friendly way possible–the anti-New Green Deal.
VOTE NO because the plan provides NO temporary flood protection.
VOTE NO to an unjust plan that is bad for the physical and mental health of more than 100,000 low and middle income residents who live nearby.
VOTE NO and work with our community for a better plan.
Send your statement
Email:CDBGDR-Enviro@omb.nyc.gov Online: http://www.nyc.gov/cdbgdr Snail Mail: NYC Office of Management and Budget, c/o Calvin Johnson, Assistant Director CDBG-DR, 255 Greenwich Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10007, or New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, c/o Colleen Alderson, Chief, Parklands and Real Estate, The Arsenal, Central Park, 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 401, New York, NY 10065
Need more information about what to say?
Here’s a brief history, along with some of the city’s wrong information and our factual answers. FACT SHEET ABOUT THE EAST SIDE COASTAL RESILIENCY PLAN
And here’s a blog post, A Beginner’s Guide to the NYC Environmental Impact Statement for the East River Park, about the “long and painful document” that is the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the city’s “Preferred Plan” that will destroy and close our park for years. Our voices need to be heard strongly, or the Environmental Impact report will pass, and we are truly screwed.
But, hey Dude, we can start to make it Better Better Better!