Opinion: East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan Must Move Forward

City Limits: Climate change is not a nebulous future threat. It landed on our shores violently and mercilessly seven years ago as Superstorm Sandy. Its impact hit home to many then and continues to be seen and felt all around us.

New York City and New York State have made great strides this year passing bills designed to address the root cause of climate change–greenhouse gas emissions–but in a city with 520 miles of coastline, there is much more to be done to protect people and communities from current and future impacts.

Several years ago, in the aftermath of Sandy, the Stuyvesant Town, Lower East Side, and East Village communities came together to advocate for protective measures to fortify their waterfront and their residents from the threats of flooding from sea-level rise and storm surge. They formed partnerships with designers and architects and submitted a winning proposal to the Rebuild by Design competition. Then last year, usurping five years of community-driven planning, the city advanced a significantly different plan for the stretch of the East River waterfront between 25th Street and Montgomery Street. This blindsided many in the community and heightened tensions around this critical project that in some ways still remain today.

Councilmember Rivera and Borough President Brewer stepped up in the aftermath of this turnabout to ensure their constituents were heard, including using their own budgets to hire a third-party review of the new plan. NYLCV commends both for the leadership they showed on behalf of the community throughout this process.

Since then, the city held more than 40 meetings with community-based organizations, tenant associations, NYCHA residents, and community boards, and updated the project to reflect input they received from the community. Read more>>