Upper East Side, NY –The Brearley School, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and Council Member Ben Kallos have formed a public-private partnership to rebuild and maintain a platform known as “The Pier” that had fallen into severe disrepair with rain leaking through onto John Finley Walk on the East River Esplanade.
As part of a new lease agreement and in response to concerns raised by Council Member Ben Kallos, the Brearley School and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services have agreed to invest over $1 million to rehabilitate the Pier. CIVITAS, the Council Member and representatives from the Brearley School will host the public for a preview of the plan on Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 6PM to 8PM at the Brearley School. The plan will incorporate colorful new designs, contemporary lighting, green walls, and new planters with seasonal plantings maintained through a partnership with a local conservancy. The new Brearley lease will run for the next 20 years, with two 10-year renewals.
Previously, the City was responsible for the pier infrastructure. As part of the new lease, the School is taking on that responsibility along with the voluntary renovation and beautification that will be carried out as part of the public-private partnership. In addition, Brearley will post contact information for residents to report any issues. Routine maintenance issues reported will be fixed within days or weeks, and updates will be posted regularly in the event of any larger issues.
This new public-private partnership was a result of community meetings and surveys with CIVITAS, and Council Member Kallos and Brearley working with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to address community concerns. A detailed history and the full terms of the agreement are listed below.
“Block by block, we are rebuilding the Esplanade, bringing in new institutional partners so we can for it together as a community moving forward. Renovations to the pier structure should result in fewer complaints about bird droppings and water dripping on passerby below on the East River Esplanade,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to the Brearley School and the Department of Citywide Administrative services for working with our office to address community concerns and giving back to our community.”
“We are thrilled to have obtained the City’s permission to repair and upgrade the pier and proud to take on this new responsibility for the benefit of the whole community. We are grateful to Council Member Kallos for his partnership on this issue,” said Rahul Tripathi, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Brearley School.
“CIVITAS is excited to see our East River Esplanade Master Plan being implemented into phases of development. CIVITAS planted the seed with the master plan and community outreach events that will now grow into a reality, said Alexander Adams, Executive Director.”
The Brearley School previously held a lease for a structure of approximately 3,720 square feet of space located upon a platform structure over the East River Esplanade’s John Finley Walk between 82nd and 83rd Streets, also known as Manhattan Block 1590 Lot 24, referred to as the “Pier.”
During the negotiation with DCAS, Council Member Kallos partnered with CIVITAS to hold visioning sessions on May 17, 2016 and June 7, 2016 in an effort to gauge how residents felt about the pier structure and receive feedback. A detailed survey taken at these meetings found that out of over 100 residents who replied, more than half expressed dissatisfaction with the disrepair of this city-owned structure. CIVITAS made several recommendations following their work with the community, which were detailed in a memorandum on November 14, 2016.
Once Council Member Kallos received the results from the visioning sessions, he shared them with the Mayor’s office and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which is responsible for negotiating and finalizing lease agreements with the City of New York. Council Member Ben Kallos, the Brearley School, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and CIVITAS have met over the past two years working to create the public-private partnership.
In a letter to Council Member Ben Kallos, the Brearley School has agreed to the following capital improvements:
- Invest $1 Million to Rehabilitate the Pier. The overhang above John Finley Walk and the East River Esplanade between 82nd and 83rd Streets will have a million dollar structural and aesthetic renovation with ongoing maintenance.
- Repair Leaks. Dripping water from the overhang will be repaired with ongoing maintenance to prevent future leaks and a commitment to fix any that arise.
- Removing Netting. Netting that currently hangs down to protect pedestrians from falling debris will be removed with a commitment to maintain the structure so it is not necessary.
- Remove Chain Link Fence. New fencing will be straight square or rectangles that will match the existing fencing on the 81st Street Pedestrian Bridge in shape, color and material.
- Contemporary Lighting for Public Safety. Contemporary lighting will be installed in strips along the building wall to provide sleek lighting for public safety without impacting neighbors. Groundwork for additional lighting will be included for installation if necessary.
- Green Wall. Privacy barriers will be green, with planters and plants visible to pedestrians below, and a south wall of six to eight feet and a north wall of four feet to reduce shadows cast to the Esplanade below.
- Colorful Public Design. Brearley and Council Member Ben Kallos will work with CIVITAS to seek public feedback on colors and patterns from the community for structural surfaces.
- Ongoing Maintenance. For the term of the lease, Brearley will provide signage on the overhang with a hotline and electronic contact information for their office and the Council Member for complaints. Brearley will respond within 2 business days to the complaint with information on how soon the repair will be made as well as advising the Council Member. Whether a drip, a chip, or dim light, Brearley is committed to keeping the structure in like new condition.
The Brearley School has agreed to join efforts to improve the East River Esplanade with:
- Planters. Planters will be provided to the south at the entrances to John Finley Walk at 81st, 82nd, 83rd (provided by the school) and 84th Streets, with seasonal plantings.
- Water. Access to water from Brearley will be available for the Parks Department and use by conservancy partners.
- Conservancy. Brearley will work with Council Member Ben Kallos’ office to partner with a Park Conservancy and the New York City Parks Department to provide seasonal plantings ongoing maintenance for the planters.
The Brearley School agreed with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to terms requested by Council Member Kallos that included:
- Public Preview: CIVITAS, the Council Member and representatives from the Brearley School will host the public for a preview of the plan,
- Term. The term of the lease will be for twenty years, with two 10-year renewals and the ability of the city to ensure compliance prior to each renewal.
- Supporting Vital City Programs. As contemplated by the lease, Brearley will pay fair market value for the use of city land which will be used to fund vital programs serving the neighborhood and city.
The Brearley School has been a vibrant part of New York City since its founding in 1884, and at 610 East 83rd Street enjoyed access to the East River. In the 1930s, under then New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, construction of the East River Drive forced the Brearley School to give up riverfront access.
“NYC Parks is pleased to work with Council Member Kallos, the Brearley School and the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy to help beautify John Finley Walk as a part of our overall efforts to improve Carl Schurz Park, the East River Esplanade and other parks on the Upper East Side,” NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro.
“It is wonderful to hear that major parts of the East River Esplanade will be getting the makeover they need and deserve, it is finally all coming together, “Jennifer Ratner, Founder of Friends of the East River Esplanade and The Brearley School Alum. “This overhang on the Esplanade has for a long time needed maintenance and care. I am thrilled it will now be getting that from The Brearley School as a result of this agreement. Thank you to Council Member Ben Kallos for working with The Brearley School on the investment; it should go a long way in improving this section of the Esplanade.”