We need a hearing
With the flaws with the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan becoming more and more apparent every day, we need to consider alternatives and shine a light on this disastrous project to demolish East River Park. How did it come about? What we can do to gain flood protection while keeping much of our park that is so necessary to our neighborhood’s physical and mental well-being?
Please contact Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Resiliency & Waterfronts to ask for an oversight hearing. Tap the red URGENT button below to auto-generate an email you can just sign and send.
You can call or Tweet or create your own letter. Please see the contact information and sample letter below the Urgent box. Use it in whole or in part (and with your own adaptations).
Justin Brannan, Chair, Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts
Dear City Council Member Justin Brannan:
I am writing to ask that you use your leadership as Chair of the Committee on Resiliency & Waterfronts to hold an oversight hearing to investigate the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) ) plan that will destroy East River Park.
Here’s why we need a hearing now:
- Post-Superstorm Sandy, a resiliency plan to protect the lower Manhattan waterfront was created by the community and the city. In 2018 it was abruptly scrapped by the de Blasio administration. The ESCR was presented in its place, as a fait accompli.
The ESCR costs twice as much as the community plan, provides no interim flood protection and requires the destruction of the East River Park, a 46 acre park that serves the entire Lower East Side, causing irreparable destruction to the park’s ecosystem and eliminating 1,000 mature trees.
- The mayor cited a Value Engineering Study that justified the plan for the current destruction. The city then hid the report for three years–until Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests uncovered it. Why would the city be so reluctant to release the full report (which is still partly redacted)? Could it be that it shows many viable alternatives to destroying East River Park and still gaining flood control?
We need to look at those alternatives. There can be innovative adaptations of previous designs. There are ways to keep much of our park alive and gain flood control. From the Value Engineering Study it also appears that one reason the city chose to bury the park and build a giant levee was to avoid oversight by the state (called alienation) and adequate alternate park spaces (called mitigation) during construction.
- This project has already been delayed for multiple reasons that deserve public scrutiny.
- The project is already running many millions over-budget.
As we confront the realities of Climate Change, it is important that communities are at the table. Those most affected by Climate Change should not be victimized by Climate Change Mitigation. There should be full transparency and community involvement in all environmental policy making. It is time to involve the community in finding alternatives that retains our park and provides flood control for the neighborhood.
Please, call a meeting now. Surely we must shine a bold light on a project of this scope and consequence.
(Please sign your name and street address.)
Preserve the Park + Flood Control
It can be done.
Thanks to your support, LES Breathe has purchased air quality sensors. The first five PurpleAir real time monitors are being placed around the neighborhood, along with mobile sensors that work indoors or out. In coming weeks, these sensors will provide open data that will be shared on easy to use maps.
Also in the works:
- A guide in Spanish and English for having cleaner air at home
- An inclusive Air Quality engagement campaign
- A concise review of the 2,000 page report on the Park’s soil and water. That was another document that came to East River Park Action via a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
LES Breathe has a growing number of volunteers – contact email@example.com to get involved.
For more about this public health-focused committee of East River Park Action, visit our LES Breathe web page.
We filed a lawsuit April 2, 2021, to gain full access to the Value Engineering Study that was used as the justification for the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan in 2018. The city has withheld key parts of the study. Read about the suit here: https://eastriverparkaction.org/2021/04/05/lawsuit-filed-for-unredacted-value-engineering-report/
Meanwhile, our state alienation lawsuit lost on Aug. 20, 2020. We are appealing! Here’s a good story on the basis of the case: https://thevillagesun.com/appeal-planned-in-east-river-park-resiliency-case
Please donate to our Legal Fund–we are a 501(c)3 so donations are tax deductible.
The donate button below will take you to our GoFundMe page. You can also write checks payable to “East River Park Action” then, in the memo write “legal.” Send to East River Park Action, c/o Jonathan Lefkowitz, 426 E. 10th St., New York, N.Y. 10009
Contact City Officials
Right now, we are asking City Council Members (CCMs) to hold a hearing on the viability of the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan that will destroy East River Park. Alternatives are possible. In light of the recent uncovering of the heavily redacted Value Engineering Study that was used as the justification for the ESCR, we need to demand transparency and a reevaluation.
