Monday, August 9, 2021

Advocacy group: Mayor 'overrules' comptroller on East River Park reconstruction contract

Mayor de Blasio apparently doesn't want any further delays with the East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan (ESCR) for East River Park. 

According to East River Park Action in an Instagram post from Friday, the Mayor "overruled" Comptroller Scott Stringer's office and asked that he register the low bidder's contract for the massive floodproofing project. 

Last month, the $1.2 billion contract from IPC Resiliency Partners was waiting for approval at Stringer's office. Stringer subsequently sent the contract back to the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) for more information, including "how the project's lead contractors plan to meet the legal standard that minority/women-owned business enterprises receive 30 percent of the work," as The Indypendent reported

Per a Stringer spokesperson: "Since we were unable to resolve all of our questions within the 30-day review period, our office has returned the contract to DDC to allow them additional time to address the outstanding issues." 

Stringer apparently did not indicate that he opposed the reconstruction plan. 

Now the Mayor is "pushing through the City's contract with the unqualified company," per East River Park Action. 

Every day this week at noon, the activist group will protest the plan outside the gates of City Hall...
Eileen Myles, the East Village-based poet and novelist who has spoken out against the plan, called out mainstream media outlets for not covering this story.

From a weekend Instagram post that was widely shared on the platform, including by Kim Gordon...
Opponents of the city's current plan — where workers will raze the 57.5-acre plot of land, bulldozing 1,000 mature trees and rebuilding the park atop eight feet of landfill — say there are better ways to preserve the park and provide flood protection, such as the one mapped out in the years after Sandy.

In late 2018, the city surprised community stakeholders by announcing a complete overhaul of a plan discussed over four years of local meetings.

In October 2019, the city announced that they would phase in the construction, so only portions of the park are closed to the public at any given time. 

According to various reportsthe city has committed to leaving a minimum of 42 percent of East River Park open to the public. It is projected to be completed in 2025, a timetable opponents say will never be met.


Anonymous said...

Twitter warriors doing nothing as usual.

Social media exists to serve the rich and will control the discourse nicely.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing but not surprising the big business interests that want this terrible project to go forward own the Mayors office. I am just sorry for all of those great trees in the East River Park that will be cut down just so a few greedy individuals can line their pockets with taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

The greatest coverage of this disaster has been right here on this blog. Thank you, EVG, for keeping this issue front and center. It's criminal how the destruction of ERP has barely been covered by large news outlets, and when it is, there is a slant to the coverage suggesting this community is nothing more than a bunch of NIMBYs. This 'project' is so wrong when we had a PLAN already in place that was approved by all. Can the Mayor be sued for what he's doing? Is there any hope left (ugh) that Cuomo can stop this?

Anonymous said...

Thank you evgrieve

Anonymous said...

The New York Times hasn’t covered land use issues in years and more recently has mostly even dropped covering basic or breaking NYC news. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Mayor DeDorkio is a self-absorbed POS. Here's the clincher. I voted for him twice. I guess I am the idiot now. I can't stand him and am counting the days until his departure. He doesn't give two fucks about our city or this horrendous project nor the impact it will have on nearby residents like us or the environment of trees and animals that will be gone. He must have received financial incentives for this to come forward and for him to voice no opposition. This will become a burden and a massive eyesore to all of us for at least a decade. And for what? A real estate developers opportunity that can't be passed? Why just demolish this area and not others? There was flooding all over Manhattan. Many scientists and engineers have offered less expensive and more humane solutions that won't destroy communities to prevent substantial flooding. DeDorkio a colossal failure.

Brian Van said...

The trees are all living on borrowed time anyway. If left in low-lying positions, they will be flooded by East River water in the next 5-10 years, which is brackish water. The salt in the water will certainly kill the trees. The Superstorm Sandy surge already did a lot of damage to tree life in this regard.

Among the reasons one might list to pursue another plan, saving the trees isn't really a valid one. We can't save the current mature trees at all in the long run. And if the park is designed to flood every couple of years, you probably won't ever have mature trees there ever again.

And while it's a shame that it's come to this, we know what's ahead in the future now. We can't really say that, if you leave the park alone and at current level, it'll be totally fine for the next 20-40 years.

Anonymous said...

The second largest park in Manhattan is about to be destroyed- every tree, flower, bush, as well as all buildings and facilities. Can you imagine if this were being done to Central Park or Riverside Park? There would be endless news coverage and community outrage.

