Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Save the East River Park, Bury the Plan

Wendy says: "There will be more! And we are asking people to call their City Council Member this week - great #climateweek action. Ask for interim flood protection & a truly resilient East Side Coastal Resilience plan (http://www.mygovnyc.org/)
 so many friends and allies are part of this initiative. Pat Arnow Theodore Pender Fannie Ip Amy Berkov and follow the next steps at http://eastriverparkaction.org/ East River Park Action and East River Alliance"

New York takes shape through conflicts.
Giuliani vs sex workers and squeegee men.
Bloomberg vs regular people.
Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses,
Cars vs trees.
Gardeners vs developers.
Bottom up or top down plans.
People vs profits,
People power vs corporate shit.
Enter the hurricane,
well, the super storm that hit these shores seven years prior.
How would New York respond?
The community created a plan supporting natural systems.
With international acclaim.
Grown more trees.
Create natural flood plains.
Work with what we have.
Sustainable urbanism.
Over and over again, his policies support inequality,
furthering the divide he promised to bridge.
City Limits reports:
"VOCAL-NY held a protest Friday morning in front of the Brooklyn property, depicting it as illustrative of flaws with the mayor’s housing plan. “The mayor has consistently denied that he has not driven up rent prices,” said Joseph Loonam, housing campaign coordinator at VOCAL-NY, in an interview with City Limits. “These homes are not even for the middle class. They are for the upper class. We found the lottery on the city’s housing site and we have to shine a light on this. His so-called affordable plan is not affordable.”

And then there  were the plans his administration devised for East River Park:
“The plan calls for closing the 58-acre park for three and a half years, burying it beneath eight to 10 feet of landfill, and building a new park on top of it. The entire barrier would run 2.2 miles, from Montgomery Street to East 25th Street,” writes  John Tarlton, summarizing the conflict. “The battle over that plan is more than a fight over the future of a little-known gem of a park. It raises questions about how other major coastal cities will respond to an escalating global climate crisis and to whose benefit; the legacy of housing segregation; the conflicting priorities of top-down city planning and neighborhood-based concerns; the values we assign private automobiles and mass transit; and the hollowed-out state of democracy in a New York where “the tale of two cities” persists.”

Showing up at Tompkins Square Park, I . ran into Andrew again.
“You surviving,” I asked.
“That’s what  you always say.
I’m starting  to understand.”
Its probably doing  to come down to Carolina Rivera,
the Councilwoman for the 2nd district of the New York City Council, says Elissa.

Lets support natural systems, Wendy insists.
Take the car out of Carolina and put the river back in Rivera.

A woman stands holding a sign declaring:
“Phased demolition, equals phased construction.”

The de Blasio plan emphasizes cars over  sustainability,
Protecting cars instead of trees and green space.
But we’re past that.
We’re past combustion  engines and Robert Moses’ New York.
Must NYC always pit Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses?

“We have a plan  that  the community put together that would mitigate  the floods, without destroying the parks,” notes Howard Brandstein of  the Sixth Street  Community Center.

