A closer look at the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project
If you’re wondering why your favorite parts of the East River Green Path have been closed off for the past few years, it’s thanks to the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. It’s a six-year project meant to protect the east side from flooding by raising the park – construction kicked off in 2020. East Village Assembly Member Harvey Epstein recalls how badly his area was affected by Sandy.
“I remember when the Con Ed plant blew up that night,” Epstein told News 12 from his East Village office. “Then the flooding that came down Avenue D, C and B really flooded neighborhoods, floated cars away there was a real impact it had on the community, so we want resiliency.”
But it wouldn’t be a city project without opposition. Some residents have protested the hundreds of trees that have been cut down for the project.
“We’re destroying an entire ecosystem and the largest and only greenspace on the Lower East Side,” Eve Josephson told News 12. “These people in this NYCHA housing, they live right over the FDR so without these trees to mitigate all of the carbon, what are they left with? The saplings they are going to plant aren’t going to do the same job.”
The Parks Department issued a statement to News 12:
“As the City’s tree stewards and experts – they are our responsibility, we take their care seriously, and we do not remove them casually. The ESCR project will nearly double the number of trees in East River Park—increasing to more than 1,800—with 50 different species that will provide shade and can withstand salt spray and the extreme weather that comes with climate change. The East Side Coastal Resiliency project will save lives and provide much-needed flood protection for more than 100,000 New Yorkers in this area. This critical open space improvement project will ensure that these waterfront parks are accessible and resilient for the surrounding community in the face of our daunting climate future.”
In the meantime, the DOT is also doing an additional waterfront study to see what improvements can be made while the construction is going on.
“Do they want to create new bike lanes? Do they want to do additional planting? And the community has been asked to engage in the process of telling the city what we want,” Epstein said. “They want to do more cross-over bridges – right now there’s Houston, 6th Street and 10th street as cross-over locations and one of the proposals is to have more places to cross over into the East Side Park...we want more trees – the problems that we’ve had is that we lost hundreds of trees – we want some of those to come back.” The project is being done in chunks, so only certain parts of the path are closed off at any given time. But don’t expect to hit the new greenway anytime soon. Construction is expected to wrap in 2026.