Anonymous said...

Brian makes a valid point about the trees. It makes me sad to see them removed but they will not survive continued flooding. This is a problem all up and down the east coast as salt water comes inland because of climate change. If this flooding issue isn't addressed now, we are going to have even bigger problems soon. The water came all the way to Avenue C during Sandy. It's only a matter of decades before storms bring water even further into the neighborhood if nothing is done.

Anonymous said...

The media has ignored it because most of the writers live in the outer boroughs and are unsympathetic to neighborhoods in Manhattan. They would cover it if it was happening in Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg, or Flatbush.

Anonymous said...

@Brian Van

The question isn't leaving the park as it is, the question is the sanctity of the FDR Drive. It must not be closed overnight, ever. Rivera's office's argument revolves around impacting the NYCHA buildings, as if the loss of the green space now won't impact their air quality immediately, and that it would be easier, read cheaper, to do the work from barges. What is off the table is inconveniencing the non-commercial traffic flow on the FDR, ever. deBlasio's traffic people are snide while playing willfully ignorant of the current science regarding induced demand.

The trees may be flooded and die in the course of things but we need them while they are here. The comparatively simple job currently closing the bike path at 21st street is stalled. This is a city that took ten years to build a traffic island on Houston and was going to close the L train for a year plus until Cuomo big footed them into suddenly realizing they could do the work over night in less than half the time.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary, or graft, depends on his not understanding it.

Anonymous said...

It's not just about the trees themselves. Those trees are home to many different kinds of animals who might have the chance to gradually find better places to live IF the park becomes increasingly unsustainable for those animals. To say "we might as well cut the trees down now because they're not going to survive long anyway" is not very thoughtful, bordering on trolling. While we're watching the climate crisis unfold all around us, and given the flooding we all saw during Sandy, we know what could happen along the East River. But no one has a crystal ball to know when exactly all the trees will be killed by brackish water. There's a better solution for the park. This mayor is in the pocket of big real estate, not everyday New Yorkers.

Anonymous said...

"We can't really say that, if you leave the park alone and at current level, it'll be totally fine for the next 20-40 years."


"if nothing is done."

These are both standard deflections one hears over and over again at any thread re this issue. His trees post was a deflection to get to his main POV, the support of this CF of a BbB/CC/REBNY/Construction Union plan. NOBODY is saying "if you leave the park alone" or "if nothing is done".

Nobody. So tired of this.

As noted already at this thread:

"This 'project' is so wrong when we had a PLAN already in place that was approved by all."


Anonymous said...

These East River Park trees survived Hurricane Sandy, act as windbreakers, their roots absorb storm water and they're absorbing carbon dioxide protecting our health.
The replacement trees won't provide that same protection for decades
A small section of the park was recently upgraded already and expected to take only 2 or 3 years but it took 10.
That area of East River Park is set to be demolished for the current plan.
If asphalt is in need of repair or maintenance, ok.
But why total destruction of an entire park and 1,000 of its 80 year old trees, a project that has never been done anywhere in the U.S. including Battery Park City, also flooded by Hurricane Sandy?

57 acres of our public space being taken away for at least 10 years is tragic and without those nearly 1,000 mature trees (half the trees on the lower east side) we can count on an increase in asthma rates.

Yes, thank you EV GRIEVE for your coverage.

La vie est belle said...

This is so outrageous. So sick of deblasio and his anything for sale corruption. Everyone here is right, we need media coverage and in person protesting. Count me in. This is our park!!

Christopher Pelham said...

The fact that the mayor is trying to push this through so quickly instead of allowing it to play out and give the incoming mayor a chance to address it makes one wonder if this isn’t simply a gift to his supporters.

Anonymous said...

Much thanks to EV Grieve for conveying this ongoing information in a comprehensive manner. Unlike the local news and papers whom might report on a smaller scale, yours is the only site that covers in depth details because it greatly affects all of us in the east village. I am sickened with what is about to transpire to our neighborhood. It feels like there are virtual calls for help, yet those whom are in charge turn a blind eye because their pockets are flush with cash. Very sad indeed. This will be a significant loss for our community and wildlife and for much of downtown Manhattan. This area is perhaps my favorite part of the city. I love everything about it. The fresh air, the open sky, the crushing waves, the smell of the sea, and the possibility that you are not even in NYC. It almost feels like you are somewhere else, especially when you turn the curve and see the Williamsburg bridge in the background and head past the amphitheater. Such a sacred piece of land. And they want to destroy it? All for the sake of preventing more flooding? There are too many holes to this story that lacks consistency and depth which leads me to believe this is driven by real estate development and an insular agenda orchestrated by city government. Now that sleaze ball Cuomo will soon be impeached by Albany, I wonder how can we impeach or remove DeBlassio? Hasn't he caused enough damage?