“The Universe gave us the  big bang.Money gave  us  climate change. And  the city gave us this fakakta plan,” notes Kila. “When people ask me what I did in this Trump era,  I’ll tell  em I tried to unfuck America.”
The community plan was to create a natural flood plain, not  a wall, supporting biodiversity, not more cars.
It was to preserve trees.
Not bulldoze them as the de Blasio plan emphasizes.
The Community Board Three passed a resolution calling for us all  to plan trees notes Wendy the next day at El Jardin Paraiso, standing at the Garbathia Project.
“The Garbagia Project's fourth cycle keeps expanding its horizons. This year, Garbagia: Hallucination Station explores re-envisioning of a new world. We continue to talk about climate change, cleaning our planet and reducing and reusing our beloved material and resource, GARBAGE. We search for better perceptions, invented states of mind and places as "enlightenment". Hallucination Station is our stage to portray the possibilities. Time is running out... How can we change our destructive ways? 'Garbagia' is the name artist Rolando Politi, of Bullet Space, gave to his vision back in the 90's of an alternative world made out of trash.
The future of the city involved countless forms of just  these  forms of renewal,  just this kind of regeneration, with lots of trees, lots and lots of trees.
As Al Gore writes:
“The farmers are using rotational grazing and planting trees and diverse cover crops to enrich soil and protect against erosion. And so far, the best available technology for pulling carbon dioxide from the air is something called a tree. That’s why many nations are starting ambitious tree planting efforts. Ethiopia recently reported planting 353 million trees in 12 hours, nearly double the goal of 200 million.”
The world needs more trees,  not less.
The future of the world depends on it.
The future of our  city depends on it.
Everyone is looking to New  York says Wendy.
We need to do the right thing.
Certainly Greta is.
She spoke to the UN  Monday:
 “We’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean. You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is the money and fairytales of economic growth. How dare you!”
“You say you hear us and you understand the urgency. But no Matter how sad and angry I am I do not want to believe that because if you really understood the situation and kept on failing to act then you would be evil and that I refuse to believe.
“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in ten years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius] and the risk of setting [off] irreversible chain reactions beyond human control. 50% may be acceptable to you, but those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic pollution or aspects of equity or climate justice. That also relies on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exists. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us, we who have to live with the consequences.
“How dare you pretend that this be solved with ‘business as usual’ and some ‘technical’ solutions.
“You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young children are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you! We won’t let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming whether you like it or not.”
As I was finishing this blog I got this message:
21 hrs
🚨🚨🚨 City Planning Commission voted yes to approve the ESCR project!!!
The city is killing itself.
Felicia Young shared a post.
“City Planning Commission on September 23, 2019 voted to destroy the East River Park
mature trees, plantings, architectural features - everything
- and bring in landfill to raise shoreline with a hard edge seawall -
rather than the initial flood protection plan the community helped develop with a rolling hillside seawall berm -
- a plan that would not destroy the entire park.
The City aims to close the East River Park in entirety throughout construction for 3 1/2 years plus - denying an entire generation of youth and residents park and waterfront access.”
I think  there is a lot we can still learn from  the trees. 
“Earth may be alive: not as the  ancients saw her – a sentient Goddess with a purpose and foresight – but alive like a tree.  A tree that quietly exists, never moving except in the wind, yet endlessly conversing with the sunlight and the soil.   Using  sunlight and water  and nutrient minerals to grow and change.  But all done so imperceptibly, that to me the old oak tree on the green is the same as I was when I was a child.”
-James Lovelock.
Countless kids marched with Lorax signs Friday, wondering,  who will speak for the trees?
I hope we  can learn from them, before its too  late.  

Felicia Young shared a link.
"Let us not forget this other De Blasio plan proposal for filling in the East River with a wide sea wall - land fill in the river - that conveniently accommodates waterfront luxury development.
So think about it—— destroy the park - take away open space, recreation and waterfront access for an entire generation of youth —- make noise and contaminated dust and drive low income people out of the area— run out of money with park and neighborhood held hostage as timeline for construction drags on —— city finds solution to complete by building luxury towers over a decked FDR or extension of land fill De Blasio has proposed ...... just conjecture."

To Save East River Park, the City Intends to Bury It

The crowd at the recent meeting of Community Board 3 was agitated. Vaylateena Jones, a 50-year Lower East Side resident and board official, was especially vocal. “The way this planning is being done is disempowering,” she said. “City officials collaborated with us over four years and came up with a detailed design — only to now return with this entirely new design. Do our voices even matter?”
The topic was the future of East River Park. Once a derelict waterfront space, it had been restored, over 10 years, with well-lit ball fields, children’s fountains and a serpentine esplanade featuring a large sink for fishermen to clean their catch. Then Hurricane Sandy deluged the park, swamping F.D.R. Drive and Lower East Side.
The city’s latest plan to protect from future flooding called for burying the park under eight to 10 feet of landfill, and starting over. This was not the original plan, and that’s what had locals upset.

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