Rep. Maloney, Elected Officials, Community Leaders Applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Parks Department for $284 Million East River Esplanade Repairs Commitment

Jan 31, 2021
Press Release

New York, NY – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Founder and Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Task Force, joined local elected officials and community leaders to applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver’s $284 million commitment for East River Esplanade repairs. The East River Esplanade has endured a series of sinkhole collapses and disrepair issues that the Congresswoman has worked to address in concert with city officials.

 

“With New Yorkers doing our part to mask up and social distance to prevent the spread the COVID-19, our open, outdoor spaces have become an even more precious commodity – and one that we cannot take for granted,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12). “The East River Esplanade has provided space for children to play, for athletes to bike and run, and a respite for New Yorkers stuck indoors. Even before COVID, those of us on the Upper East Side and in East Harlem felt the strain of living with some of the least park space per capita in the City. Now, with sections of the Esplanade fenced off due to sinkholes and other unsafe conditions, we have even less outdoor space. That is why the $284 million that the Mayor and Parks Department have committed to Esplanade repairs is so important.”

 

"Today we are proud to announce the planned transformation and revitalization of the East Harlem portion of the esplanade to fully realize the esplanade's potential," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "The announcement of the Mayor's multimillion-dollar investment will improve the quality of life of East Harlem and contributes to the greening of the waterfront on the island of Manhattan. I commend Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Council Member Ben Kallos, co-chairs of the East River Esplanade Task Force for their leadership on this issue, and Mayor de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver for their commitment to repairing the East River Esplanade."

 

“The restoration of the East River Esplanade and a new Pier 107 will finally arrive for the people of East Harlem. This is tremendously good news - as we’ve seen waterfronts across the city become beloved and open greenspaces, East Harlem will no longer remain in the dark about the future of its one and only Pier. Instead, East Harlemnites are assured that their working-class community is as deserving of a beautiful waterfront as anywhere else.

 

“I’m grateful for Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to address the environmental inequities that has kept so much green space away from our communities — and this couldn’t have been possible without all of the hard work and support from Congresswoman Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Friends of the East River Esplanade, and our City Council and State colleagues. The new Pier 107, surrounded by a new waterfront, will stand for generations,” said Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez.

 

"An investment in the East River Esplanade is an investment in our neighborhood's future," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "After years of working and pushing to get additional funding to rehabilitate our beloved riverside space alongside Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and the East River Esplanade Taskforce we have finally secured the funds to fix dozens of blocks beginning in the east 90s all the way up through the east 120s. Once the area is restored it will be a huge benefit to residents who will be able to enjoy this beautiful natural resource once again. Thank you to Assembly Member Rodiguez and Council Member Ayala for the work they have done in pushing for this and to Mayor de Blasio for setting the money aside and making this a priority."

 

"Manhattan Community Board 8 is thrilled to join our esteemed elected leaders and waterfront advocates in celebrating the $284 million investment in the East River Esplanade,” said Russell Squire, Community Board 8 Chair and Tricia Shimamura, Community Board 8 First Vice Chair and Parks and Waterfront Committee Co-Chair. “The Esplanade is more than just open space for our community- it is a critical piece of waterfront infrastructure that protects our residents, schools, hospitals, and FDR drive. Now more than ever, the preservation of our open spaces is crucial, and we applaud the City for making this critical investment. We look forward to continuing to work with our elected officials and fellow advocates for the future of our waterfront."

 

"EsplanadeFriends is thrilled and exceedingly grateful that after a decade of advocacy and visioning for the El Barrio waterfront and Pier 107, our dream of a reimagined East Harlem esplanade is a giant step closer to reality! The children of the community—and we hope generations to come—will treasure the true joy of fun along the East River,” said Jennifer Ratner, Founder and Board Chair, Friends of the East River Esplanade. “On behalf of the thousands of people who bike, run, walk, and fish along this waterfront: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to Mayor de Blasio. And extreme gratitude to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for spearheading the East River Esplanade Task Force for so many years. We also appreciate the efforts of a long, long list of other elected officials and community groups who have advocated alongside us. Persistence is bearing fruit—the surprise and delight of a new pier and, importantly, equity for East Harlem green space.”

 

 “The corrosion of the esplanade has been an eyesore for years.  People of all walks of life utilize it as a way to reflect, exercise and simply find a sense of tranquility,” said Saundrea I. Coleman, Co-Founder of the Holmes-Isaacs Coalition and Community Board 8 member. “It is my hope that our treasured waterfronts will never be subjected to this chronic neglect again.  I am delighted to know that this revitalization is about to take place.”

 

"As a life long Upper Eastside resident it pained me to see the disrepair that fell upon the esplanade,” said La Keesha TaylorCo-Founder of the Holmes-Isaacs Coalition. “This was a place my parents would take me as a child but I was too afraid to use it with my own children.  As I watched the esplanade below 92nd Street get redeveloped.....we waited years and wondered when our turn would come! Without the dogged determination of our public officials this project would still be on the back burner!”

 

 

Background

Congresswoman Maloney founded the East River Esplanade Task Force in 2010 with former Council Member Jessica Lappin and now serves as the Co-Chair alongside Council Member Ben Kallos. 

 

In 2019, she proudly joined Mayor De Blasio, Borough President Gale Brewer, and Council Member Ben Kallos to announce $198 million in funding for ongoing repairs for the East River Esplanade. 

 

In an August 3 letter, she wrote to Commissioner Silver calling for a full and complete inspection of the East River Esplanade following the sudden collapse of portions of the promenade resulting in a dangerous sinkhole at East 76th Street in mid-July. The Congresswoman also requested that the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation attend a virtual meeting with the East River Esplanade Task Force to create a plan for how the City can best address esplanade decay. 

 

In October, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation completed the East 76th Street sinkhole repair. 

 

###