A “letter to The Lo-Down” from Lower East Side resident Joseph Hanania:
As an avid park user, may I propose expanding the East River Park, which will get even more use as SPURA gets developed?
The present green space controversy involves the size and siting of a small park south of the Williamsburg Bridge – which is a bit out of the way, and may not get used a heck of a lot. What if we could instead use those capital costs to expand the already widely used East River Park?
That expansion would entail building an overpass on top of the FDR Drive, from Corlears Hook Park to the Williamsburg Bridge. Two overpasses already exist in that area. How about if we greatly widened them to cover the highway from the bridge to the south end of Corlears Hook Park? This would make Corlears and East River Park contiguous, rather than two parks divided by a highway; while also adding park acreage over the six lane highway, and abating traffic noise for neighborhood residents and park users.
Carl Shultz Park on the Upper East Side has already incorporated this idea, with a highway overpass creating more riverside parkland and a pedestrian “boardwalk.”
Imagine what we could do with the additional space! We could create more ball fields, as well as walkways and gardens, and perhaps even have outdoor cafes like the ones in Central Park, and Riverside Park overlooking the river. Certainly, the added expanse would create a greater focal point for our neighborhood, while also reflecting Mayor Bloomberg’s priority of creating a ring of parks around Manhattan’s perimeter.
SPURA is moving forward. Creating a single, larger park like this could be part of the price of admission for developers – whose property value, incidentally, would rise with more available parkland.
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