New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced almost $140 million in new city funding to add more community amenities as part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR), an 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.
The 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 St. south to Montgomery St.. 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.
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 Ave. C and East 17th St. 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 St. 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 the ESCR.
The 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, the 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 the ESCR began at Asser Levy Playground on East 25th St. 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.