To read the story in a new page, click on the name of the publication. For videos, just click on the image.
We need East River Park — as is — for our own resiliency
BY HARRIET HIRSHORN, Village Sun, JUNE 25, 2020
Today, those who I encounter in East River Park have assumed that the plan to destroy the park has been “paused.” … However, despite COVID-19 and the community’s desperate need for this park right now, the city is still bent on moving ahead with the project.
The city’s odd storm splurge: Mayor de Blasio wants to spend $700 million more on a resiliency plan. Why?
by Amy Chester, NY Daily News, Oct. 18, 2019
One of our supporters unearthed this editorial written right after the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan was suddenly changed from a community/city-developed plan to the present East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) plan. In this opinion piece, Amy Chester of Rebuild by Design questions the need to build a destructive, double-the-cost levee with a park on top rather than maintain a resilient East River Park. Rebuild by Design worked on the community/city plan for years. Here she is shocked by the city trashing that plan.
We all feel the same way, but Chester has since changed her message. She now endorses the $1.45 billion ESCR. Maybe she could explain her turnaround, take us on her journey so that we could stop being tormented by the prospect of losing our park for years for what still looks to us like a bloated, unnecessary, pork barrel project.
Amy Chester, what happened to you?
Does Anyone Actually Believe the East River Park Resiliency Project will Only Last 5 Years? [OP-ED]
by Barbara Katz Rothman, Bowery Boogie, June 24, 2020
“…Seriously, five years? What was the last rip down/build anew construction plan in the city, let alone conducted by the city, that you saw accomplished ‘on time?’ The last East River fix-up called for two years; in reality, it took three times that (2005 to 2011). So that five-year closure quoted: don’t bet your life, or your childhood or your old age, on seeing the completion of that plan on time either.”
Steps to Boost Climate Resiliency Hit by Delays and Cuts, Thanks to COVID-19
by Danielle Cruz, City Limits, June 18, 2020
In this overview of resiliency projects around the city, our East Side Coastal Resiliency plan gets a mention. How come the one thing the city is doing efficiently during this health crisis (or really, any other time) is on-schedule demolition of East River Park?
Op Ed | Give New Yorkers Back Their Shorelines
by Suraj Patel, Untapped Cities, June 9, 2020
The ESCR, which would remake a significant stretch of coastline along the Lower East Side, echoes the legacy of city planner Robert Moses, which was defined by cruel urban planning that prioritized cars and corporations over communities and conservation, cut off communities from the East River, and used concrete as a force of segregation by building walls and highways around much of New York’s immigrant communities. New Yorkers need a better alternative before it’s too late; one defined by sustainable innovation that uses urban planning as a tool rather than a political weapon.
Disaster Squared: Coronavirus and Hurricanes Poses Deadly Threat to Lower East Side [OP-ED]
by Pat Arnow, photos by Amy Berkov, Bowery Boogie, May 28, 2020
“The city could be responsive to the community by redirecting some of the $1.45 billion now allocated to the ESCR. Those funds could provide interim flood protection now, help residents who are suffering now, and help develop a plan that will not devastate East River Park.”
Burying the Park: A Documentary Film by Jenny Levine
“Coastal cities around the world are struggling to battle rising sea levels, but when New York City develops a coastal protection plan that would bury the beloved East River Park under ten feet of landfill, residents see no other choice but to fight City Hall to force politicians to listen to their concerns.”
Opinion: COVID-19 + Storm Surge = Catastrophe for the Lower East Side and East Village
An especially dangerous hurricane season starts this June. . . A storm flooding the Lower East Side and East Village would be even worse than Superstorm Sandy that devastated our neighborhood in 2012. Besides facing damage to our homes, we could be forced into shelters, exposed to the potential spread of coronavirus.
This badly conceived flood control project would be a disaster for our neighborhood under normal circumstances. During this pandemic, the flaws in the plan are even more stark.
