Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

Is the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project fully funded? What is the cost of the project?

Yes, the project is fully funded with a budget of $1.45 billion. See Project Background for more information about how this project came to be.

What does Project Area 1 (PA1), Project Area 2 (PA2), and Parallel Conveyance (PC) refer to? What are the different project areas for construction?

The East Side Costal Resiliency (ESCR) project is one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects in the City's history. The entire project footprint runs from E. 25th Street to Montgomery Street but was divided into three contracts. 

  • Project Area 1 (PA1) is concentrated in Manhattan's Lower East Side (LES) between Montgomery Street and E. 14th Street, including the East River Park.
  • Project Area 2 (PA2) encompasses work under the FDR Drive & Avenue C between E. 15th Street and E. 25th Street, including Asser Levy Playground, Stuyvesant Cove Park, and Murphy Brothers Playground, as well as local streets around the Con Edison facility.
  • Parallel Conveyance (PC) includes sewer infrastructure work in specific areas within the overall ESCR project footprint. While PA1 and PA2 protect the community from coastal/tidal flooding and saltwater, the PC upgrades will protect the community from floods that result from heavy rainfall during storm events within the neighborhoods. PC optimizes the existing drainage infrastructure and stormwater system, adding new drainage in parallel to existing infrastructure. The PC work consists of:
    • Sewer upgrade work within the project area city streets
    • Two interceptor gates, two buildings, and several deep manhole excavations
    • Potential street and/or sidewalk closures, detours, and temporary watermain shutoffs during construction

The Schedules and Construction Approaches for the contracts can be found on the Project Updates page while general information can be found on the About page and Project Elements page.

Read more about the flood protection and drainage improvement work in East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR).

What Safety Plans are contractors required to submit?

The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is committed to ensuring construction sites are safe for both workers and the public on all its projects. DDC requires that work carried out by contractors on construction sites complies with applicable Federal, State and City laws, rules, and regulations. Contractors must also maintain contract safety requirements and construction safety procedures and protocols.

For all DDC projects, it is standard requirement to have the contractor submit a site safety plan that follows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. DDC Safety and Site Support Division ensures the safe handling of hazardous materials, construction safety compliance, and that material testings are properly taking place. Various safety inspections and audits are performed during construction activities to ensure that work complies with the applicable regulations.

What about noise & Air Quality Monitoring Plans?  

Since 2021, air monitors have been in place in PA2 (north of E. 15th Street to E. 25th Street), and in PA1(Montgomery Street north to E. 15th Street) as of January 2022. The placement and number of air monitors is determined by the contractor, environmental specialists, and level of work activity. The locations will shift throughout construction to correspond to work. Air monitoring adheres to NYC Air Quality Monitoring (AQM) guidelines to ensure public and worker safety.

If construction activities were to cause an air quality issue above the federally regulated environmental thresholds, we are required to stop work and immediately assess the situation and address the cause of the issue.

The City is committed to providing quarterly reporting, regular verbal updates to the CAG, and posting reports to the ESCR website. Air Monitoring reports and CAG meeting updates can be found on the ESCR Environmental Monitoring page.  Monthly updates can also be found in the Community Advisory Group (CAG) presentations starting at CAG Meeting #12 where the June 2021 AQM update is provided. The Air Monitoring Factsheet provides a quick overview of Air Quality Monitoring for the ESCR project.

Similar to air monitors, noise monitors are also installed around the project area and monitored by the contractor and Project Management Construction Management oversight team. Noise monitors follow the local, state, and federal noise guidelines. These numbers are not published but information requests such as results can be submitted in writing to the DDC FOIL Records Division. Requests can be mailed, faxed, or emailed. DEP also has a general noise resource.

What is the status of the Interim Flood Protection (IFPM) study?

New York City Emergency Management Department (NYCEM) presented their analysis at the Community Board 3 (CB3) Parks Committee meeting on 07/16/2020.

The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project has coordinated with NYCEM to develop a web page of helpful links and resources for Emergency Preparedness.

How does the ESCR project address the subterranean or underground streams that run through the Lower East Side?

The historic wetlands and streams that once existed on the Lower East Side have long since been filled in, as this part of the City has been developed with roads and structures. While there is tidally influenced groundwater found underground in the study area, there is no evidence of any remaining rivers. The presence of groundwater in the project area has been taken into consideration in the design of the foundations for the flood walls and other below-grade structural elements. Regardless, any groundwater conditions within the project area will not interfere with or impact the ESCR project's functionality, nor would the introduction of the project significantly affect the groundwater found in the study area.

