by Isabel Song Beer, published 11/30

The New York City Parks Department (NYC Parks) cut the ribbon Tuesday on a new $26 million waterfront area on the city’s Lower East Side.

The new area, a recreation deck at Pier 42, is an ESCR mitigation project and features a 2.3-acre deck space with a turf soccer field, tennis courts, half-basketball courts and other amenities.

Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue was joined at the Nov. 29 ceremony by many supporters of the project, including Dan Ciniello, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation president, EDC Executive Vice President Liz Arnaiz, DDC First Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Christopher Marte, Manhattan Community Board 3 Chair Paul Rangel, Frank Avila-Goldman, president of Gouverneur Gardens, Nancy Ortiz, Vladeck Houses Residents Association president and community members

“The opening of the deck at Pier 42’s new waterfront space—an ESCR mitigation project promise kept—includes recreational amenities from fields to ADA accessible picnic tables, ensuring that the Lower East Side residents have even more access to our parks,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue on Nov. 30. “It’s wonderful to celebrate this new open space that is sure to be as utilized and beloved as it is breathtaking.” 

The $26.1 million in funding came from a partnership with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation as well as Mayoral and NYC Parks expense funding.

“Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is proud to partner with the New York City Parks Department, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, public officials and local residents on this important project,” said Lower Manhattan Development Corporation President Daniel A. Ciniello. “The collective effort to revitalize Pier 42 demonstrates LMDC’s broader, ongoing mission of creating a dynamic live/work – and play – community in Lower Manhattan that adds to the vibrancy of New York.”

In addition to the recreation deck, NYC Parks with input from Lower East Side community members, is completing another Pier 42 project with an upland park section due to be completed in the summer of 2023. The park will feature green spaces, an entry garden, playground and comfort station. 

These two projects are a combined $60 million investment for Lower East Side communities, granting residents more direct and expanded waterfront access.

“I am thrilled to mark the opening of the new recreational deck at Pier 42, which will bring much needed green space to the Lower East Side,” said City Council Member Carlina Rivera. “The former industrial site was redeveloped in connection to the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project that will protect recreational space for New York families for generations to come. I applaud the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Department of Parks and Recreation for their continued commitment to our community and making the waterfront more accessible.”  

The Pier 42 projects are also part of the city’s coastal resiliency project which aims to protect neighborhoods and city spaces from any future storm-related damage, following Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“New York City’s comprehensive approach to coastal resiliency is protecting neighborhoods from flooding while also creating new recreation areas and better waterfront access in East River communities,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “Pier 42 sits at the nexus of two major DDC projects – East Side Coastal Resiliency and Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resiliency – which together will form a 3.2-mile flexible flood barrier protecting more than 150,000 residents in this low-lying and vulnerable area, many of whom are in public housing that was severely affected by Superstorm Sandy. Instead of just building walls, DDC, NYC Parks and other City agencies have taken this opportunity to transform the coastline as well with better access for residents and visitors.”

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