Five Years Delayed, ‘Package 4’ of East River Esplanade Finally Ready to Proceed
The war of attention between the city agencies is finally over. Package 4 of the East River Esplanade, already delayed five years, is ready to proceed. Gears are in motion to beautify the stretch of waterfront between Catherine Street and Pike Slip.
In the end, it was a single, century-old length of subterranean piping that caused myriad delays in completing the ribbon of parkland. You see, DEP claimed that water mains beneath the FDR overpass don’t allow surface upgrades fifteen feet on either side. The city agency refused to upgrade/relocate the infrastructure – it’s in “good shape” for at least twenty to thirty years – despite previous assurances to the contrary to EDC and the community.
Well, reps from both bureaus informed Community Board 3 last night that it’s all water under the bridge. Literally. DEP “relaxed its restrictions” and gave the all clear to proceed with the procurement of elements for Package 4. Shit, it only took five years.
The initial proposal as it was conceived in 2012 remains largely intact, though. Design elements include swing seating (aka “gliders”), riverside balconies over the water (“Fish Outs”), excercise equipment, and enclosed turf play area. Amenities nixed from the plan were the skate park, some tables and chairs, and terraced seating. Hunter Roberts is managing the project, the same crew behind equally futile Pier 35 just up the coast.
Said procurement process will take a couple months, with official ground-break expected for sometime next summer. They say construction will last a year, but we locals know better; more like plus-or-minus three years.