Shutdown: The Coronavirus. First Sandy, now Covid: Lower East Side Activists Grapple with Construction for Climate Projects
by Izzie Ramirez, Pavement Pieces, May 12, 2020
Lower East Side and East Village community members found no solace in the news last week that construction for its $1.45 billion plan to elevate East River Park will continue in the fall, but likely not in the order the city originally announced.
Now, the community must juggle two disasters: the flood vulnerability that Superstorm Sandy revealed eight years ago and remains unchecked and the mounting concern for open park space that the COVID-19 pandemic has made urgent.
OPINION: The park and the pandemic; Open space needed now more than ever
by Pat Arnow, The Village Sun, March 17, 2020
Please tell public officials to stop construction on this critical piece of our neighborhood’s health infrastructure through the pandemic.
Lower East Siders worry about loss of trees, park space at meeting on East Side Coastal Resiliency Project
By Joaquin Cotler, Feb. 19, 2020, amNY
Lower Manhattan is one of the most densely populated areas in the country, and the park and public use spaces are of utmost importance to its residents. Under the proposed construction plan, much of the current parkland would be rendered either temporarily unusable or converted to flood mitigation infrastructure. And despite the renovation of the Pier 42 Deck as an interim solution, baseball fields, basketball courts, public art installations and over 1000 trees would all need to be moved or completely removed.
Activists sue NYC to keep East River Park open vs. renovated for years
By SHANT SHAHRIGIAN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |FEB 10, 2020
It’s a suit over troubled water.
East River Park flood project opponents sue NYC in bid to stop it
By Melissa Klein, February 8, 2020, NY Post
The lawsuit seeks to void the vote and send the proposal to the state Legislature. Pat Arnow, head of the East River Park Action group, said they wanted “a revision of the plan that will cause minimal destruction of the park.”
from Woman at the Reel on Vimeo.
Local Groups Sue City Over Plan To Overhaul East River Park
BY SYDNEY PEREIRA, FEB. 7, 2020, Gothamist
“We don’t really have much more we can get the city to negotiate with,” said Charles Krezell, a plaintiff on the lawsuit. “For one thing, we don’t believe that they’re going to be able to complete this is in five years.”
(Ignore the trolls who comment at the end of Gothamist articles. They like to criticize protesters for being old people. We have to remember we’re aiming to help our neighborhood and city, and if the lives of trolls end up being better also because of our actions, well, that’s collateral damage for us.)
Locals File Lawsuit to Block East River Park Demolition Ahead of Coastal Resiliency Project
Elie, Feb. 6, 2020, Bowery Boogie
“We have to sue to stop this plan. It’s clearly a violation of state law to destroy the park,” says Charles Krezell, who organized the legal efforts with East River Park ACTION, a grassroots neighborhood group.
Lawsuit Filed to Stop East River Park Demolition
EVGrieve, Feb. 7, 2020
“Here’s part of their statement…’The $1.45 billion flood control project will destroy the largest park south of Central Park starting in fall 2020. It will take at least three years (but likely much longer considering city’s history with park construction) to secure the neighborhood from storm surges.
‘Thousands of park users have demanded immediate interim flood protection and a revision of the plan to cause minimal destruction of the park.'”
Environmental Groups Seek to Stop NYC Seawall Construction
Jeff D. Gorman, Feb. 6, 2020 Courthouse News Service
(CN) – Several New York City residents are seeking an injunction to stop the city from disrupting East River Park with the construction of a seawall.
Lower East Side flood protection plan threatened by lawsuit
Several community groups are suing over the East Side Coastal Resiliency project by Caroline Spivack, Feb 7, 2020, Curbed
“It’s a bittersweet move for park advocates, who say they want flood protections for the vulnerable area but point to a laundry list of concerns about the project, including an abrupt change that requires the East River Park to be razed and rebuilt.”
