By Sabina Mollot
A sinkhole that appeared earlier in the month has grown even larger as the ground continues to ripple on the bike lane at East 23rd Street and the FDR Drive.
The sinkhole was reported to 311 on July 5 by Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association, when she spotted it. But as of Wednesday, July 19 in the morning, it was still there, and, from what she’s observed, stretched into a yawning concrete chasm.
“A rapidly progressing collapse of the pedestrian-bike path in front of the 23rd Street Marina is happening and urgently needs to be attended to,” Handal said in an email.
Handal noted that while part of the sink hole is barricaded off by a few orange cones and caution tape, currently the deepest area is not roped off. This may be due to the movement of the sinkhole, which is near some large, decorative boulders lining Stuyvesant Cove Park.
“It now appears that these areas are also showing the first signs of collapse with indentations and broken asphalt around these other rocks,” Handal said. “The weekend is near and, with it, the hundreds of additional people for the party boats will be there (at the marina). Because they mill about this area waiting for to board the boats, the weight load on the area will be dramatically increased and will further stress the roadway.”
Handal added that her 311 complaint, made via the 311 app, was updated on July 11, with a note that it had been referred to an inspection unit for further action. Meanwhile she said, the hole is now about three feet deep and cyclists have been stopping short to avoid it.
Town & Village reached out to the Department of Transportation, and a spokesperson referred matters regarding sinkholes to the Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP did not respond by T&V’s press time. The DOT responded to Handal’s email to say the agency was aware of the road condition. We also contacted the NYPD, where a spokesperson said it was a matter for the DOT.
Council Member Dan Garodnick, however, said he was “urgently” reaching out to the relevant agencies. “This is a significant collapse and we will get the city’s attention on this,” he stated on Wednesday.
Update on July 20: A spokesperson for the DEP got back to us to say the problem had come from a broken private pipe in the nearby Skyport garage, and the garage has since been ordered to fix the problem. This includes fixing the sinkhole.
Meanwhile, Handal went back to the scene around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night to find a team from the DEP and DOT there, with the sinkhole completely barricaded.