NYC takes a leap toward 'closing the loop' with the opening of East Midtown Greenway
New York City reached a significant milestone Tuesday as officials cut the ribbon on the long-anticipated East Midtown Greenway, bringing the city one step closer to the ambitious "closing the loop" plan – a network of amenity-packed greenways encircling Manhattan.
Commissioner Sue Donoghue of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation led the ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the culmination of a decade-long effort involving collaborations across city agencies and support from various elected officials.
“Bringing people on the East Side closer to the waterfront, providing this incredible greenway and also a beautiful restoration of Andrew Haswell green park - really important community green space for this area,” said Donoghue.
The $217 million project aims to expand green spaces, providing waterfront access and open space from 53rd to 61st streets.
Jennifer Ratner, chair of Friends of East River Esplanade, a group that has been advocating for the project, expressed excitement.
"Thrilled to have this new amazing phenomenal new swath of waterfront that will soon be a waterfront all the way up into East Harlem," she said.
This initiative is part of the broader city effort to create a connected greenway encircling Manhattan. The goal is to close gaps in low-income neighborhoods and create a 32.5-mile Greenway loop, providing access to over 1,000 acres of green space around the island.
"It’s going to be an improvement to the quality of our economic development and well-being and equity in NYC, creating new spectacular pathways not just for people to exercise and recreate but get to work," said Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Local residents are equally thrilled about the transformation.
"It’s something we don’t have a lot of in Turtle Bay. There’s a lot of cement, a lot of high rises, so for us, this makes the neighborhood so much more special than it was before," said Cindy Buckwalter.
While the East Midtown Greenway is now open, there is no set date for the completion of the entire loop. Officials acknowledge that achieving this vision will require additional capital funding.