OPINION: The dirt on E.S.C.R…. Uncovering a potential environmental nightmare
BY PAUL DeRIENZO, JANUARY 29, 2020, The Village Sun
As a member of Community Board 3 and its Parks and Recreation Committee, I’ve been working on the E.S.C.R. project for more than a year. The Department of Design and Construction has just completed presenting its final designs to our community board for approval. D.D.C. representatives say the city is aware of toxins in the soil and will take appropriate measures to protect the public. But D.D.C. had little to add, beyond that the city can’t be held responsible for past dumping.
Destruction of the LES Ecology Center’s Compost Yard is Folly [OP-ED]
East River Park ACTION, Bowery Boogie, January 14, 2020
“We are really shocked to learn that Mayor de Blasio is planning to destroy the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s (LESC) compost yard and replace it with a temporary lawn later this spring. With the climate emergency and the ever-growing garbage crisis, we demand the City cancel this costly, illogical folly and accommodate the compost yard, during construction as well as incorporated into the new design of East River Park.”
East River Park ACTION honored by Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping choir
Talk New York
Council O.K.’s East Side resiliency plan despite disruptive protest
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON , The Village Sun, NOVEMBER 15, 2019
“Rising from their seats in the City Council Chamber’s balcony and angrily chanting “Vote No!” for several solid minutes, opponents disrupted Thursday’s vote on the contentious East Side Coastal Resiliency project. Council security ended the protest by ordering the balcony to be cleared.”
City Council Approves East Side Resiliency Plan
The Lo-Down, Nov. 14, 2019
East River Park ACTION said, “We are grief-stricken and furious and we will fight for this community. Your vote is a vote for climate change, not against it, your vote is a vote against community, and we will never forget and never forgive any of you for letting this happen and voting for a plan that is neither scientific nor resilient. The NYCHA speaks letter told you that this plan represents an assault on our families, and assault on our history. And you didn’t care. Shame.”
City Council votes in favor of East Side Coastal Resiliency
by Mark Hallum, amNY, Nov. 14, 2019
“Despite strong opposition by area residents, the City Council on Thursday greenlighted a $1.45 billion proposal to raise the elevation of East River Park by 8 to 10 feet to protect it from future flooding.”
East Side Storm Protection Plan Gets Greenlight From City Council
By Sydney Pereira, Patch, Nov 14, 2019 5:52 pm ET
“The City Council approved a $1.45 billion resiliency project for a stretch of Manhattan’s east side on Thursday afternoon.”
City Council approves $1.5B project to ‘weather-proof’ Lower Manhattan
By Rich Calder, the Post, November 14, 2019
East Side flood protection plan passes City Council, but legal challenge looms
Local opponents plan to sue against the city’s plan in the coming weeks
By Caroline Spivack, Curbed, Nov 14, 2019,
NY1 Inside City Hall, Interview with Carlina Rivera and Keith Powers about the plan 11/14/19
Climate change growing pains are real but necessary: Today, New York must advance its major resiliency projects
By AMY CHESTER and TOM WRIGHT, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS|, NOV 13, 2019
As the city grappled with redesigning East River Park to protect the community from flooding while maintaining its service as a beloved community asset they were faced with competing demands and trade-offs: build with nature, or build with concrete? Destroy a perfectly good, well-utilized park all at once, or let Mother Nature destroy it over time, and build the park back piecemeal? Cause the least destruction, understanding that it will lead to significant noise and traffic, or destroy and rebuild the entire park — at considerable expense — to speed construction and thereby ensure flood protection sooner?
East River Side Resiiency Project Moves One Step Closer to Final Approval
BY AMANDA FARINACCI, NY1, Nov. 13, 2019
“The fear is that this is much more about paving the way for gentrifying further the Lower East Side and the East Village than it is truly about flood protection,” said Harriet Hirshon, also of East Side Park Action.
HOW LOWER EAST SIDE COASTAL PLAN BRACES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
By Rachel Holliday Smith, The City, Nov. 12, 2019
$1.45 Billion Plan To Elevate East River Park Advances, Despite Some Local Opposition
BY IZZIE RAMIREZ, Gothamist, NOV. 13, 2019
“The plan is about mitigating the construction,” said Harriet Hirshorn, an East River Alliance member. “No one is talking about the destruction of the park.”
