As Another Section of East River Esplanade Nears Groundbreak, Locals Push to Keep the Skateboarders Out

Posted on: May 18th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
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Already three years behind schedule, the so-called “Package 4” of the East River Esplanade is back on track. Severe delays were reportedly much ado about archaic infrastructure beneath South Street and the lack of dry subterranean space, according to the Economic Development Corporation.

City officials provided a status update to Community Board 3 last week on the ribbon of parkline between Catherine Street and Pike Slip. Most specifically, that EDC has finally reached an accord with the Department of Environmental Protection over a steel replacement water main for the 100 year-old pipe currently there. (This was also reportedly the cause for delay behind Pier 35.)

All original components of the proposal are intact three years later; the presentation was nearly identical. Design elements include swing seating (aka “gliders”), riverside balconies over the water (“Fish Outs”), bleacher seating, excercise equipment, enclosed turf play area, and a skatepark designed by California Skateparks.

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Welding the clips keeps skateboarders out

The latter was a lightning rod issue, as before. Loud and clear was the backlash to the mini skate park. EDC fielded a cascade of opposition from both neighbors and CB3. Basically, they didn’t want an added enticement for skaters to descend and destroy the park amenities. The battle is nothing new, though. Locals have been fighting this for years, mainly near the Pier 35 essplanade. The city ultimately moved to weld obstructions onto the surfaces to deter grinding (previous stoppers were removed).

Opponents also noted the redundancy of the skate space given the close proximity of Coleman Skatepark two blocks north.

Moreoever, the community voiced its frustrations with the exercise equipment that’s already in play near Rutgers Street. Those units broke six months after installation, and neighbors demanded gear that matched the heavy usage.

For its part, EDC was receptive to removing the skatepark altogether and replacing with simple open pavillion space. Ideas were floated to perhaps utilize that spot for a playground or children’s area, but that was nixed. The reason being that adding any additional design elements would significantly delay the project even further.

Timetable for Package 4 implementation is ground-break by the end of this year, with an anticipated 2017 debut.

East River Waterfront Esplanade Package 4 by BoweryBoogie

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