ESCR construction is underway at East River Park, two protesters arrested

Construction implanting flood safety at East River Park started on Nov. 1.

Photograph by Dean Moses

The East Facet Coastal Resiliency Mission construction has lastly begun at East River Park, but it surely is off to a tough begin due to native local weather activists.

On Nov. 1, the Division of Design and Construction (DDC) started its plan to implement flood safety within the space whereas additionally including new facilities. Starting at the Brian Watkins Tennis Heart, between the Delancey and Houston entrances, the event guarantees to maintain virtually half of East River Park open to the general public at all occasions due to the work happening in phases. In line with the DDC, this tackles an vital concern from native residents who want to keep entry to the greenspace, particularly throughout occasions of COVID-19. 

Staff perform the planed construction work. Photograph by Dean Moses

Over the course of the subsequent 5 years, the challenge is anticipated to create a 2.4-mile floodwall beneath raised parkland in an effort to safeguard towards rising sea ranges whereas additionally incorporating recent facilities for locals that can see the construction run from Montgomery Road to East twenty fifth Road.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure as much park access as possible throughout the pandemic and to prepare for a partial closure of East River Park during construction,” mentioned DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer in a press release. “We recognize very much the importance of the Park to the community, and we look forward to delivering a revamped park with improved access.”

The beginning of the work week didn’t go easily for the challenge, nonetheless. On Nov.1, simply as fences have been being erected across the tennis court docket members of native activist teams East River Park Motion and 1000 Individuals for 1000 Bushes staged at sit-in, blocking employees from getting the challenge underway.

Demonstrators shouted, “Protest is not destruction, save this park,” as officers introduced that they’re interfering with construction accredited by the Parks Division, they usually should depart the neighborhood earlier than arrests are made. 

Laura Berger (left) and Eileen Myles proceed to protest the work. Photograph by Dean Moses

Citing the anticipated elimination of some 1000 timber and seeing civil disobedience as a final resort to carry consideration to their trigger, roughly 25 protesters sang songs and brandished indicators whereas 15 demonstrators sat at the doorway blocking employees till NYPD officers arrived, making two arrests. Allie Ryan and Alice O’Malley have been cuffed for refusing to maneuver from the tennis court docket entrances and have been taken to the 7th Precinct.

Though the work is persevering with to maneuver ahead, it is not doing so unabated. A number of protesters are remaining by the construction web site to showcase their displeasure.

On account of a number of delays, construction is anticipated to be accomplished in 2026.

Staff file into the park. Photograph by Dean Moses

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