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Hot action at East River Park tennis courts as golf carts are torched

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Passions have been flaring over the city’s contentious plan to bulldoze East River Park for an anti-flooding project. Last Friday evening, a pair of golf carts in the park also flared.

Around 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 12, flames were seen shooting into the sky as the two mini-vehicles, parked on the tennis courts at the Brian Watkins Tennis Center, were consumed by a raging orange blaze.

“Phased work operations” for E.S.C.R. began Nov. 1 but are now blocked by a court-issued restraining order. (Photo by The Village Sun)

The burned-out golf carts still sat on the courts on Sunday afternoon.

A video of the incident was posted on the Citizen app. Police did not issue a media report on the incident and, apparently, no arrests have been made in connection with it.

Two Vehicles on Fire @CitizenApp

FDR Dr N & Williamsburg Brg Nov 12 11:29:23 PM EST

Pending an Appellate Division court decision on an appeal on a community lawsuit, a temporary restraining order remains in effect halting any work in East River Park for the planned East Side Coastal Resiliency project. The city’s embattled $1.3 billion plan would destroy the entire 60-acre East Village/Lower East Side waterfront park and its nearly 1,000 trees in order to raise the park 8 feet to 10 feet above the floodplain.

Opponents of the city’s resiliency plan had taped up the restraining order on the cardboard sign on the tennis courts’ gate but someone took it down. (Photo by The Village Sun)
East Villager Charles Molloy held some of the tattered protest signage together on the gate. (Photo by The Village Sun)

On Mon., Nov. 1, the first day of scheduled “phase work operations” for E.S.C.R., workers arrived at the tennis courts and started sawing down the nets’ metal posts. Park activists, including City Council candidate Allie Ryan, staged a protest at the tennis courts, with Ryan and one other woman getting arrested. Three days later, Arthur Schwartz, the attorney on the community lawsuit, secured the temporary restraining order blocking further work.

Some of the courts are still open for use. Players sign up for court time on a clipboard since there is no longer a staffperson who is managing the facility. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Currently, eight tennis courts have been closed off while four remain open for play. Sunday afternoon, Dan Fitzpatrick, a young West Village resident, arrived toting his racket over his shoulder to get in a game.

“It sucks,” he said. “We heard they’re going to close the courts for three years.”

5 Comments

  1. Carol from East 5th Street Carol from East 5th Street November 15, 2021

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

    • LES4ever LES4ever November 16, 2021

      What?

      • LES3025 LES3025 November 16, 2021

        I read this to mean she supports doing arson to stop ESCR, which, honestly, I respect.

  2. LES4ever LES4ever November 17, 2021

    Another well-heeled aging East Village hippie thinks she’s monkey-wrenching The Man?

    No thanks.

    All she’s doing is delaying the defense of tens of thousands of homes on the Lower East Side. And guess who has to pay for the golf carts and damage to the tennis courts?

    We do.

    Thus another great example of the selfishness and stupidity at the root of this issue.

    We’ve had 8 years of community meetings, Molotov Carol. Where were you when your opinions might have been better expressed?

  3. LES4ever LES4ever November 17, 2021

    PS – Felony vandalism carries a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

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