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Mayor de Blasio Announces Funding for Amphitheater, Public Restrooms, Greenway Bridge in Ambitious East Side Coastal Resiliency Project

June 10, 2021

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced almost $140 million in new City funding to add more community amenities as part of East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR), the world-leading effort to protect Manhattan’s east side from the worst effects of climate change. The funding will support new public restrooms, a new amphitheater, and in a separate capital project, a $129 million flyover bridge to elevate the Manhattan Greenway over its narrowest point along the East River.

ESCR is a $1.45 billion climate resiliency project that will bolster flood protection and improve open spaces for more than 110,000 New Yorkers – including 28,000 public housing residents – on Manhattan’s East Side, from East 25th Street south to Montgomery Street. These neighborhoods, which were pummeled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, will now be home to one of the most ambitious infrastructure and climate justice projects in New York City history. The project is being managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

“East Side Coastal Resiliency is one of the boldest and most ambitious infrastructure projects in this city’s history, and these improvements will help make Manhattan more accessible and safer than ever from the worst effects of climate change,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our investments will add open space and recreation, while contributing to a more fair and equitable recovery for communities that were badly affected by both Sandy and the pandemic.”

“Climate change poses a profound challenge to this city’s future, and projects like East Side Coastal Resiliency will make New Yorkers safer for generations to come,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. “These additional improvements are an important addition to a project that will make the East Side fairer, safer, and more livable than ever.”

Improvements to the project including:

  • $4.83 million to replace the existing East River Park amphitheater structure with a new one at the same location.
  • $5.8 million to build a comfort station at Murphy Brothers Playground, a 1.27-acre park at Avenue C and East 17th Street. The playground was already scheduled to receive updated recreation facilities and flood protections. Other improvements to the playground will include a new basketball court, new synthetic turf ballfields, a new dog run, a new power source for the existing Little League scoreboard, and enhanced landscaping.
  • $129 million, in a separate capital project, to the Department of Transportation to fully fund a future flyover bridge that will improve bike and pedestrian access through this critical part of the Greenway. The bridge will span the “pinchpoint” area of the Manhattan Greenway as it passes 14th Street along the East River, an area where the Greenway narrows to just a few feet wide to fit between the river, the FDR Drive and adjacent Con Edison facilities. The bridge construction will be coordinated with ESCR.

“We’re excited to add these new elements that were community priorities to the program,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer. “The project has been responsive to community concerns while protecting residents and East River Park from severe climate events and improving open space and access, including through these investments as well as phasing project construction to keep almost 50% of the Park open at all times.”

“These projects support community priorities and will help to enhance waterfront parkland on Manhattan’s East Side with new infrastructure, amenities, and improved access,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “ESCR is on track to provide coastally resilient parks and integrated flood protection for more than 110,000 New Yorkers, and we are grateful to Mayor de Blasio for this additional investment in making sure these green spaces are neighborhood assets.”

“DOT is proud to be part of the great team of City agencies contributing to the massive and important East Side Coastal Resiliency project,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “We have made so much progress in the de Blasio Administration creating better pedestrian and cyclist access to Manhattan’s incredible waterfront.   One of the remaining challenges has been the four-foot wide pinchpoint on the Greenway at East 14th Street, its narrowest point.    The Mayor’s investment in a new flyover bridge will not only provide a wider and safer Greenway access, it will be an attractive addition that helps meet our ultimate goal of uninterrupted waterfront access around the entire borough of Manhattan.”

"As we work to address climate threats facing New Yorkers, we're also investing in amenities that help support vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods," said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor's Office of Climate Resiliency. "This additional funding will deliver on longstanding community priorities and make public spaces along the East Side of Manhattan more accessible and inviting to residents and visitors alike."  

"These community investments are great examples of how we can protect New Yorkers from rising sea levels worsened by climate change while improving the quality of life for local residents," said Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor's Office of Climate & Sustainability. "This additional funding will increase access to open public spaces along the East River and create new infrastructure that prioritizes green transportation modes like walking and biking."

ESCR will include an integrated 2.4-mile system of raised parkland, floodwalls, berms and movable floodgates to create a continuous line of protection against sea level rise and the growing threat of stronger, more severe coastal storms worsened by climate change.

In addition to protecting New Yorkers from coastal storms and sea level rise, ESCR will also dramatically improve local parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities. The project involves significant upgrades to public open spaces and amenities, including improved waterfront access through reconstructed bridges and entry points. It will also upgrade existing sewer systems to capture and manage precipitation during storms.

Construction of ESCR began at Asser Levy Playground on East 25th Street in November 2020. In April, Mayor de Blasio announced the beginning of major construction activities on the project when crews began pile driving near Stuyvesant Cove Park. The entire project is projected to be completed by 2025, though the project’s flood protection will be fully operational by 2023.

“Global warming and rising tides are threatening our coastlines, and East Side Coastal Resiliency is the answer to protecting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from storm surges. The designs integrate flood protections into new and existing parkland, and the city's additional funding commitments have already made significant improvements to the many public open spaces in the Lower East Side. New Yorkers saw the destruction that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on our waterfront communities. ESCR is a much-needed investment in our city’s flood mitigation infrastructure and it will help to prevent damage in the event of a similar natural disaster,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.

"These East Side Coastal Resiliency investments will go far to increase the vibrancy and accessibility of public waterfront spaces. Improving these parks and investing in our community's open spaces while we build the infrastructure to address climate change and future flood protection is a win-win,” said Council Member Keith Powers.

"I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for following through on funding for the East River Park amphitheater, flyover bridge, and restrooms at Murphy Brothers Playground, all of which were key ESCR community benefits agreed to between the de Blasio administration, Council Members Powers, Chin, and myself. These additional park amenities will be key to the fully re-opened and protected East River Park that we look forward to enjoying upon completion of ESCR, which will protect hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who live on the East Side and face threat from rising seas. I will continue to work to ensure that all commitments we secured are followed through on as ESCR construction moves forward and we bring desperately needed coastal protections to our community as quickly as possible," said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

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