Rep. Maloney Seeks Urgent Repairs to the East River Esplanade and Urges NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to Continue Full Inspection of Deterioration of the Esplanade
NEW YORK, NY — Following the collapse of a pathway along the East River Esplanade and numerous concerns from New Yorkers, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) is formally requesting that New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver open a full inspection of the structural integrity of the East River Esplanade.
The Congresswoman issued the following statement after a call today with Commissioner Silver in which he echoed the importance of completing the inspection and making repairs in a timely manner. The Commissioner committed to begin repairs on 76th Street sinkhole within two weeks and complete them as quickly as possible.
“Like many NY-12 residents and members of Community Board 8, I was disturbed to see a sinkhole erupt in the middle of a busy pathway along the East River Esplanade. Not only has this sinkhole prevented New Yorkers from accessing this precious green space, but it has also forced cyclists and pedestrians to share narrow patches of pavement — creating a dangerous bottleneck. I thank Commissioner Silver for taking the time to speak with me about such a critical issue and committing to complete this inspection into the structural integrity of the esplanade. As the Founder and Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Task Force, I remain committed to improving the esplanade and providing much-needed repairs. NYC Parks are integral to the well-being of our city, and we must ensure that they continue to be safe and accessible for all New Yorkers."
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 her letter today to Commissioner Silver, the Congresswoman calls for a full and complete inspection of the East River Esplanade following the eruption of a sinkhole on 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.
A PDF of the letter to NYC Park Commissioner is available here and the full text below.
Dear Commissioner Silver,
I am writing to you regarding concerns about the structural integrity of the East River Esplanade. As I am sure you are aware, on July 20, 2020, a portion of the East River Esplanade at 77th Street collapsed. I am told by members of Community Board 8 that this collapse occurred after many residents had expressed concerns over the worrisome conditions on the esplanade. I understand that several additional portions of the esplanade have been closed off due to safety concerns, including at East 101st Street and East 93rd Street, forcing cyclists and pedestrians to share narrow patches of pavement in these dangerous bottlenecks when using the esplanade.
During this time of social distancing with the closure of the city’s theatres, businesses, and museums, New York City’s parks carry a new importance. They provide necessary relief to the millions of New Yorkers spending their days working from home in small apartments. They are an outlet for socialization that we do not otherwise have during this incredibly trying time. Ensuring that our parks are safe and accessible is integral to the well-being of our city.
As such, I am reiterating Community Board 8’s request for a full inspection of the East River Esplanade from 125th Street to 59th Street to ensure the structural integrity of the esplanade. I am also asking that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation commit to attending a virtual meeting with the East River Esplanade Task Force as soon as possible to discuss these deteriorating conditions and the City’s plans to address them.