Drainage runoff that was previously carried by wetlands and streams is now managed by today's modern sewer system. The ESCR project addresses the drainage protected area through the Parallel Conveyance work (see above) which includes modifications to the existing sewer system. These upgrades will increase capacity to the Manhattan Pump Station, reducing the risk of flooding and sewer backups within the protected area. Additionally, a seepage barrier will be installed as part of the flood protection system, preventing storm surge from seeping through the earth and flowing inland underground. The historic wetlands and streams were addressed in Appendix A of the Joint Record of Decision, as well as the responses to public comments received following the release of Partial Action Plan A.

What is the status of the Lower East Side Ecology Center's Community Compost Yard?

The City supports compost operations by the Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) and is making efforts to relocate them for the duration of construction.  The LESEC Environmental Learning Center and Office has been temporarily moved to Seward Park House (Essex and Canal Street in Manhattan) and the temporary composting facility is being coordinated by the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY). The City has committed to returning the Lower East Side Ecology Center Compost Yard back to East River Park after construction is complete. For more information, see the NYC Parks letter dated August 4, 2021, on the CAG Inquiry Responses page. Coordination for the return of the compost yard is ongoing, therefore please sign up to our notification system and/or attend Community Board (CB) 3 or CAG meetings for project updates.

What is a Community Construction Liaison?

Community Construction Liaisons (CCLs) work on behalf of DDC as the first point of contact for local community members and stakeholders. They are responsible for communicating construction impacts to the local community and helping to resolve construction-related inquiries. The ESCR CCLs will be introduced to the community and will become well known to community members in the neighborhoods where they work. They will maintain frequent contact with residents, small and large businesses, local schools, emergency responders, and other key stakeholders to distribute relevant construction information and updates. CCLs will also attend community meetings such as Community Board meetings to provide project updates.

Meet the ESCR CCLs

What is the status of the amphitheater?

The Amphitheater Canopy design schedule continues to move forward. The DDC design team and Parks presented at the February 2022 CB3 Parks Committee Meeting, which was followed by an Amphitheater Working Group meeting.  The Amphitheater Public Design Commission (PDC) presentation was given at the June 2022 CB3 Parks Meeting. Once Preliminary Public Design Commission (PDC) approval is received, the design team will move forward with Final PDC Design Approval.

The design considers the acoustical performance of the structure and works to address community concerns with noise levels. Through a previous study the team identified operational parameters for outdoor events, in conjunction with the Park's rules, as the recommended means of controlling noise from the amphitheater. Many complaints were associated with unpermitted outdoor events extending past permitted hours and findings have been included in the design.

What recreation options will be available for park users and cyclists while the parks are under construction?

Throughout ESCR construction, at least 40% of East River Park will remain open for public use at all times, and construction at Asser Levy Playground, Stuyvesant Cove Park, and Murphy Brothers Playgrounds will be staggered to minimize open space impacts. Details about the timing of specific closures have not yet been finalized but will be posted on the website once they are available. For more information on where you can play and relax while the project is under construction, please visit the NYC Parks Neighborhood Recreation Resources website. You can also view an overview of completed and upcoming open space improvements (as of Fall 2020).

While sections of the East River Greenway will be closed during construction, the project team is continually working with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) on detours that will direct cyclists to the protected bike lanes along 1st and 2nd Avenues. These bike detours are posted on the PA1 Construction Notices and PA2 Construction Notices website pages. Additionally, DOT has recently proposed upgrading bike lanes along Avenue C and East Houston Street to expand NYC's protected bike network. The design and public review process for these new bike lanes is ongoing. Moreover, park users can visit the Resources Page to connect to information on NYC Parks Neighborhood Recreational Resources, DOT Safer Streets for Seniors, Biking Routes, Dog Run and Tennis locations.

What contractor is working on the ESCR project?

For PA2 (SANDRESM2), Perfetto Contracting Co. was the lowest bidder in a competitive bidding process and began construction in Asser Levy Playground and near Solar One in Stuyvesant Cove Park in November 2020.

The contract for PA1 (SANDRESM1), was awarded to IPC Resiliency Partners, also the lowest bidder in the competitive bidding process.  IPC received Notice to Proceed (NTP) on August 16, 2021.

The Parallel Conveyance (SANDRESPC) NTP was given to NYCC JPL JV on 9/13/2022. Continued updates will be provided to the community as they become available.  

Are bid packages and bid results available?

For ESCR's construction contracts, once a contractor has been awarded the project, DDC sends the bid package to the respective community boards (Manhattan Community Board 3 or 6) in a mass mailing. The Project Area 2 (PA 2, contract name: SANDRESM2) mass mailings were sent to CB6 in November 2020 and the Project Area 1 (PA 1, contract name: SANDRESM1) mass mailings were sent to both CB3 and CB6 in August 2021. Constituents may contact their local community board for access to these documents.

The Parallel Conveyance package (PC, contract name: SANDRESMPC) is still under procurement. Competitive bids were opened February 10, 2022. As described above for PA 1 and PA 2, mass mailings with the final bid package will also go out prior to the start of PC construction.

