With the ongoing expansion and overall awesomeness of Hudson River Park, the East River waterfront has become more and more of an unsightly embarrassment. Total. Amateur. Hour. But all that is set to change, of course, with the long-promised and now actually happening(!) remake of over two miles of pavement and piers crawling up the Manhattan coast from Battery Park to the Lower East Side. Celebrate good times, c'mon! But not everyone is pumped for the city's plan. Nay, over the weekend a group of nine community organizations calling themselves the OUR Waterfront Coalition held a press conference to unveil their "People's Plan for the East River Waterfront," the results of a long "visioning process" that included town hall meetings and surveys of hundreds of Chinatown/LES residents. What's their beef?
The coalition argues that the city's Economic Development Corporation has "not sufficiently included community input in their plan," and that the northernmost section of the East River Waterfront reboot?the strip of piers and sheds just north of the Manhattan Bridge?"has the potential to exacerbate gentrification of the Lower East Side and Chinatown." That's a no-no in their book, and so the "People's Plan" includes recommendations from the group on how the "development can better meet the needs of current residents," basically by adding more low-cost recreational space and social services on the waterfront.
What really has the locals riled up is the impending construction of the new Basketball City on Pier 36, a for-profit athletic facility that is leasing the property from the city. The OUR Waterfront Coalition opposes Basketball City, but realizing that they're not likely to stop it, they designed two versions of the "People's Plan"?one with Dunksville (that's what we would've named Basketball City, fwiw) and one without. Check out the people's will in the photo gallery above.
· Valazquez, Community Groups Press City to Revise Waterfront Plan [The Lo-Down]
· FiDi/Chinatown/LES Waterfront Ready For Its Makeover [Curbed]