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East River Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, May 5, 2008

A Park Grows Along The East River

Bridge in the distance
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

An old industrial site along the East River is being transformed into a waterfront oasis.

On April 9, Commissioner Benepe joined Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Members Jessica Lappin and Dan Garodnick and members of Community Board 8 to break ground on the first construction phase of a new park along the East River. Funding for the $1.6 million project is provided by Borough President Stringer, Council Member Lappin and private allocations.

The first phase of this multi-phase construction project will install a new dog run, drinking fountain, game tables, fencing and plantings including trees and shrubs. Alice Aycock’s East River Roundabout sculpture, placed on top of the pavilion in 1995, will also receive new lighting for better illumination.

Thanks to Borough President Stringer and Council Member Lappin, Parks has $2.5 million for the project’s second phase, which will improve the York Avenue entrance, provide new railings, and “green” the on-ramp leading to the park’s pavilion by adding plantings and benches.

This future park has long been the site of light industrial activity. The Queensboro Bridge, originally known as Blackwell’s Island Bridge, began construction directly over the site shortly after the turn of the century. In later years, the land would be used for construction materials suppliers and a loading area for the Department of Sanitation.

The site is perhaps best known for its use as a heliport and to this day a large helicopter remains painted on the north side of the pavilion. Most recently, the future park was a temporary roadway for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to accommodate construction on the northbound FDR Drive. NYSDOT is currently finishing its work on the site and will create curbs and walls for this project.


QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

“A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.”

Phyllis McGinley
(1905 – 1978)

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