BY THE VILLAGE SUN | These opponents are resilient.
Plaintiffs in a community lawsuit to stop the East Side Coastal Resiliency project lost a heartbreaking decision at State Supreme Court last Thursday, but they are now planning to appeal.
Village attorney Arthur Schwartz is representing the plaintiffs, which include East River Park ACTION, the Orchard St. Block Association, Washington Square Eco Park Projects, New York Climate Action Group and scores of individual plaintiffs.
Justice Melissa Crane last week ruled against the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order to block the start of the mega-project.
Schwartz said there was a meeting Saturday following the court decision at which the plaintiffs agreed to proceed with an appeal.
“We’ve got to try to do it quick,” he said.
The massive project could possibly start within weeks — though there hasn’t been any discernible movement on it yet, Schwartz said.
The $1.45 billion flood-mitigation plan calls for closing the 47-acre East River Park in phases, burying it beneath 8 to 9 feet of landfill, and then building a new park on top of it. The entire barrier would run 2.2 miles, from Montgomery St. to E. 25th St.
Voicing the incredulity of many locals, Schwartz said it’s unfathomable that the city would really try to close and demolish East River Park during the global coronavirus pandemic, when open space for social distancing in Downtown Manhattan is at an all-time premium right now.
“It’s bizarre,” he said. “We’re in a period when you have streets closing and more and more bike paths, and you are going to close down one of the biggest parks in Manhattan.”
Schwartz was referring to the city blocking off streets under its COVID-inspired Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs, for social distancing and outdoor dining, plus for school use, along with beefing up bike paths as more New Yorkers are bicycle commuting due to fear of the virus.