When the city closes parkland for any length of time or uses it for a non-park purpose, the state must authorize the change. It is called “Alienation.” It provides much-needed oversight, transparency, and requirements for alternate park spaces (called mitigation).
The city did not ask the state for Alienation for the flood control plan for East River Park. They simply plan to start bulldozing, and will have no oversight. By suing, we are doing what the city should have done.
Our lawsuit is being handled pro bono (no fee) by Advocates for Justice, a nonprofit firm. We have 90 plaintiffs, mostly people from the neighborhood, and some 13 organizations.
Here is our post with information about the lawsuit and a video of the press conference announcing it: Suing.
Here is the New York State Supreme Court filing with affidavits many of us wrote to support the lawsuit: East River Park Action et al v. City of New York.
To read more news stories about the lawsuit and other articles about East River Park, see our East River Park News page.
Why We Filed a Lawsuit
The City is proceeding with the plan to demolish East River Park starting in the autumn of 2020. During construction of the East Side Coastal Resiliency flood control plan, we will lose access to most of the park for a minimum of five years. As the park is demolished and rebuilt eight feet higher, every tree, every plant, the 1.2 mile promenade, the new $3.5 million running track and ball fields will be bulldozed. We need flood control, but the plan needs revisions and oversight. We also need interim protection.
The lawsuit and our continued opposition is important. Without our pressure, the city is likely to continue this irresponsible plan without oversight or transparency.
More Reasons for Alienation
Among the problems that state alienation can improve or change:
The plan calls for the removal of all living things in East River Park. The destruction of 1,000 mature trees will compromise our air quality and therefore our health. The city’s plans for street and park tree replacement is inadequate.
The city may add or improve bike lanes to local streets, but it does not plan any alternate greenways to substitute for our 1.2 mile promenade. There will be no place for runners, walkers, strollers, dog walkers, people with disabilities, children, and the elderly.
Under current plan, along the FDR by the Seal Park there will be a large, permanent parking lot and shed for maintenance vehicles instead of green space.
Pier 42, currently a slab of concrete and weeds just south of East River Park, is supposed to be fast-tracked to become a new park, yet, the city has just announced its plans to park garbage trucks there.
For more about what Alienation is, check out our post about it, “Alienated.”