Saturday, December 11, 2021

Witnesses: City continues to cut down trees this morning in East River Park

Witnesses say that city-contracted workers are back in East River Park this morning cutting down trees — despite the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that Rowan D. Wilson, Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, issued on Wednesday

In addition, according to activists who have been speaking out against the city's current plan to floodproof the park, the Department of Design and Construction is showing documents that day the TRO has been lifted. The paper is not valid, activists say...
The TRO is to remain in effect until the next hearing on Dec. 20. A copy of the court order follows...
East River Park Action released this statement this morning: 
Capt. Luis E. Barcia, Commander of the 7th Precinct was on-site where construction workers entered at 6:30 this morning. Park Activist Tommy Loeb said that Barcia acknowledged that he has a copy of the court order that should stay the work. It's from the Appeals Court, the highest court in the state. 

However, according to Loeb, "He has been told by higher ups that he's supposed to let the construction workers in.” Protesters have been unable to stop the work. Harriet Hirshorn and Alice O'Malley were arrested yesterday trying to deliver the Temporary Restraining Order to supervisors of the demolition inside the construction fence. 

Attorney Kathryn Freed said that the document the police were using to allow the demolition to proceed was "an internal memo" from the Department of Design and Construction. "They're taking that as more important as the highest court in the state." 

Activists, who have been protesting as work proceeds, say that the city is trying to demolish as much as they can before Monday, when the Court of Appeals will act on the contempt citation East River Park Action attorneys sent to Albany.
From NY1's coverage from yesterday:
In a statement, the city said that the order from appeals court Judge Rowan D. Wilson on Wednesday did not amount to an order to halt work at the park pending a final ruling. 

"The City has reviewed the Court's written order and we do not believe it prevents us from continuing work on this vital resiliency project," Ian Michaels, the head of public information for the Department of Design and Construction, which is overseeing the project, said.
You can read find more coverage at The Village Sun and CBS 2. 

Activists scheduled a press conference today at 1 p.m. at the Houston Street entrance to the park.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared this photo from yesterday... where there was an active construction site.

With the TRO in place, activists say that workers cut trees from Houston Street to the tennis courts just north of Delancey. Workers also ripped up the soccer field south of the Williamsburg Bridge and the seal park across from Grand Street. 

Read our previous posts for more background on the ESCR and the opposition and controversy over the city's current plan.

East River Park Action and other activists say they will continue to fight for alternatives to preserve much of the park and provide interim flood control.

Top photo by @1000people1000trees


Anonymous said...

I went over to the park this morning but watching all those great trees being cut down was too painful for me to see. I had to leave. Those poor trees survived Superstorm Sandy but ultimately ended up being destroyed by a corrupt and dysfunctional municipal government. What a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

So if they can ignore a stop work order, then protesters can use my comment here to continue protesting and tear down the construction fences in the park.

What a disgusting corrupt city.

Anonymous said...

I am sickened to my stomach looking at those photos. I also can't bring myself to visit now either. What a dirty, rotten shame. And how is this even valid or legal considering there is a stop order or pause until another judge intervenes? I am confused. Our city government is to blame for this disaster and this is only what appears to be the beginning stages of a complete overhaul of our beloved park. Kudos to Johnson, Rivera and DeDorkio for making this happen. I am sure they are beaming with joy while the rest of us as tax paying, law abiding and nearby residents grieve for what is to come.

Anonymous said...

It is very hard to see this happen; however, if no one shows up, which is what the forces of greed and destruction want, then they win.

Scuba Diva said...

There's a 2 PM meeting today [Sunday] at the amphitheater; we need witnesses to this destruction, and people to document the destruction.