NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro today joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Ben Kallos, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Community Board 8 Chair Jim Clynes and community members to break ground on the East River Esplanade sea wall Phase I reconstruction project in Carl Schurz Park. Part of a $41 million, multi-phase project to preserve and restore the East River Esplanade as a major recreational asset for the East Side community and its visitors from around the city and the world, this $15 million phase is funded by Mayor de Blasio with $12 million and $3 million from City Council.
“At Parks, we often find that our historic gems need special care, as is the case with the East River Esplanade sea wall in Carl Schurz Park,” said NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro. “We are grateful that Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Ben Kallos, with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s strong support, have invested $41 million to restore and preserve the East River Esplanade as a major recreational asset for the East Side, East Harlem and all of New York City.”
“As many in the El Barrio/East Harlem and Upper East Side neighborhoods have witnessed, the East River Esplanade has been neglected and left to deteriorate for far too long. The Council is committed to changing this by providing $3 million in funding for just the first phase of the project, in addition to $12 million from the Mayor,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The Esplanade was identified as a major priority in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, and we hope to see additional capital investment in this critical neighborhood resource.”
"We are breaking ground on a new East River Esplanade that was literally crumbling into the river after generations of neglect," said Council Member Ben Kallos, who advocated for the $41 million in the City's budget for this work and co-chairs the East River Esplanade Task Force with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney. "Having already secured this funding, we were able to get shovels in the ground soon after the sea wall collapse occurred here at Carl Schurz Park. This investment spans two Council Districts to fix various collapses and sinkholes between 63rd and 125th Streets. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for agreeing to provide $35 million in initial funding for the Esplanade, the Parks Department for getting these repairs started in time to address the recent collapse, and Congress Member Carolyn Maloney for prioritizing our waterfronts and her longstanding co-leadership of the East River Esplanade Task Force."
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) stated: “We’ve come a long way since I created the East River Esplanade Task Force in 2010. We have a study documenting the problems, a plan for fixing them, funding for phases I and II of the plan, contributions from Rockefeller University and the Hospital for Special Surgery to fix portions of the Esplanade and a commitment that the City will provide more funding to complete the work. The waterfront Greenway along the East River is a gem, and is one of the most breathtaking spots in our city. I am thrilled that the Mayor and my colleagues in government have been so generous and committed to the effort to repair and improve the East River Esplanade.”
“I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for allocating $15 million for the completion of Phase I of the East River Esplanade renovation. The Esplanade is enjoyed by all – families, seniors, children, and our beloved pets – and therefore, is a crucial aspect of our community. Unfortunately, our favorite place to play, relax, and stroll is also our first line of defense against flooding. Thanks to the joint efforts of local elected officials and the New York City Parks Department, the reconstruction project will bring vast improvement to the quality of life on the Upper East Side and surrounding neighborhoods. I am also proud to have allocated $500,000 for improvements to the Esplanade and look forward to enjoying the renovations,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.
This phase of sea wall reconstruction includes four sites: E. 88th – 90th streets, 114th St., 117th St., and between 124th and 125th streets. Work is expected to be completed in less than 12 months. Open to the public access points to the immediate esplanade area during construction are: E. 96th St. entrance with access between 90th and 96th streets, and all points south of E. 88th St. on the esplanade.
The $26 million second phase of this project is slated to begin in 2019.
PHOTO CREDIT: NYC Parks / M. Pinckney