NY to Build Esplanade on East Side Waterfront

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a major investment in closing the largest gap in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, and an administration-wide push underway to complete the vision of a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bicycling path around the whole of Manhattan.

In his budget announced today, the Mayor will dedicate $100 million in City capital to significantly narrow the Greenway’s largest gap. The New York City Economic Development Corporation will construct a new esplanade in the East River between East 61st Street and East 53rd Street (rendering above). Design will begin this year and construction will commence in 2019, with completion expected in 2022. The project has received initial approval from the US Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and State Department of Environmental Conservation. The structure will be based on plans previously developed in consultation with a board composed of Mayoral representatives and local officials.

“We’re jumpstarting the completion of a Greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront. The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk and play along the water. This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality,” Mayor de Blasio said.

The Mayor’s Executive Budget also dedicated $5 million for a multi-agency study to be completed this year of the remaining gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The study will identify solutions necessary to upgrade existing pinch points and complete gaps, as the basis for additional funding in the next update of the City’s capital plan.

Since its inception in 1993 under Mayor David Dinkins, each administration has contributed to Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The last major section of the Greenway to open was a 10-block pile-supported Riverwalk built in Riverside Park on the West Side between West 81st and West 91st streets, completing a contiguous 11-mile Hudson River Greenway from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge. With more than 7,000 daily cyclists, it is the busiest bike path in the United States.

Once complete, the addition announced today will remove one of the last remaining interruptions to the 32-mile Greenway around Manhattan Island.

Further projects in development:

  • Inwood: This summer, DOT plans to begin the process of creating new bike lanes along Dyckman Street, the northern connection for cyclists traveling between the Harlem and Hudson River Greenways.  
  • Inwood: In addition to converting Dyckman Street between Nagle Avenue and 10th Avenue to protected lanes, NYC DOT is already working with Manhattan Community Board 12 to develop a plan for new bike lanes on Dyckman, between Broadway and Nagle Avenue.
  • East Harlem: The Parks Department is kicking off a conceptual design for the East Harlem greenway gap from East 125th to 132nd Streets as part of East Harlem Neighborhood Plan.  
  • Lower Manhattan: NYCEDC is advancing demolition of dilapidated structures, removal of toxic soil and the design and construction of new waterfront open space at Pier 42 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with funds secured from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.