Local City Council Members Must Head Back to Drawing Board on East River Park Plan
by Pat Arnow, Gotham Gazette, Nov. 13, 2019
“Have you gotten the free ferries from Corlears Hook to Governors Island you’ve been requesting? No, that’s not even mentioned in the agreement you reached with the city as announced on Tuesday.”
Council Members Chin, Powers and Rivera Reach Agreement on Construction Plans, Community Investments for East Side Coastal Resiliency Project
The Council of the City of New York, Nov. 12, 2019
“Council Members Margaret Chin, Keith Powers, and Carlina Rivera today announced an agreement with Mayor Bill de Blasio for a wide-range of community investments and commitments tied to the construction of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, which will provide protection for the East Side of Manhattan from the impacts of climate change and storm surge over the next century, according to scientific projections produced and re-affirmed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC). The resiliency portions of the project will be completed in 2023, with full park improvements completed in 2025.”
Among the commitments made:
“New York City Emergency Management, in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency and DDC, will conduct further feasibility evaluation to understand whether there is a potential for Interim Flood Protection Measures along the project area. The results of this analysis will be shared with the community.”
Flood protection plan for East River waterfront heads to full City Council vote
Lawmakers will cast a final vote on the controversial plan on ThursdayLawmakers will cast a final vote on the controversial plan on Thursday
By Caroline Spivack Nov 12, 2019,
With City Council vote looming, NYCHA residents speak out against East Side stormproofing plan,
City Council Must Act Now to Protect the Lower East Side
Lynn Kelly, New Yorkers for Parks, Nov. 11, 2019
(Opinion) Don’t Kill East River Park for a Bad Flood Plan
by Pat Arnow, the Lo-Down, Nov. 2019
If the plan passes next week, our elected officials will have no power to gain answers or concessions from the city. The bulldozers will roll all over us next year.
OPINION: Carlina, listen to us on East River Park
by Pat Arnow, amNY, Oct. 2019
One person who opposes the plan said that a Rivera staffer “spent 15 minutes trying to convince me of how great the plan is, how much community input was taken and kind of brushing me off because I haven’t been in all the community board meetings to appreciate the scope and breath of that consultation with the community.”
It is inaccurate to imply that the community supports this plan. The caller might not have been at meetings, but I sure have, and if Rivera was listening, she heard a resounding No.
NYCHA tenants launch petition to stop current East Side flood plan
Gabe Herman, The Villager, Nov. 8, 2019
“Our homes are next to the East River Park,” the petition reads, “and we are concerned about the impact that the full-scale destruction of the park will have on our health and quality of life.”
High End Parks or Ball Fields? A Battle on Manhattan’s Waterfront, New York Times
Sophisticated plans are underway to redevelop the piers along the Hudson River. Young athletes, however, could lose out.
Seaport Section Remains Big Question Mark in NYC’s Flood Control Plans
By Neil deMause City Limits, Nov. 6, 2019
Includes plans for Battery Park. See, New York know how to build a resilient park: “To protect from storm surge, a raised bike path will be built in the inland part of the park, allowing most of the park to remain closer to river level, since a park can survive storm-surge flooding mostly unscathed.”
City Tech architecture professor Illya Azaroff, who has consulted with New York and other cities on climate resiliency plans. “In Shanghai, they’re looking at sponge cities 100 percent,” Azaroff says, replacing pavement with wetlands and creating “rain gardens” to retain water during flooding.
That’s bound to get local residents on edge, especially after a public planning process for the city’s sea-level resiliency plans immediately to the north ended in rancor and possible lawsuits. “In East River Park there was a whole four-year process where Rebuild By Design and the community spent years working on a park plan that was scrapped last year,” says Pat Arnow of East River Park Action. “They started pleading with us, ‘Oh, we’re listening to the community, we’re listening to our stakeholders.’ But they haven’t done any meaningful revisions based on community input. It’s a show.”
