Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Save East River Park, Lockdown in the Park. #SaveEastRiverPark


Lockdown at City Hall Park to save the trees.@speakercoreyjohnson #holdahearing #saveeastriverpark

We started getting flyers a few days ago. 

JK passed a few out during the Sustainable Urbanism talk on Saturday.

Everyone met at 7 AM in City Hall Park, with a simple message:

Speaker Johnson hold an oversite hearing over the fate of East River Park.

The community had a plan that protected the trees, supporting biodiversity, and resilience.

And then that disappeared.  The current plan is to cut down a hundred mature trees. 

Hold an oversite hearing on the destruction of this beloved park and a hundred trees.

Go back to the community plan, by Rebuild by Design.

At a time when the world is in flux, we know trees fight climate change:

According to the Arbor Day Foundation:

As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits to us, every day. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities.

As Norman Siegel said on Sunday at the rally for Elizabeth Street Garden, we need every tree in the fight against climate change.  70% of NYC is concrete, which cannot absorb water.  We need trees and parks to absorb water and carbon.

For open space equity, for mental health, for the climate, save East River Park, declared activists.

We’ve rallied; we’ve written letters. And today, two locked themselves to tree just outside city hall, a few feet from the steps inside.

Hold an oversite hearing, they demanded. 

Save our park, save the trees.

Save the city.

According to Sixth Street Community Center:

“The park has long been the oasis for our extremely diverse Lower East Side Community.
Many residents consider a loss of the park as an essential loss to their quality of life and well being. The demolition of the East River Park is a climate justice issue, as it will inequitably cut off access to 58 acres of green space. Demolishing the park would cut down almost 1000 mature trees, and destroy the biodiversity that currently exists there. This includes 82 bird species, 96 insect species, and more than 200 plant species. If you are familiar with this climate justice fight, you may have already read about the City’s plan to bulldoze the entire East River Park in the August issue of the Indypendent. The community in collaboration with Rebuild By Design developed an earlier plan which was more reflective of our diverse community and our diverse needs. The community plan was more comprehensive in providing flood protection without destroying the entire park. This community plan was fully trashed by the city and they are now planning to bring in the bulldozers …. But together we can stop this misguided and destructive scheme. The park would be closed for a minimum of 3.5 years, but given the city’s track record of projects in the past— the community is concerned that this timeline isn’t realistic given the size of the proposed project and that the park will be closed for much, much longer. During those years of closure, there will be no access to playing fields, no family picnics, and gatherings, no trees, no plants, and no animals……make sure that the city rebuilds our park in a way that addresses temporary and long-term flood protection, park preservation and climate justice.


§  We want true independent experts to assess the City’s plan, including the impact of destroying 60 acres of land on nature and people!
§  We want the City to revisit the options preferred by the community and to re-envision the FDR Drive now: Build the flood wall in or along the FDR Drive, expand our park with decking over the FDR and have dedicated bus lanes for non-polluting electric buses!” 

"Activists chained themselves around a tree at City Hall Park on September 28, 2021 demanding City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to hold an immediate Oversight Hearing on the destruction of the East River Park. Activists and residents are trying to protect the 1000 mature trees in East River Park now set for demolition. The system plans to make more room for cars and cement, but underestimates the value of the natural resources, which cool the climate, hold precious water, and provide habitat for innumerable creatures, herbs, and flowers." (Photo and caption by Erik McGregor)

Elissa Jiji noted, "Rolled up late to an early morning gathering outside City Hall, to join neighbors demanding that Speaker Corey Johnson grant permission for CMs Gennaro and Brannan to hold their oversight hearing on the plan to raze East River Park (whew, that's a mouthful!) There are so many unanswered questions resulting from the city's swticheroo three years ago, when the prior resiliency plan was scrapped and the project ballooned to 1.45b on some flimsy-sounding justifications. Meanwhile, Johnson has apparently been in MA all summer. If he needs time to tend to his own wellbeing, that's fine; he should take leave and have someone else take over for the rest of his term."

No comments:

Post a Comment