WHY WE PROTEST!
Mayor Bill deBlasio to East River Park: “DROP DEAD!”
Make some noise before New York City commits an environmental disaster in the name of flood protection.
Mayor deBlasio: Closing and flattening the largest park in Lower Manhattan, a jewel along the waterfront, playground and sanctuary for some 110,000 low-and-middle income New Yorkers, is not a Green New Deal.
It’s a bad, ugly deal. It’s a reckless travesty of environmental injustice.
Like the general in Vietnam, who said, “We have to destroy the village to save it,” Mr. deBlasio, you seem to think we have to destroy our environment to save our environment.
Meanwhile, the Lower East Side and East Village will have no flood protection for years, not even the modicum of absorption that the park gave us during Hurricane Sandy. We need interim flood protection.
Mayor deBlasio, your flood protection plan to raise the entire park up to 10 feet destroys nearly 1,000 mature trees and every bit of biodiversity that cleanses our air and soothes our souls. We’ll have at least five years construction, throwing fill dirt that will clog the lungs of people who already have high asthma rates, who already suffered respiratory illnesses because of 9/11.
Phased construction equals phased destruction.
On Oct. 2, 2019, the Mayor’s office announced that the park will be demolished and rebuilt in phases instead of closing and bulldozing it all at once as the city had planned when it announced the Kill the Park project in the fall of 2018. Parts of the park will always be open. “The community spoke and we listened,” said Mayor de Blasio.
Not so fast.
Hundreds of us have testified and written and called and demonstrated for almost a year asking you to preserve as much of our park as possible as a resilient coastline. We asked you to listen when we said there was a better plan. We asked you to build the flood protection along the FDR, not put a giant wall on the river. We asked to cover the FDR and think of new, climate friendly solutions for our neighborhood, not this destructive project that will just speed climate change. And we need that interim protection.
Through the scheduled five years of phased construction (and of course it will be much longer because it always is), the park will still be demolished–just more slowly and painfully. Let’s see you try this kind of brute-force 20th century-style destruction in a rich neighborhood.
There are better plans. There was, in fact, a good plan in place until you scrapped it last year for vague reasons. There went $40 million in planning costs. That earlier plan, developed with the community, was later deformed into a baggy mess. And then completely dropped by you for a massive “Preferred Plan.” We need to go back and adapt the earlier plan.
Here’s an even better plan that was considered but not pursued: Cover the FDR Drive with a park. Give us community over cars! Trees over Traffic!
Now we have a $1.45 billion mess of your creation, Mr. deBlasio.
There can be temporary flood protection. There can be a better plan developed or reinstated from previous plans.
This East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) plan is hurtling toward passage by the City Council. You and those officials will be personally responsible for an environmental disaster.
Before the vote later this month or in early November, they need to listen to all the people who are furious and grief stricken over completely losing the best park along the river.
East River Park ACTION is making our voices heard through–
Protests to make city officials understand how many people oppose closing and killing the park. We came out some 400 strong to protest Sept. 21. We’re a growing grassroots group! Check it out on our blog post, We Buried the Plan
And a video by Harriet Hirshorn, “East River Park March and Rally” shows why so many of us oppose the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan.
Investigating legal action over the destruction of environment and threats to health of residents
Developing the plan that is truly best for our neighborhood, city, and to ease climate change.