How trees can save us: They are the most effective, efficient, and immediate form of urban climate action—provided they’re planted where people need them most
By Alissa Walker, Curbed, July 10, 2019
Tree-planting can combat heat island effect by swapping hot hardscape surfaces for shaded permeable areas. But that’s not the only way trees cool cities. Water evaporation from leaves also reduces surrounding air temperatures. That’s why planting trees close enough together so they can grow to create a canopy is critical—shading paired with water evaporation can double the cooling benefits.
Trees also offer an additional countermeasure to extreme heat. Higher temperatures impact local air quality, as warm air traps toxic pollutants emitted by the burning of fossil fuels. This includes the fine-particulate matter from vehicles that creates especially dangerous breathing conditions during hot summer days. Trees can filter deadly air pollution, protecting people from chronic respiratory illness.
Trees can be the most effective, efficient, and immediate form of climate action a city can take—provided they’re planted where people need them most.
Concerns raised over big New York developer’s involvement in public projects
Mark Hallum, amNY Oct. 28, 2019
“From the new World Trade Center, to East Side Access, the East Coast Resiliency project at East River Park and the borough-based jails, AECOM has been rebuilding the city for a number of years with taxpayer funding, and the contracts are not lost on activist groups in the communities impacted.”
The East Side Coastal Resiliency project tapped AECOM to raise the East River Park by up to 10 feet before 2023, and the plan has residents worrying about accessing vital recreation space while the 2.4 miles of coastline from Montgomery Street to East 25th Street is built over.
Although residents were open in their objection to the plan at an Oct. 3 City Council hearing, the plan is not without political support from local politicians.
Pat Arnow from East River Park action expressed concern that the city was transparent in the way they have changed the plan for the park over the years. She feels that if the city cannot be a good neighbor, an international construction company like AECOM will not be either.
“They’re apparently just a huge construction company that has no interest in preserving our environment,” Arnow said.
Plan To Turn Staten Island Wetlands Into BJ’s Wholesale Club Moves Forward
BY ALEXIS SOTTILE, Gothamist Oct. 25, 2019
Letter to Councilmembers Rivera and Chin on ESCRP by Grand Street Dems, Oct. 23, 2019
$1.4B East River Park redesign is too short to prevent floods: expert
By Melissa Klein
via Lo-Down: On Thursday, Oct. 10, CB3’s parks committee will continue to discuss various aspects of the flood protection schemes along the East River. They’ll go over the draft final design, and receive an update about resiliency plans below Montgomery Street in the Two Bridges area.
East Side Coastal Resiliency Project leaders grilled in City Council hearing
BY MARK HALLUM, The Villager
EV grieve reply
facebook photo link Stacie Joy
New Indy movie (old Indy movie)
Post flyer with kid in fountain
Links to post, put out there:
Howard’s opinion piece
Battery Park City Resiliency project Oct. 2019
NYC will remake the East River waterfront to fight climate change. It may not be enough by Nathan Kensinger, Curbed, Oct. 17, 2019
As the ESCR project moves towards being accepted by the City Council, it is worth considering what exactly would be lost if this plan is put into action. A recent walk along the shoreline of the East River revealed a landscape filled with fishermen, rollerbladers, musicians, and family celebrations. This waterfront has been an important part of daily life for generations of local residents, and it could soon be demolished, to be replaced with an entirely different version of the coast.
Mayor Blows Off Resiliency Meeting With Pols For Walk In The Park
Mayor Bill de Blasio was spotted walking through East River Park.
By Sydney Pereira, Patch, Sept. 28, 2019
East Side Flood Protection Plan Gets Go-Ahead From City Planning
By Sydney Pereira, Patch Staff, Sept. 23, 2019
“…A hotly contested plan to bury and rebuild East River Park to protect the area from flooding was approved by the City Planning Commission.”
