Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the East River State Park waterfront has reopened to stabilize and enhance the park shoreline. The recently completed $526,000 project will protect the park from erosion and help complete the transformation of the former Williamsburg rail-to-barge shipping terminal into a community park.
East River State Park was badly in need of repairs and improvements after experiencing significant damage during Superstorm Sandy, but with the completion of this restoration project weve built it back better than ever before, Governor Cuomo said. This Park provides Williamsburg and the surrounding neighborhoods with valuable green space for people to relax and enjoy the Citys waterfront, and I am proud to see it reopened today. This is another example of how our approach to storm recovery building back stronger with the next storm in mind is continuing to reshape communities across the State.
The beach and the parks popular waterfront lawn suffered deterioration and damage over the years, including when one-third of the park was flooded during Superstorm Sandy. Tidal activity and boat traffic on the river continue to erode the beach, which provides scarce public space in the community. Over the last decade, several feet of the parks beach and lawn had been lost to erosion.
The shoreline restoration project included rebuilding the stone rip rap buffer, replenishing beach sand, installing a low-lying wall of reclaimed granite blocks at the edge of the lawn, adding new native plantings, and creating a new kayak launch. Project sustainability features include creation of fish channels in the rip rap to prevent fish from getting trapped on the beach during low tide, invasive plant removal, and installation of dry wells to collect stormwater runoff. This project completes the series of improvements outlined in the initial vision for the park, which opened in 2007.
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, I am tremendously grateful to Governor Cuomo for leading the revitalization and improvement of East River State Park and beloved State Parks across New York. East River State Park is one of the few places in New York City where people can sit beside a natural beach. This project preserves the waterfronts natural setting, while making it more resilient and more inviting to the visitors who relax on the park lawn and enjoy the views of the Manhattan skyline.
The $526,000 project was funded by the Governors NY Works initiative, the Environmental Protection Fund, and other sources. Launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, NY Works is advancing 279 park enhancement and improvement projects at 109 state parks and historic sites across the state.
Senator Daniel Squadron said, East River State Park is a green oasis in Northern Brooklyn, providing needed space for recreation and relaxation for the families of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Improving and restoring the park's shoreline, with its views of Manhattan and the East River, will help these growing neighborhoods continue to enjoy what the park has to offer. I thank Governor Cuomo for working on this effort, and I look forward to continuing to work with him, the park, and my colleagues to keep making East River Park even better.
Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol said, I fought hard to transform this seven-acre piece of heaven to a state park years ago and Im happy to say its only getting better. With Governor Cuomos help weve been able to make this park more resilient. We now have an enhanced shoreline with a new kayak launch, new plantings, and an even-more sustainable waterfront. Although the neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg have limited park space, my colleagues in both the city and state work hard to ensure what we do have is great.
New York City Council Member Stephen Levin said, The re-opening of the East River State Park is an exciting moment for our community. Not only does it provide much needed open space, but it also offers incredible views of the Manhattan skyline. My thanks go to Governor Cuomo, State Parks Commissioner Harvey and the State Parks Department for the completion of this important project and the re-opening of the waterfront.
Jackie Meyer, President of the Friends of East River State Park, said, Our thanks go to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey, New York State Assemblyman Joe Lentol, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron and the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation for creating, developing, protecting and preserving this gem of a State Park that shines more brightly today with the renewal of the waterfront shoreline, the addition of a kayak launch, plantings and other improvements including the new swings for the playground.
Ed Janoff, Executive Director of the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, said, Recent growth in North Brooklyn has put greater pressure on local parks to provide the open space that residents need to get exercise, fresh air, and to relax. Therefore Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn (OSA) is delighted to see the restoration of the East River State Park shoreline - a vital recreational amenity for this neighborhood, and a cornerstone of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Open Space Master Plan. The natural beach-like access offers a perfect complement to the esplanades and landscaped waterfront areas of the City-owned parks to the north and to the south. OSA would like to offer a hearty 'thank you' to Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Harvey, and all the folks at State Parks who helped make this happen.
The seven-acre East River State Park combines unbeatable views of the Manhattan skyline with open green space for recreation and relaxation, and hosts popular special events. Smorgasburg, held every Saturday in the park, has grown into an international tourism destination and its Summer Movie Nights series is a popular draw for neighborhood families. More than 1.3 million people visited the park in 2013.