UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The city will dedicate $100 million in next year's budget to expand the East River Greenway from the Upper East Side to Midtown East, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
The city Economic Development Corporation will begin design work this year on an extended East River Esplanade stretching from East 61st Street to East 53rd Street, de Blasio said. The extended esplanade is part of a city plan to create a contiguous, 32-mile greenway that would circle the entire island of Manhattan.
"We’re jumpstarting the completion of a Greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront. The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk and play along the water," de Blasio said in a statement. "This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality."
Currently, the East River Esplanade stretches from Battery Park to East 34th Street and from East 61st Street to East 125th Street. The portion announced today would help "close the gap" between East 34th and East 61st streets, city officials said. Construction on the extension is expected to start in 2019 and be completed by 2022, city officials said. (For more New York City news delivered straight to your inbox sign up for Patch's free newsletters and breaking news alerts.)
“The dream of an East River Greenway is getting closer with a vital connection to fill the gap between 53rd and 61st streets. I will finally be able to run the full length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem,” City Council Member and Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce Ben Kallos said in a statement.
In addition to committing $100 million for the new greenway portion, Mayor de Blasio's budget will allocate $5 million to study the remaining gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The project announced today already has initial approval from the US Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and State Department of Environmental Conservation, city officials announced.