“Hundreds of people protested the project on Saturday, holding a mock funeral for East River Park as summer comes to a close, the New York Post reported.”
At the March and Rally to Save East River Park
EV Grieve, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019
Great coverage of our march and rally Saturday in EV Grieve. Photos by the talented Stacie Joy.
Protesters hold mock funeral to urge city to save East River Park
by Melissa Klein and Olivia Bensimon, NY Post, Sept. 21, 2019
NY1 coverage of East River Park ACTION march and rally
East Village Marches in Protest of Plan to Bury East River Park
Miliana Bocher, Contributing Writer, Washington Square News, NYU’s Independent Student Newspaper, September 23, 2019
“Living on the Lower East Side, where there’s more and more traffic, we’re getting more and more kids with asthma,” Rachel Bernstein said. “We need trees more than ever to help us breathe.”
The fight to save East River Park
video by Sophia Lebowitz with The Indypendent, Sept. 17, 2019
The wonderful character and characters in our park and the reasons East River Park ACTION opposes the terrible plan to demolish it.
Fighting For Their Park, LES Residents Challenge the City’s Climate Change Plans
by John Tarleton, Aug. 9, 2019, The Indypendent
“They’re asking us to sacrifice something that’s essential for our well-being and for a generation of children,” said…April Merlin, a mother of two who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and comes to the park regularly to jog and ride her bike.
East Side Resiliency Plan Faces Key Hearing
By Jose Cardoso, City Limits, July 16, 2019
It was an accomplishment when the community of the Lower East Side and the city agreed on a plan for resiliency. The effort took around four years.
In the original plan, the city was going to build multiple berms, floodgates or a small shelf of land next to the FDR Drive. The purpose of this would have left the East River Park as a sponge when a major storm hits. Then park would’ve taken the hit instead of the nearby homes.
On September 28, 2018, however, the de Blasio administration issued a press release announcing it was pursuing a new plan for some of the East Side Resiliency Project. Some of the community plan survive intact. But about 70 percent of it changed.
…The city’s main reason for making the change was because they wanted to accelerate the construction process and have less traffic disruption.
Panic and protest over East River Park-closure plan
The Villager, June 13, 2019 by Gabe Herman
An article about the 70 people who testified passionately, almost all of them against the flood plan, to Community Board 3 Manhattan. Here are excerpts quoting two East River Park ACTIONEERS:
“… Ted Pender, vice president of Friends of Corlears Hook Park, said he was concerned about air quality from all of the soil that would be dumped in the area. He said people would breathe in particles, and that the area already had high asthma rates….”
“We deserve a safer plan, and don’t need another World Trade [Center] respiratory event in our city,” he said to more cheers.
“A local woman [Pat Arnow] echoed concerns about pollution from the project and about the area already having high asthma rates…”
“Don’t cut the heart out of our neighborhood,” she said, adding, “Let’s see you try this crap in a rich neighborhood.”
Unfortunately, the Board was not swayed. They voted overwhelmingly to accept the plan. They did request revisions that would make the plan less horrible, but the city has been unresponsive to community, and there’s no reason to think they’ll accommodate us in any way.
East Village and Lower East Side neighbors called for an independent review of the city’s east side resiliency plan.
by Sydney Pereira, Patch, June 12, 2019
“Closing up the parks is one of the stupidest ideas they’ve had in a long time,” said Dave Brasuell, who’s lived in New York City Housing Authority’s Jacob Riis Houses for 65 years. “It’s a good idea to fix the park, but they should do it in phases.”
BIG U (East Side Coastal Resiliency) UPDATE FOR JUNE 2019
Summing up, with links, where the project is now.
“To Save East River Park, the City Intends to Bury It”
by Joseph Hanania, January 18, 2019
A cogent article in the New York Times about the new plan and our community’s problems with it:
Other earlier news stories about East River Park are listed in the East River Alliance In The News page: East River Alliance News
Good work with the neighborhood and city leadership is being done by the East River Alliance.