REBUILDING MANAHATTA

Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 9:52am
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Imagine fresh, green wetlands at the shores of Manhattan. Picture them at the end of East 14th Street and at the East River shoreline between Rutgers Slip and the Brooklyn Bridge. If Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has his way, this is not just a vision of the past, but of the future.

New wetlands and other ecological improvements and infrastructure projects, such as enhancing the neglected beach under the Brooklyn Bridge and a new Eco Dock at Stuyvesant Cove, are part of Mr. Stringer's plan to revitalize and protect Manhattan's East River waterfront.

"Our goal," Mr. Stringer said in his State of the Borough address on February 7, "was to redesign an often forgotten stretch of our precious East Side waterfront, from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 38th Street. We wanted to open up the long-neglected area, creating parks, beachfront access and other amenities that would bring people closer to the water. But we also knew that we had to protect this low-lying area from the next catastrophic storm."

Mr. Stringer's plan, developed with State Assembly member Brian Kavanagh and by WXY Architecture and Urban Design studio, calls for natural beaches along the shoreline, wetlands to filter stormwater runoff, and more. It builds on years of community meetings as well as input from other elected officials, state and city government agencies, design firms and more than 40 community-based organizations such as settlement houses, tenant associations, environmental groups, waterfront advocates, neighborhood associations, local schools and hospitals. It expands on plans put forth by government agencies for the East River, notably the NYC Economic Development Corporation's East River Waterfront Esplanade plan and the Bloomberg Administration's Vision 2020 NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. "This is a roadmap to recovery built by the community and for the community," said Mr. Stringer.

While the Borough President has allocated $3.5 million toward construction of East River wetlands, other proposals in his plan are not funded.

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