Please call, email, or Tweet your CCM and CCM Justin Brannan, who is chair of the waterfront and resiliency committee. Contact information below.
Unless we get a change in the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan, the city will close 60% of East River Park and fill the rest of the park and our neighborhood with construction dust and noise.
Here’s the plan for closures (in orange) for the first phase (at least two years)
We still have time to demand a better plan that will preserve our park and give us flood control. Ask city officials to revise the ESCR to a less destructive plan and move some of the capital funds to other important capital projects such as affordable housing. (Capital funds such as the ESCR’s can only be moved to other capital projects–buildings and infrastructure projects–not operating expenses, unfortunately.)
Join the fight. Write to us to join our email list, ask questions, or send ideas.
Like our Facebook page: East River Park ACTION
Sign the petition from Warriors in the Garden
And/ or Contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Ask him to issue an executive order keeping 100 percent of East River Park open during this pandemic!
Here are reasons to cite when you call, write or Tweet the governor:
Without your intervention, the City will start bulldozing 1.2 miles of beloved riverfront park this fall for a controversial flood control project.
Razing the park will be an environmental injustice and public health crisis for our crowded Lower East Side and East Village communities with many people of color, elderly and low-income residents. This neighborhood also has a high Covid-19 infection rate–on top of already high rates of asthma and upper respiratory ills. Especially during this pandemic, our community needs parkland for physical and mental health, a place to be outside and maintain social distance.
NYCHA campuses adjacent to the park have had hundreds of trees felled, been surrounded with chain link fences and have ongoing heavy construction for a separate flood control project. There is no place in our crowded neighborhood to go for fresh air, peace and health–except East River Park.
Here is some background on the project that resulted in a death sentence for East River Park despite fierce opposition:
After Hurricane Sandy, the city worked for years with the community to develop flood wall plans along the FDR and to make the park resilient to survive storm surges. Yet in late 2018 NYC suddenly adopted an expensive, resource intensive, destructive plan. NYC’s $1.45 billion ESCR—East Side Coastal Resiliency—project will close and flatten East River Park in phases beginning with 60% of the Park early 2021. The ESCR will cover the Park in 8 feet of imported fill (nearly a million tons) as flood protection and will rebuild the Park on top. It will surely take longer than the City’s timeline of 5 years.
Now, even in the face of a pandemic when we need park space more than ever, the city is on schedule to proceed with this harmful ESCR.
A mandate that the city keep the entire park open at least while we face the pandemic would make a big difference for our neighborhood. Besides enabling our unwealthy community to maintain our physical and mental health, this pause will give the city time to reconsider immediate and long-term flood control that will preserve our park.
CALL EMAIL and/or Tweet:
Carlina Rivera, City Council Member, East Village
212 677 1077
Margaret Chin, City Council Member, Lower East Side
Keith Powers. City Council Member, Stuyvesant Town area
Justin Brannan, Chair, Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts
Daniel Dromm, Chair Of The Council Finance Committee
This committee is responsible for reviewing and modifying the City budget.
212-788-7066 or 718-803-6373
Vanessa Gibson, Chair Of The Finance Committee’s Subcommittee On Capital Budget And Finance
718-588-7500 or 212-788-6856
Donovan Richards, Chair Of The Committee On Public Safety
212-788-7216 or 718-471-7014
Speaker Corey Johnson, Speaker Of The Council
He is a Mayor hopeful
212-564-7757 or 212-788-7210
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
He is a Mayor hopeful
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Scott M. Stringer, NYC Comptroller
Mayor De Blasio does not have a public email address.
Call 311 to leave a message.
Send messages through their direct contact pages on the NYC government website: https://tinyurl.com/deblasioemail
DIRECTORY OF ALL COUNCIL MEMBER EMAILS/PHONE NUMBERS
Directory link: https://council.nyc.gov/districts/