Concerned community members have come together in protection of East River Park from this ecocide needlessly being carried out by the City with an extraordinary lack of safety measures in light of unprecedented conditions created by the COVID-19 surge and in the absence of any State, City or Federal official or Agency willing to claim responsible environmental oversight. In response to these calamitous conditions, we are opposed to any further areas of the park being fenced off and subsequently demolished.
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Monday, January 3, 2022
The de Blasio administration has left behind a decidedly mixed climate change legacy, and one of its largest shortcomings has been falling behind on billions of dollars of coastal infrastructure projects initiated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This last-minute destruction of East River Park has proved to be disruptive and lacks the transparency and safety measures usually seen at city demolition and construction sites.Visitors to the park, including bicyclists, joggers, skateboarders and wheelchair-bound retirees, were left befuddled by the sudden closure of its southern entrances and paths.No official construction signs, project descriptions or permits were mounted at the demolition sites. Clouds of dust rose up from the removal of the amphitheater's aged concrete, behind a flimsy barrier of dilapidated fences and caution tape.As one of the final acts of the de Blasio administration, the demolition of East River Park marks the last chapter in the mayor's climate change legacy, ending his term on a controversial note, and leaving his successor with a messy process that will take years to complete.
Thursday, December 30, 2021
The city is to replace the existing structure, which dates to 1941, with a smaller one at the exact location. In June, the city came up with $4.83 million to include a roof over the new amphitheater. (Our last post has more details.)
Monday, December 27, 2021
Friday, December 24, 2021
In 1941, an amphitheater was built in the park, along with an adjacent limestone recreational building, as part of an urban renewal project for the Lower East Side. During the 1950s, the amphitheater was the site of frequent free Evening-in-the-Park concerts. Joseph Papp (1921-1991), founder of Shakespeare in the Park and the Public Theater, staged Julius Caesar there in 1956. Local schools held their graduation ceremonies there, and the Group of Ancient Drama staged free-of-charge performances of classic Greek plays...
Friday, December 17, 2021
ESCR is one of many critical life-saving infrastructure projects needed to protect NYC residents from the devastating impacts of climate change. Without the completion of ESCR to provide flood protection, a resilient park, and improved drainage systems, Lower East Side including NYCHA's infrastructure will remain susceptible to deterioration, putting the future of residents at great risk of loss of life, evacuation, and potential loss of homes.
Frontline Communities Coalition refutes the misinformation campaign specifically targeted to play into the fears of people of color and the residents of public housing. ESCR is about saving lives and in doing so it will also save the homes and East River Park itself for future generations.
This morning, the rally takes place at 11 on Sixth Street at FDR Drive between the Jacob Riis and Lillian Wald Houses.
2) Yesterday, the state Court of Appeals denied activists' bid to hear their case.
In a terse, 20-word ruling, the court rejected allegations that the city side-stepped state law by not seeking a vote approving the plan in the state legislature. Judges in earlier phases of the suit had already ruled in the city’s favor twice.
The court also rejected the activists' motion to hold the city in contempt of court, after the city continued to cut down trees in the park following a judge's order in the case, issued last week that appeared to require the city to pause construction.
This is truly a sad day, not only for us but for all parkland. This decision sets a terrible precedent for all parkland... All they have to do now is tack on some park-related excuse to whatever they're doing and it will not need to go through alienation or state oversight. They could put a building in a park and say it's for environmental research for the park and it will be ok. Thank you for your support. We are in mourning.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Demonstrations continued yesterday south of the East Houston Street entrance... (photos below by Stacie Joy)...
🚩Important Change🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩Destruction of Amphitheater is imminent. Instead of meeting at Houston St at 2pm we are meeting at Amphitheater. Access at Corlears Hook Overpass. @1000treesNYC pic.twitter.com/PY2AhJ2rzX— Our Park (@ERPAction) December 12, 2021
The Village Sun quoted: "Bill de Blasio wants to just get this done and in the ground before Eric Adams is mayor. He wants to make sure Eric Adams doesn't have any way to deal with it."
I sent the East River Park contract back due to serious unresolved issues, yet the City moved ahead. I'm still concerned that the community isn't being heard, and actions like today's don't help.— Scott M. Stringer (@NYCComptroller) December 10, 2021
Saturday, December 11, 2021
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.
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.
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.
Friday, December 10, 2021
Top photo by @jeremoss