Excerpts from testimony and statements by people living near East River Park, which is slated to be closed and demolished March 2020… unless city officials listen:
I don’t understand how the city can even propose an Environmental Impact Statement for a plan that is unprecedented in its destruction: how can anyone predict impact, when there is no precedent? In my area of expertise, terrestrial biodiversity, the DEIS is incomplete, inaccurate and makes unjustified assumptions…
Of the many flaws in the City’s preferred Alternative 4, the failure to plan for 2100 is the worst, because it condemns the East River shoreline to be a perpetual construction zone. The DEIS does include a plan that is much less destructive, and offers the same flood protection at 1/3 the price: baseline Alternative 2. Alternative 2 preserves the floodplain and allows for future wetland expansion—consistent with state goals to offset carbon emissions. Alternative 2 preserves many other beloved park features: the Ecology Center and Seal Plaza, the Compost Yard, the amphitheater, the current embayments with existing bridges, the Labyrinth, and existing fitness areas. The billion dollars left over from Alternative 4 could pay for a lot of other wonderful park improvements… Please DISAPPROVE the disastrous Alternative 4!
– Amy Berkov, City College of New York, Dept. Biology
Yvette Mercedes testifies against the flood control plan that will destroy East River Park in Manhattan (Video courtesy of Amy Berkov.)
For those of us who use the East River Park every day for health, exercise and enjoyment, the loss of the park is a disaster. We need flood protection but I can not approve of this wasteful and callous ‘preferred plan.’
…Everyone in the neighborhood knows, based on past experience, that it could run as long as ten years to complete this project.
I am an 82 year old senior… The park with its shade giving trees is a life saver.
— Anne Boster, East Village resident
I am extremely concerned about the current plan’s impact on our air quality and the environmental stress of losing access to such a large and important green space, not to mention its role in sequestering carbon, providing refuge to so many species, and the shade and fresh air given by its beautiful mature trees. I just can’t believe that all these gorgeous trees that survived Sandy are slated to be removed–these trees are our most important frontline defense against pollution and climate change…
…Basically, in order to “protect” against climate change, we’re adding *to* climate change, and putting every resident in the area at risk of severe health problems, such as asthma, allergies, breathing issues, and mental health issues stemming from such an enormous loss of an essential recreational area…
– Marcella Durand, Lower East Side
The environmental impact statement does not recognize the value of the subterranean plant and micro-organism communities, including fungi. These are incredibly valuable sustainable nutrient resources for the plant communities and all of the animals who feed on the plants, and by burying the park under 8′ of foreign landfill, that entire nutritious subterranean environment will be lost.
Future historians will not look kindly upon your decision not to value the effort of so many planners and gardeners over the past decades who have achieved the thriving biocommunity that we have today.
You know that this park provides immense value to the citizens of New York, and by closing the entire park, you are using a blunt tool when a finer one is needed.
– Matthew Eshed, engineer
As a 9/11 survivor…I am very concerned about the health impact destroying the park, and piling 8-10 feet of landfill will have not only on my health but those vulnerable in our neighborhood, Many of us cannot move during this period of destruction and will be here when trees are cut, uprooting stumps, excavating ground soil that hasn’t been touched in years. Ground contaminants and other air particles will be exposed and drift into and around our buildings…The city’s plan is unacceptable and damaging to our community’s health.
– Sarah H, Lower East Side
We’re the ones, we’re being forced to sacrifice basically all of our family gatherings, our children’s sports leagues, our recreation our health, even the air that we breathe…for the next four to 10 years for this massive construction and demolition event to happen, and it’s going to be going on right next door to our homes….The city is taking advantage of our community. They’re taking advantage of the vulnerable residents.
– April Merlin, East Village
This total destruction of 57 acres is wrong and insane, on so many levels. We need to at least have our local elected leaders supporting the PEOPLE here. And yes, we could support some flora and fauna too, they support us.
– Victor Weiss, East Village
The devastating and destructive ECSR “preferred alternative” needs to be totally rejected. A previous plan, developed with extensive community input, was set aside. It seems clear that that earlier plan was rejected because of the desire to avoid the long-term nightly closure of a single lane on the FDR highway…
As many neighbors pointed out at the June 11 CB3 meeting, this plan should be rejected and a new plan studied by actual coastal protection experts, not designers working for the political interest of an absentee mayor who is so bored with his job he is indulging his vanity with a fantasy campaign for president.
If this project goes forward it will ruin life in our neighborhood for most of the 2020s and blight the legacy of all the officials who could have stopped it but let it happen.
– Peter Feld, East Village
The DEIS fails to adequately address…concerns related to air pollution and the large increase in particulate matter that will be generated, as well as water contamination and pollution in the demolition of East River Park and ensuing construction…The DEIS also fails to adequately address the environmental impact on air quality in the removal of almost 1,000 trees and on biodiversity with the destruction of all animal and insect habitat and the complete removal of all fertile soil in the demolition and construction process. Furthermore, the source and full content of the landfill to be loaded onto the park is unidentified.
For all these and other reasons the proposed Option 4 must be rejected.
– Howard Brandstein, East Village