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MAS Testifies on East River Waterfront Greenway

con-ed plot, east river waterfront new york

On September 8, 2011, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and City Council Member Dan Garodnick held the second of three public hearings regarding the proposed United Nations Expansion Plan and development of the East River Waterfront Esplanade from East 38th to 60th Streets. To read MAS’ full testimony, click here.

MAS’ advocacy for this project is part of our longstanding commitment to open up access to the waterfront across the city and on the East Side in particular.

In July of 2011, we held a community charrette to generate ideas for a portion of the waterfront – the former Con Ed pier between East 38th Street and East 41st – and are working with Barbara Wilks and her firm W architecture to produce a report articulating principles for a new waterfront park.

The issue that was the topic of the hearing was the sale of a portion of Robert Moses Playground, which is located on First Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets, to the United Nations. Once the United Nations has ownership of the land, it will consolidate its office space in a new office tower on this site. This will in turn allow the City to sell UN Towers 1 & 2 which are currently occupied by the UN and dedicate a portion of the proceeds of that sale as well as the sale of the Robert Moses Playground to help close the gap in the East River Greenway from 38th to 60th Streets. Asser Levy Place, a street just east of First Avenue between West 23rd and West 25th Street, would be mapped as a park to compensate for the loss of open space on Robert Moses. All of this contingent on an agreement being reached by elected officials, the City, and UN by October 10th.

While MAS is always concerned with the loss of public park land, our testimony noted the potential for this transformative change to the waterfront and urged all those involved to take several items into consideration as the project moves forward. In particular, MAS suggested that the elected officials in close consultation with City carefully consider providing a replacement to Robert Moses Park in the surrounding neighborhood.

For more detail on the plan, visit East Side Open Space, a website created by the elected officials involved in the project to inform the community on its progress.