Here are the latest stories about East River Park and the East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan. To read news about other resiliency projects, climate change and environmental justice, see our Resiliency News page. To read the 21st Century history of East River Park and links to plans and documents, see our History and Resources page. News about East River Park from 2022 here.
Articles on this page are included if they have to do with East River Park and sustainability in the neighborhood. Partisan news may be included and is not an endorsement of any candidate. To read the complete article of any listed below, use the link on the name of the publication.
Reopenings of Closed East River Park Sections Pushed Back, But City Insists Project Is Still on Time
Will the contentious project actually hit its 2026 deadline? The city says yes, and is already reopening some areas,
By Max Rivlin-Nadler, May 31, 2023, Hellgate
Residents maybe had reason to worry—in a presentation to a community advisory board right before Memorial Day weekend, the DDC pushed back its estimated completion dates for parts of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, its name for the park demolition and reconstruction, as well as its surrounding floodwater management plan. Overall, however, DDC insisted that an end of 2026 deadline was still in sight.
Workers demolish the south ramp to East River Park at Houston Street
May 17, 2023, EVGrieve
The demolition/reconstruction of East River Park continues its northern march. Most recently workers have demolished the south ramp at the Houston Street overpass…
NYC completes work on East Side Coastal Resiliency project’s first phase, Stuyvesant Cove Park in Manhattan
By Josh Niland Jun 2, ’23, Archinect
This Wednesday marked the long-awaited opening of BIG’s planned Stuyvesant Cove Park in Manhattan, marking an end to what was for some a contentious process that drew ire from various community groups on the two-year path towards its eventual completion.
New York City Begins Its Climate Change Reckoning on the Lower East Side, the Hard Way
By Delaney Dryfoos, March 13, 2023, Inside Climate News
The city redesigned much of a $1.5 billion floodwall project along the East River without any community input, shattering trust. Now, New York is pursuing similar climate resiliency projects in Manhattan that Mayor Eric Adams calls “complex, novel and unparalleled compared to any other American city.”
…The first phase, now called the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, was described by city and federal officials in 2014 as a “nature as buffer” approach that would allow the beloved East River Park, built by Robert Moses in the 1930s, to flood during climate-amplified extreme weather events. Officials said that phase would cost $770 million and be finished in as little as four years.
None of that turned out to be true.
The story provides a pretty good assessment of the project, but there are inaccuracies. 1) East River Park activists did not delay the project for months and years—the city’s own ineptitude including with the bidding process was to blame. At most we were responsible for a 30-day delay due to a lawsuit. 2) The writer says trees could not withstand the saltwater inundation, but most trees did survive, including oaks, London planes, elms and more. When there would be further inundations, ailing trees could be replaced with salt water resistant varieties. 3) It is true that artificial turf fields are ruined by flooding. However, natural turf fields recover quickly. There are many reasons not to install artificial turf. NYC should stop putting in these type playing fields altogether, and certainly not by waterfronts where harmful chemicals from the fields drain into our waterways, as evidenced by the new field at Pier 42. See our post about the new field at Pier 42, installed as mitigation for the loss of East River Park.
Stop clear-cutting New York City
BY ERIC UHLFELDER, March 2, 2023, New York Daily News
…In cities, mature trees are very efficient at carbon capture. But government policy, especially in New York, shows officials are not particularly concerned about this matter. It will take decades before tree replanting makes up for the carbon capture loss caused by cutting mature trees. Officials need to better balance essential improvements and climate issues.
This is evident in the destruction of the 53-acre East River Park. Nearly 1,000 fully grown trees are being cut down in the belief that doing so along with land improvements will make the area more resilient to rising tides — itself the product of climate change. The park hosts the equivalent of several acres of forest. According to the U.S. Forest Service, one acre of forest stores 75 tons of CO2.
Environmental Justice Atlas
East River Park, NY, USA, compiled by Howard Brandstein, EJ Atlas
Manhattan’s Lower East Side community rejects the destruction of East River Park. “At a time when our community is faced with multiple threats unfolding daily from the climate emergency, it is delusional to believe that building a wall will save us.”
How Bjarke Ingels, Architect, Spends His Sundays
by Paige Darrah, February 26, 2023, New York Times
His firm is also involved in the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, an initiative to protect part of Manhattan, including East River Park on the Lower East Side, from rising waters because of climate change. The preliminary phase has involved razing what is there now, including beloved trees and fields, which has produced some tensions in the community. “The more people you touch, the more opinions you solicit,” Mr. Ingels said of the divisive and long-term undertaking. “But I think most of the residents who experienced Hurricane Sandy would probably prefer to remain dry.”
Smug, dismissive and inaccurate.
East River Greenway now closed along the Con Ed power plant
February 16, 2023, EV Grieve
Multiple EVG readers shared the news that, as of Monday, the East River Greenway is closed for “construction activities” between 20th Street and 14th Street, including the narrow passage along the FDR and Con Edison power plant.
Mathilde, cherished 83-year-old tree, is felled in ongoing East River Park demolition
BY CHARLOTTE MORLIE, JANUARY 18, 2023, THE VILLAGE SUN
On Wednesday evening, Jan. 11, the tree was still standing, both beautiful and weird looking, with its slight bend and leafless winter branches. By 8 o’clock on Thursday morning, all that was left to see was a desolate trunk standing behind construction fences covered with black fabric.