Local officials gathered along the East River this morning to announce they have set aside $7 million to develop a beach and park under the Brooklyn Bridge.
The proposal was initially detailed in the East River Blueway plan, a joint visioning exercise conducted by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and many community groups. The 11,000 square foot area, currently inaccessible, will include sand, seating, a walkway and concessions.
Half of the money for the project is coming from the City Council; the other half from Stringer. Council Speaker Christine Quinn (a mayoral candidate) and Stringer (a candidate for city comptroller) were front and center at today’s media event on the esplanade.
In addition to the Brooklyn Bridge beach, there’s a separate plan to create a kayak and canoe launch in Stuyvesant Cove, between East 18th and East 23rd streets. According to Council member Dan Garodnick, “the Stuyvesant cove boat launch will give East siders a new low-maintenance way to engage with their waterfront.”
Superstorm Sandy definitely influenced the design of the new waterfront area. The new park will be built for storm resiliency with salt marsh planters, wetlands, ripraps, reef balls and wave attenuation walls. Stringer
While the new beach will give residents waterfront access, it will be a long while before people are encouraged to go swimming in the East River. As the Daily News noted this morning, officials hope that some day wading pools can be created, utilizing treated water. But that part of the vision is unfunded. The beach project is expected to take about three years.