Anonymous said...

@12:1PM: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary, or graft, depends on his not understanding it."

EXACTLY RIGHT, and in this case it's all about graft, grifting, and lining the pockets of our shamelessly corrupt mayor, Bill de Blasio, who ought to be run out of town on a rail. It's very clear that de Blasio only wants to shove through as many money-making (for HIMSELF) projects as he can, between now and Jan. 1, 2022.

Anonymous said...

I don't think many people are realizing the unbelievable devastation that is about to occur. Our neighborhood will be war-torn for a decade and beyond.

Anonymous said...

"Global Citizen Live will call on leaders to have 1 billion trees planted and preserved to help prevent global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels"

Anonymous said...

If the neighborhood is going to be "war torn" for a decade, then much like the peeps who say move to the suburbs if you don't like the noise, just move then. IMHO the only ones who should get a say are those who live near the water and who suffered through Sandy. Trees will grow back, animals will return. Just do it already!

Anonymous said...

"in one year a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange."

A 10 year old tree absorbs only .10 pounds of carbon/year.

Our community would be better off with the original community involved flood plan, preserving many of our mature trees, avoiding the toxic air quality throughout the many years of park construction.
The oxygen that forest of trees is currently pumping into our neighborhood is something that won't likely be restored for decades after park destruction.

Anonymous said...


"If the neighborhood is going to be "war torn" for a decade, then much like the peeps who say move to the suburbs if you don't like the noise, just move then. IMHO the only ones who should get a say are those who live near the water and who suffered through Sandy. Trees will grow back, animals will return. Just do it already!"

I've lived here 30 years and don't want to move. Yes, 80 year old trees grow back- in 80 years. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. There is a plan that keeps the Park and protects the neighborhood better than the current real-estate, grifter-politician plan, and it actually better-protects the neighborhood in the meantime; the nuclear option plan doesn't. BTW- you're not the only person who experienced flooding. Reminds me of the same dumb attitude that existed for the L-train project. "Just do it already" would have meant years of noise and toxic debris for the neighborhood. Turns out there was an easy and better fix" that was almost lost in the hysteria.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything our new governor can do about this?

Anonymous said...

Great question 9:49 am

I was thinking the same thing. This entire project is laden with so much corruption, greed, missteps, avoidance of engineering experts, and lies, I don't know where she would begin. This is larger than we think. The feds are also involved because they contributed significant funding for it. We as nearby citizens who breathe the air will suffer as will the numerous runners and athletes who use this area for exercise and training as will the beautiful wildlife who will be evicted from their homes. It took what a decade for the construction project on Houston to be completed when they predicted it would take a mere three to four year years? I don't enjoy being the voice of doom and gloom, but this is going to become a monumental disaster for numerous years. Much thanks to DeBlassio and Riveria for spearheading this to bolster their egos and careers. Makes me nauseous.

Brian Van said...

I have never received a dime from the city or from any contractors on any construction project. If I thought it was a bad plan I would have nothing stopping me from saying it.

I originally thought it was a bad plan!

I don't think this is about the FDR Drive at all. Surely some people have suggested that, but, the state controls the FDR and there is unilateral government control over it. A much bigger problem is that ConEd (protected by Governor Cuomo) controls the land just off to the side of the FDR, where the bicycle path is. ConEd doesn't want to do anything for anyone if it hits the shareholders' bottom line.

It's deeply silly to wonder if the governor could intervene. If he could, he'd have made a statement volunteering those FDR closures that everyone thinks is the big story here. I'd bet money Cuomo or his direct appointees were, opposite to everyone's expectations, at least partly behind the scuttling of the original plan.

So many anons coming after me that it's hard to rule out that it's probably 2 people from LES Dwellers on their usual harassment kick

Anonymous said...

"'The Lorax' Warned Us 50 Years Ago, But We Didn't Listen"
"I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs"