East River Park Progress: June Reopening? We’ll See!

East River Park, late February 2012.

Last week – in our story about the new community visioning for a park at Pier 42 – we mentioned the troubled reconstruction of East River Park. More than a decade after it was declared unsafe and closed, a final stretch below the Williamsburg Bridge remains unfinished.

City officials have missed countless deadlines.  For months the Parks Department web site has proclaimed the project would be finished in the fall of 2011. In October of last year, a Parks Department spokesman told us all of the work would be done by the time 2011 drew to a close. One TLD reader promised he’d “swim to Williamsburg” if that happened.

At a Community Board 3 meeting, Parks Department officials predicated a new opening date: summer of 2012.  While no one on the Lower East Side should be holding their breath for the ribbon cutting ceremony, it does look like significant progress has been made. Most of the paving appears to be complete. There still is a lot of planting to be done, though. Click through for more photos.

After Four Month Lull, SPURA Debate Heats Up Again Next Week

Seward Park redevelopment area.

In the past few months, there hasn’t been much news to report about the Seward Park redevelopment project (SPURA), but the lull is about to come to an end.  Next Wednesday, March 8, city officials will return to Community Board 3’s land use committee to detail the next phase in the public planning process.

The 7-acre site adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge is slated to become a mixed-use complex featuring new apartments, retail, community facilities and a small park.  As you may know,  CB3 has approved general guidelines for the big project and an environmental review is underway.

During the upcoming meeting, city planners will present the outlines of a draft ULURP (land use public review) application. They will also show community board members and residents “illustrative site plan drawings” and spell out “land use actions” recommended as the project moves forward.  In the past, there’s been talk about shifting air rights among two or more development parcels.

After Last Week’s Fire, Silver Urges NYCHA to Fix Gas Outage at Smith Houses

Firefighters rescued residents from the Smith Houses last week.

One week ago, residents of the Smith Houses were displaced when a fire broke out in an eighth floor apartment at 388 Pearl Street.  In the days that followed, people living in the large public housing development have contended with persistent gas outages. 159 apartments are without service.

This morning we’ve received a copy of a letter State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sent to John Rhea, head of the NYC Housing Authority, about the situation. 

Weekend Kids’ Pick

Pushcart Story Time - photo via Pushcart Coffee's Facebook Page

On Sundays at 4pm, Pushcart Coffee is hosting a storytime for kids. The perfect post-nap, pre-dinner family activity, featuring healthy snacks and delicious treats for kids and adults. Pushcart Coffee is at 221 East Broadway (at Clinton).

For more family friendly events and activities, please visit our kids page.


Morning Reads: Liu Under Siege, NYU Head Dismisses Critics, Chabad on the Bowery

  • John Liu tries to conduct “business as usual” but political insiders agree his mayoral hopes have all but evaporated (Capital NY).
  • City Council members, including our own Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, push the NYPD to end “stop-and-frisk” policy (WNYC).
  • NYU’s President thinks only a small minority of people in the neighborhood oppose the school’s aggressive expansion plans (The Local EV).
  • Dan O’Connor, a long-shot candidate running against Rep. Nydia Velazquez, says his campaign polling is “very favorable” but he won’t release the results (Observer).
  • Another look at the new Chabad House on the Bowery, serving NYU students (Chabad.org).


Good Morning!

East Broadway - FiDi Skyline

Photo by Joel Raskin.

More rain this morning, then clearing in the afternoon and a high of 44.