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Posters stick it to de Blasio, Rivera on East River Park plan
BY HARRIET HIRSHORN, NOVEMBER 20, 2020, The Village Sun
As a Lower East Side resident active in the fight to save East River Park, I wanted to share with you the posters that have been turning up around the East Village and Lower East Side accusing Bill de Blasio and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera of being “Destroyers of East River Park.”
Ubiquitous Flyers Finger Mayor and CM Rivera as ‘Destroyers’ of East River Park
November 17, 2020, Bowery Boogie
Opponents of the city’s billion-dollar East Side Coastal Resilience project flyposted hundreds of flyers around the neighborhood over the weekend.
The imagery includes profiles of Mayor de Blasio and Councilwoman Carolina Rivera, accusing them both of being “destroyers” of East River Park, and endangering the neighborhood.
These bills appear everywhere from the Bowery to the East River.
D.I.D. delays Rivera endorse vote, says she ducked upzoning question
NOVEMBER 16, 2020 BY THE VILLAGE SUN
“I think that one thing we can all agree on is that the 1970s zoning is outdated,” Rivera responded to Kiely, referring to Soho and Noho’s unique zoning. “I think if you are going to do this the right way, an upzoning [there] is appropriate. I think that the way the mayor approached this is the wrong way.”
CB3 Full Board Backs Restoration of Historic East River Park Buildings
Bowery Boogie, Nov. 2, 2020
The entirety of Community Board 3 supported the plan, raised by the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, which would restore the 72-year-old Art Deco Track House and Tennis Center Comfort Station. The resolution calls for amending the $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency Project to safeguard the buildings instead of demolition and replacement with standardized modern Parks structures.
Good News/Bad News for East River Park [OP-ED]
by Pat Arnow, Bowery Boogie, Oct. 30, 2020
East River Park will remain entirely open and untouched by construction through the end of the year. The latest delay in the massive flood control project – the $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency plan – is good news for park users on the crowded Lower East Side and East Village waterfront. In fact, the pandemic makes our park space more important than ever.
It’s bad news in the long run, though, because it proves one of the vocal opponents’ points about the project—the city’s five-year timeline is unrealistic. The Department of Design and Construction has already delayed the targeted start by a year. Park advocates fear that once demolition does commence, most of the park will be a fenced-off war zone for years.
It’s further bad news for an area that has no temporary flood protection. To date, the city has refused to provide any interim measures that would protect from most hurricanes.
Still resilient: Save East River Park!
BY PAT ARNOW, The Village Sun, Oct. 30, 2020
If city officials had listened, then we could now be preparing a greener flood-control plan that would protect our neighborhood and keep our park alive with all its glorious open space for our crowded neighborhood, with all its exciting biodiversity, with all its potential as a sponge for storm surges.
We could now be planning a more resilient park with new saltwater-resistant plantings. We’d be creating marshlands as the sea level rises. We’d be adding parkland over at least some of the F.D.R. Drive and building green walls along the highway where covering it would be too close to apartment buildings.
LES Storm Protection Is Delayed As Covid Increases Demand For Parkland
by Diana Kruzman, Bedford + Bowery October 26, 2020
The relocation of a compost yard in East River Park run by the Lower East Side Ecology Center, which was supposed to take place this fall, has also been put on hold, according to the center’s president Christine Datz-Romero. Although the center has suggested an alternative plan that would keep the compost yard in the neighborhood, the city is attempting to move it to Harlem and has not made a commitment to allow it to return once the ESCR is finished.
“We don’t want to lose our connection to this neighborhood,” Datz-Romero said. “It’s been a nightmare to live in this limbo for two years. It’s taken a toll on us as an organization.”
Video: Art Attack on the East River amphitheater
Village Sun, Oct. 21, 2020
Late on the afternoon of Fri., Oct. 9, a group of artists and graffiti writers festooned the Corlears Hook cultural structure with colorful imagery and messages of resistance and “park power.”
At least videographer Harriet Hirshorn of East River Park ACTION was able to document the Art Attack while it was happening.
Start of $1.45B East River Park Resiliency Project Delayed
Bowery Boogie, Oct. 21, 2020
The planned demolition of East River Park for the new coastal resiliency project is delayed, the city recently revealed.
This delay also buys time for the Lower East Side Ecology Center compost yard, which won’t survive the project and seeks a new location.
