Summer 2001, p.4

Something's Rotten
East River Park Promenade Faces 2-Year Closure

Cyclists and pedestrians will miss this beautiful path if the likely 2-year closure takes place. Decayed wooden piers beneath the East River esplanade between Grand and 12th St. need $50 million in repairs.The DOT may have booted Fourth of July celebrants off a mile-long stretch of the East Side promenade, but replacing the wood supports under the promenade will cost cyclists, skaters, joggers and pedestrians up to three years of use.

Although the Parks Department earmarked $12 million last year to fix the south end of the promenade, work hadn't begun when DOT divers found severely rotting pilings holding up the 63-year-old structure. Fearing a collapse, officials immediately closed the dangerous area, from Grand St. to the Williamsburg Bridge. The esplanade runs along the East River Park, from Grand St. to 12th St. The park remains open. This setback is the latest blow to the city's efforts to build a multi-use path up the East Side, and ultimately around all of Manhattan's waterfront. Bigger problems include the refusal of the United Nations to allow the path on the riverside of its property and questions about other waterfront developments in Midtown.

Additionally, the absence of a mega-project into which the path can be incorporated - like the construction of Route 9A on the Hudson for instance - makes funding and planning the path much more difficult.

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