Where are the seal sculptures that were removed from the water park area in front of the Fire Boat House/Ecology center?

Due to the poor condition of the harbor seal sculptures, the originals seals cannot be reused, however the City is working with the original artist to recast the seal sculptures to be installed in the new Pier 42 Park. The original seal sculptures have been successfully transferred to the artist. Additionally, the turtle and crab sculptures in their original condition will be relocated to Pier 42.

Will new trees be planted for the ESCR project?

The current and previous flood protection alternatives necessitated the removal of trees in the park. The park requires more resilient planting to sustain itself from climate change. ESCR will restore and enhance the tree canopy and landscape of the park in anticipation of climate change by introducing over 50 different tree species, paying special attention to those that can withstand salt spray, increased precipitation, strong winds, and extreme weather to create a more resilient plant community. The elevation of the park means that critical tree and plant roots will be planted out of the flood zone, protected from sea level rise.

The ESCR planting plan includes native plants, pollinator species, diverse tree sizes, and considers species and growth speeds to achieve both short term shade and long-term canopy cover. Approximately 2,000 new trees will be planted as part of the landscape design in East River Park, almost double the number of trees that will be removed. The Environmental Benefit Factsheet provides an overview of the ESCR project's environmental & sustainable benefits.

Where is the tree removals permit?

Tree removals were determined in the design phase based on construction impacts in coordination with NYC Parks. Tree removals or impacts on any project must be permitted as part of a Parks Forestry permit. Forestry permits are not posted onsite, but anyone who is interested can learn more about what must be submitted to NYC Parks by visiting NYC Parks Tree Work Permit and can request a copy of ESCR tree removal permits via NYC Parks FOIL.

What is the percentage of grass lawns compared to synthetic turf?

ESCR increases the area of permeable surfaces in East River Park by approximately 7% as compared to the original park design which will enhance the park's drainage and decrease stormwater runoff and ponding within the park. Regarding turf specifically, the park will have almost twice as much natural grass as compared to the area of synthetic turf. Those natural turf areas include passive recreation lawns and some sports fields.

Why is the current design plan considered the better one? Can you explain the difference between the two systems?

There were several ESCR alternatives reviewed prior to the finalization of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). When the conceptual "berm" plan reached a mid-review point, the City performed a value engineering analysis as is typical for City projects. It was determined that the design needed to shift for reasons including utility conflicts, impacts of night work adjacent to the FDR Drive, and other concerns (see the 12/10/2018 Community Presentation). This revised, current plan (receiving final Public Design Commission (PDC) sign off in January of 2020), did move forward through the Environmental review process which included public review and comment. The current plan protects the new park, improves access, reduces impact on existing Con Edison lines, and reduces night work activities among other benefits.

The following reports and presentations document the analysis and differences between the current final design and the previous alternates:

ESCR Value Engineering Study Preliminary Report 2018

ESCR Elevated Park Alternative Feasibility Analysis 2018

Final Environmental Impact Statement (September 13, 2019): Chapter 2.0 Project Alternatives

December 10, 2018 Community Presentation

Additional public presentations and materials can be found on the Presentations page by scrolling to the bottom of the Presentations Archive.

What is the final design plan of East Side Coastal Resiliency?

As part of the ESCR Design Phase multiple presentations were made to PDC. They are the City's design review agency, who advocates for innovative, sustainable, and equitable design of public spaces and civic structures, with a goal of improving the public realm and related services for all New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs. These presentations provide a detailed overview of the project elements with renderings:

A summary of this information can be found on the ESCR Project Elements page.

When flooding, what will happen at the both ends of the ESCR project?

The ESCR Project is the first step in the City's plan for a larger coastal protection system in Lower Manhattan. While the project is being designed as a stand-alone "compartment" to reduce flood risk between E. 25th Street and Montgomery Street, it will tie-in with complementary initiatives in Lower Manhattan, including the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency, Resilient Neighborhoods Study, Con Edison Resiliency, Hospital Row Investments, and NYCHA Resiliency. Please visit, the ESCR Project Background webpage for more information.

Floodwalls and floodgates will meet the existing grade at the FDR Drive to the south, ultimately connecting to future flood protection through the Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resiliency (BMCR) project. At the northern end of the project area, the above-ground floodwall at Asser Levy Playground will tie-in with an existing VA Hospital floodwall on the north side of the hospital's property at East 24th Street. Therefore, due to the land elevation of where the walls end, flooding would be reduced. For falling rainwater, "interior" drainage improvements are also being made as part of the Parallel Conveyance contract. You can learn more about that work at the April 29, 2022 Parallel Convey Presentation. The floodwalls and raised park along with the interior drainage improvements will greatly reduce flood risk in these areas.