New York Construction Report staff writer
Officials are celebrating the completion of the first part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project that represents “a new class of resilient infrastructure” for New York City.
The entire project — expected to be complete in 2026 — is also creating nearly 1,000 new jobs in New York City.
“Climate change is here, and with it are hotter temperatures, heavier rainfall, and more dangerous flooding,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “The East Side Coastal Resiliency project is more than infrastructure; it’s how we will protect our city from rising seas and stronger storms. This one project will create good jobs, put cutting edge technology and engineering into action.”
The ESCR Project, a $1.45 billion project that will create a 2.4-mile flood barrier of berms, floodwalls, moveable gates and raised parkland that will protect 110,000 East Side residents — including 28,000 NYCHA residents — from future storms and tidal flooding. Of the $1.45 billion, $338 million of funding is being provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Asser Levy Playground now features 320 feet of new floodwall, along with a new 79-foot-long, 45-ton sliding steel floodgate. The first protective flood gate — measuring 42 feet and weighing 16 tons — was installed as part of the flood wall near Stuyvesant Cove Park in February. Once ESCR is completed, the floodgate will be closed ahead of any future flooding event. The wall will protect the adjacent Margaret Cochran Corbin VA Campus and Hospital, as well as the park’s recreation center and outdoor pool, allowing it to stay online after a major storm.
“This revamped Asser Levy playground not only looks great, but it is also adding critical flood protection for this East Side neighborhood. This area was severely battered by Superstorm Sandy. We are proud to have played a role in planning for this public amenity and in protecting New Yorkers from the serious risks of coastal flooding,” said DCP Director Dan Garodnick.
The ESCR project is also upgrading East River Park, Corlears Hook Park, Murphy Brothers Playground, Stuyvesant Cove Park, and other open spaces in the area, making them more resilient and accessible for all, while adding new and improved amenities, including improved waterfront access through reconstructed bridges and entry points.
East River Park will be elevated approximately eight feet with upgraded recreational facilities, new passive-use areas, and approximately 2,000 trees — including 50 different species selected for their ability to withstand salt spray and extreme weather. The ESCR project will also build footings for a future pedestrian bridge elevating the Manhattan Greenway over its narrowest point along the East River, improving community access to the park.
“We’re incredibly happy to see this vision come to life,” said Amy Chester, managing director, Rebuild by Design. “This project has shown that adapting to climate change will be hard and will require tradeoffs. We can learn from the past and work together to ensure that we are creating climate infrastructure that enhances communities every day — and helps protect us when we are hit with devastating weather.”