Trees in East River Park Marked for ‘Demolition’
Bowery Boogie, Oct. 20, 2020
Faux demolition flyers now dot the park to raise awareness of the impending arborcide for the controversial resiliency project. The bright-red bills announce trees as “marked for demolition by the mayor and City Council.” No doubt a campaign to further sway public opinion against the city’s plans.
CB3 Approves Grassroots Plan to Save Historic East River Park Buildings
Bowery Boogie, Oct. 19 2020
Two Art Deco gems rooted in East River Park were recently deemed eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places by the New York State Historic Preservation Office. Both the Track House near East 6th Street and the Tennis Center Comfort Station between Rivington and Delancey Streets were recognized for their historical significance. Each was constructed (and completed) in 1938, and ready for the park opening one year later.
“We were thrilled that the Parks Committee approved our proposal that the buildings should be lifted, restored, and adaptively re-used, with the understanding that LESPI will do outreach to the community, particularly at the Baruch, Lillian Wald, and Jacob Riis Houses,” Robert Moses told us in an email.
‘Art Attack’ offered fleeting protest of controversial East River Park resiliency project
BY BOB KRASNER, amNY, Oct. 14, 2020
If any trees fall in East River Park, there will be plenty of people around to hear it — but the results of a recent protest were erased so quickly that not many had the chance to witness it.
A diverse group of artists began work late on Oct. 9 and by evening had covered the park’s amphitheater and nearby grounds with art to call attention to the plight of the park. Yet by Saturday afternoon, all evidence of their discord had been power-washed away.
Artists ‘attack’ East River Park amphitheater, hoping to block resiliency plan
The Village Sun, Oct. 10, 2020
In a last-ditch bid to save East River Park from destruction, artists descended on its amphitheater at Corlears Hook late Saturday afternoon in what was dubbed an Art Attack. Working rapidly, in just a couple of hours they had festooned the structure and the plaza behind it with a riot of graffiti art and murals.
An Art Attack at East River Park
EV Grieve, Oct. 12, 2020
On Friday evening, a group of artists came together to paint the amphitheater in East River Park … the Art Attack (first reported here) was a way to protest the upcoming partial closure of East River Park for up to five years as workers will complete the $1.45 billion storm protection project.
And about the erasing of the Art Attack for East River Park, see
Counterattack! Parks Dept. power-washes graffiti off amphitheater
The Village Sun, Oct. 10, 2020
But on Saturday, the Parks Department fired back with a counterattack, as workers used power-washers and bristle brooms to blast and scrub away all the spontaneous creativity on the amphitheater and the plaza behind it.
At Spiral’s Center
by Marcella Durand, Sept. 28, 2020, Black Earth Institute
History and today in land of the Lenape: Corlears Hook and East River Park, African Burial Ground: “The city rep points out, in a somewhat chastising tone, that this plan is meant to protect the area against flooding, even though by killing all these oxygen-providing trees and greenery, they are adding to the root cause of the flooding.”
Painting and petitioning to save East River Park
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 BY THE VILLAGE SUN | The Art Attack is preparing to launch.
The last-ditch effort to save East River Park from demolition is enlisting a slew of well-known artists. Among them are reportedly Al Diaz, Hektad, Elizabeth Gaynor, Kiki, Tom Otterness, Ian Knife…and possibly Snake.
Lenape history, haunting song, a candlelight vigil in East River Park and a plea to Gov. Cuomo, video by Sarah Riggs, Sept. 2020.
New Deal Park Structures Face Demolition in NYC
Tbe Living New Deal, August 28, 2020
A grassroots organization, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI), is rallying to save the Park’s Track House and Tennis Comfort Station. Supported by eight local preservation groups, LESPI applied to the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to qualify the two structures for the National and State Registers of Historic Places. SHPO granted the buildings a Determination of Eligibility, citing them as “outstanding examples of Art Deco and WPA Moderne design,” and noting the “high degree of integrity” they retained, both inside and out. SHPO described the unusual architectural features of the buildings, which include design references to the waterfront and maritime heritage of the Lower East Side. While such eligibility does not ensure that these buildings will be saved, it requires that serious consideration be given to possibilities for mitigation, such as raising them for adaptive re-use.
East River Park activists call on Cuomo to block resiliency project
BY THE VILLAGE SUN, AUGUST 31, 2020
Now local activists battling the de Blasio administration’s plan to bury East River Park under 1 million tons of dirt for flood protection are calling on Cuomo to put the brakes on what they say would be an environmental disaster.
Appeal planned in East River Park resiliency case
These opponents are resilient.
