Flood Plan That Rebuilds East River Park Draws Dozens To Meeting

The Patch: A plan to raze and rebuild the East River Park in the name of flood protection brought dozens to a City Planning Commission hearing Wednesday.

The resiliency plan, known as the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, would bury and rebuild the East River Park several feet higher — protecting the neighborhood from devastation from storms like Superstorm Sandy in 2012, according to city officials.

But the plan would shutter the massive park for three-and-a-half years under the city's proposed timeline — drawing scrutiny from park-goers, cyclists and runners.

"I think it's unconscionable what they're doing — closing the East River Park from Montgomery to Stuyvesant Town," said Wendy Rubin, who has lived on East Third Street since 1985.

Rubin runs at the park's track four times a week and regularly bikes there.

"It's a quality of life issue," she said.

"I saw that water come in [during Sandy in 2012] — I was affected by it," said Yvette Mercedes, a Baruch Houses resident who rallied against the plan before the hearing with more than a dozen people.

But, she said, "This is not the way of doing it. They're going to stir up stuff, and then they're not going to know how to deal with it."

Some said protection from storms like Sandy is a priority and support the plan.

"I hear about the park. I hear about the bicycles," said Nancy Ortiz, a resident leader at New York City Housing Authority's Vladeck Houses. "Life over trees. I believe in protecting life and I believe in protecting families."

The East Side Coastal Resiliency project's current design was proposed after a previous plan with a series of flood walls and berms was scrapped last year. Community Board 3 and 6 has approved the updated proposal — with pages worth of conditions the city has yet to address entirely. Read more>>