The 1.5 acre stretch of open space, to be completed by 2022, is part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway initiative to create continuous loop around perimeter of Manhattan. On November 22, 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio and top agency officials celebrated the commencement of construction of a new waterfront public open space, the East Midtown Greenway, which will stretch between East 53rd Street to East 61st Street. The East Midtown Greenway project is a piece of a larger project, Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The Manhattan Greenway Project’s goal is to create accessible public waterfront space and safe bicycle pathways along the outer edge of Manhattan.
The East Midtown Greenway will be the first major waterfront gap in Manhattan filled since the Riverwalk in Riverside Park opened in 2010. In 2018, the Mayor announced $250 million in investments to close the remaining gaps in 32 miles of Manhattan waterfront esplanade, starting with stretches in Inwood, Harlem, East Harlem, and Midtown Manhattan. Filling in these spaces will connect communities to their waterfront and add about 15 acres of quality open space, while integrating the Greenway into surrounding neighborhoods.
The project will address the historic lack of connection between East Midtown communities and the eastern waterfront by creating a continuous, forty-foot wide esplanade over the water parallel to FDR Drive. The esplanade will allow pedestrians and cyclists to experience water on both sides.
Further, the East 53rd Street entrance will include a widened area with space for environmental programming and an art installation created by Stacy Levy. The installation was selected through the public procurement process in 2018. The project will extend to Andrew Haswell Green Park. The Park will be renovated to include a new ADA-accessible pedestrian bridge.
The project is estimated to cost $100 million for 1.5 acres of new waterfront park space. The project completion date is projected for 2022. Once open, the NYC Parks Department will maintain the new waterfront space.
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been stated, “The East Midtown Greenway reflects our commitment to ensuring that New Yorkers of all ages and abilities can access beautiful open spaces. Connected by an ADA-accessible bridge, the Greenway will provide all pedestrians and cyclists with a safe and enjoyable pathway along our iconic waterfront. “
NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett stated, “Creating a continuous loop of public open space around the perimeter of Manhattan is key to enhancing quality of life for all New Yorkers by allowing use of the waterfront for enjoyment and safe travel. We are proud to be celebrating today’s progress on the East Midtown Greenway and thank all of our partners for their continued support for this important initiative.”
By: Laine Vitkevich (Laine is a CityLaw Intern and New York Law School Student, Class of 2020.)