BY THE VILLAGE SUN | AUGUST 23, 2020
Voicing the incredulity of many locals, Schwartz said it’s unfathomable that the city would really try to close and demolish East River Park during the global coronavirus pandemic, when open space for social distancing in Downtown Manhattan is at an all-time premium right now.
“It’s bizarre,” he said. “We’re in a period when you have streets closing and more and more bike paths, and you are going to close down one of the biggest parks in Manhattan.”
Judge Tosses Lawsuit, Clearing Way for East River Park Resiliency Project
By Elie, Aug. 24, 2020, Bowery Boogie
“The plan calls for East River Park to be buried and rebuilt eight feet higher. Thousands of trees will be uprooted and playing fields buried; two iconic structures – eligible as State and National Registers of Historic Places – are also on the endangered list; and the Lower East Side Ecology Center could lose its compost yard. Moreover, many community members remain salty about the eleventh-hour changeup from the long-in-the-works “Big U” program.”
East Side Loss on WBAI with Paul diRienzo interviewing Charles Krezell about dismissal of our lawsuit, East River Park Action et al v City of New York. Aug. 20, 2020
“Fiscally irresponsible is an understatement,” Charles Krezell speaking on WBAI’s
“Without state oversight, the city can use the project as cover for gentrification projects.” Paul diRienzo
Judge Tosses Lawsuit, Paving Way for Burial and Rebuilding of East River Park
BY RACHEL HOLLIDAY SMITH, The City, AUG 21, 2020
New York Supreme Court Judge Melissa Crane on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, a multi-year effort to overhaul a stretch of the Lower East Side’s shore to protect the area from future flooding and storms.
Judge rules East Side resiliency project can start
Residents fighting to save East River Park from being razed and rebuilt for a coastal-resiliency project suffered a painful blow Thursday as a judge ruled for the city.
State Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane denied the plaintiffs’ request for a restraining order to halt the scheme, clearing the way for work to start in just a few weeks.
Ode to the Doomed Trees of East River Park
by Barbara Katz Rothman, Aug. 13, 2020, Bowery Boogie
The new plan for coastal resiliency on the Lower East Side will kill the park come fall, and eliminate the thousand or so trees that provide some manner of flood protection. The piecemeal closure of the park is slated to last five years, but we know it’ll take longer. And for all those years of park destruction – the entire childhood of some of our neighbors, the rest-of-our-lives for others – there will be only small bits of park at a time. I’ve been writing letters of objection to representatives, but getting nothing but responses telling me not to worry, it’s not happening until the fall.
Ecological Ignorance Causes New York City Politicians To Destroy East River Park
NYC has signed a death wish for the 1,000 trees of East River Park; in the name of climate resilience, no less.
by Matthew Eshed, Aug. 14, 2020, Stories from the front lines of the sustainability (r)evolution
In fall 2018, the East Side Coastal Resilience (ESCR) planwas “bait and switched” from one that protects the ecosystem to one that destroys it. This approach, set to go into motion later this year, commits the fatal error of destroying an existing ecosystem in the name of climate resilience. New Yorkers, particularly Lower East Siders, many of whom are low-income, deserve an East Side Coastal Resilience (ESCR) plan that is integrated and constructive. What’s more, during a pandemic, abundant green space and its many health benefits must be protected.
The storm next time: Eight years after Superstorm Sandy, Mayor de Blasio has failed to make NYC more resilient
New York Daily News, AUG 05, 2020
The $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency project, intended to raise ground levels along the Lower East Side waterfront, was supposed to begin three years ago. The de Blasio administration dithered, and is now on its third major revision of a plan that won’t be complete until 2025 at the earliest.
Bette Midler Tweets Opposition to$1.45B East River Park Resiliency Plan
Bowery Boogie, July 14, 2020
Threatened East River Park Buildings Recognized for Architectural Distinction
Bowery Boogie, July 16, 2020
Two East River Park Art Deco gems were recently deemed eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places by the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
Both the Track House near East 6th Street and the Tennis Center Comfort Station between Rivington and Delancey Streets were recognized for their historical significance.
Based on research and an application submitted this past winter by the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI), the determination means that the SHPO must review any plans to alter the buildings, including current intentions to demolish them under the East Side Coastal Resiliency project.
to see the SHPO document, click here.
‘Defund East Side Coastal Resiliency’ effort also fails
BY THE VILLAGE SUN, JULY 5, 2020
In addition, the idea of razing a large park in open-space-starved Downtown Manhattan now — when people desperately need space for social distancing during the pandemic — is another urgent reason to shelve the project, opponents say.
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.
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.”