How Lower East Side coastal plan braces for climate change

Protesters urge the City Council to vote against a resiliency plan that would force East River Park to close for more than three years. (Photo by Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY)

This story was originally published on November 13, 2019 by THE CITY.

  By RACHEL HOLLIDAY SMITH, THE CITY

A transformational plan to fortify the Lower East Side waterfront against rising seas is poised to sail through a key vote this week.

On Thursday, the City Council is expected to OK the $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency project, or ESCR. The controversial plan already has gotten stamps of approval from a Council committee and subcommittee and has the backing of the three members whose districts touch the 2.4-mile affected zone.

Many locals have been weighing in on concepts for years, making Thursday’s vote a culmination of hard — and, often, frustrating — work. But the Council action will launch a huge, first-of-its-kind project for New York to prepare for rising sea levels and strong storms that climate change will bring.

Here’s a guide to what you should know about ESCR.

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City holds open house on East Side Coastal Resiliency

An open house on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project took place last week in Peter Cooper Village. (Pictured) A Stuyvesant Town resident, Lawrence Scheyer, speaks with a city representative. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents got another chance last week to provide feedback on the proposed East Side Coastal Resiliency project on Wednesday and Thursday during open houses in Peter Cooper Village.

Jeff Margolies, executive director for the office of intergovernmental and community relations at the Department of Design and Construction, said that the goal of the open houses was to present the overall project goals to residents and give residents the opportunity to ask questions.

“People can talk with talk with a lot of the city agencies involved in the project,” he said. “We have people here from the Parks Department, Department of Transportation, the Department of Buildings and a few others.”

A main concern for residents in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village is still regarding the structure that will be built on East 20th Street as part of the project, an interceptor gate building to help with drainage that would be constructed on the island near Avenue C on the southern side of the street.

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Ecological City Procession for Climate Solutions returns

Ecological City, a march with performances aimed at highlighting climate change, made its way through the East Village and Lower East Side on Saturday. (Photos by Rachel Elkind)

Environmental activists resembling aquatic creatures as well as land animals and other nature-inspired characters marched, danced and recited poetry as they made their way through the East Village and Lower East Side on Saturday.

The colorful costume parade was the second annual Ecological City Procession for Climate Solutions, organized by Earth Celebrations founder/director Felicia Young.

(Click through to see more photos from the procession)

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