On Sunday, a group of city officials and East Side electeds made their case for a deal to close the gap in the East River Greenway, addressing a full auditorium at the Schottenstein Cultural Center on East 34th Street. The deal has several moving parts, but the major takeaway was that the Bloomberg administration and a large group of legislators want to make the greenway happen.
Currently there is no greenway between 60th and 37th Streets -- a huge gap around the United Nations campus that forces cyclists on the East Side into some of the most harrowing traffic in the city. The linchpin of the deal unveiled Sunday involves trading city land for U.N. financial support to build the greenway connector.
The city would sell the western part of Robert Moses Playground, a rectangle of asphalt at the corner of 41st and First Avenue. An area that attracts occasional recreational use would be annexed. Space used for a dog run, handball and basketball courts would not be touched. In turn, the U.N. would pay the city $150 million, mainly for the right to construct a new building the same height as the current U.N. tower. The funding would be used to complete the East River waterfront esplanade and plug the greenway gap.
A succession of local electeds spoke in favor of the deal, including State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, City Council Member Daniel Garodnick, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who told the crowd, “I want to ride my bike there.”
The details of the plan were fleshed out by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Madelyn Wils of the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Read more...