Last we heard, work was scheduled to begin early next year for the transformation of Pier 42. The area just below East River Park will one day become a new recreational space overseen by the NYC Parks Department. In the meantime, community groups are trying to keep Pier 42 in the public eye. Their next event, a Halloween celebration, takes place this coming weekend.
The event coincides with the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. So Saturday’s waterfront festival is called, “Sandyween.” There will be a Halloween costume contest, a dance contest, face painting and a walking tour to learn about coastal flood protection (here’s info about the walking tour). You can stop by any time Saturday between noon and 4 p.m. The celebration is co-hosted by Paths to Pier 42, a coalition that advocates for waterfront resources; and LES Ready, the community organization created in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
East Side resiliency has been in the news this week. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote a piece for Wired that looked at the importance of strong communities in overcoming devastating natural disasters. Community-based organizations on the Lower East Side have won widespread praise for their quick response to Sandy. They were the real “first responders” in the hours and days after the big storm.
A multi-million dollar project is now underway to protect the neighborhoods along the East River with a series of berms and levees. Klinenberg was the research director for Rebuild by Design, the federal competition to come up with the best flood mitigation schemes. In the article, he touted the ultimate vision, which offered protection for vulnerable residents, but also focused on increasing their access to the waterfront. Here’s part of what he had to say:
The portion of the design proposed for the Lower East Side—which is, for now, the only funded part of the project—lines the waterfront with lushly planted berms that give pedestrians easier access to a slew of amenities on the water’s edge. The berms, which are 18.5 feet at their peak, absorb storm surges when necessary, but their everyday function is just as important: serving as parklands and recreational areas for people who live in an especially gray and unpleasant part of an especially gray city… (The plan) could get steered off course. Late-stage budget cuts could reduce the Lower East Side’s verdant berms to an ugly and imposing seawall, exactly the kind of project that Rebuild by Design was supposed to reject. But so far the plans have wide support from local and federal offices, and other cities around the world have taken notice.
You can read the full article here.