The East River Blueway is a project that aims to revitalize Manhattan’s east side waterfront area from 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. Though many New Yorkers already use the 4-mile-stretch for exercise, much of it is currently not the most visually pleasing, and the need to traverse the FDR Drive in order to reach the water is a deterrent for some. WXY’s new Blueway planseeks to eliminate those issues with easy public access to the river (as well as an inaccessible beach under the Brooklyn Bridge), new and upgraded pedestrian bridges, added parks and green space and a safer path for bikers and pedestrians.
In addition to updates that would improve quality of life for area residents, the proposed wetlands could mean a world of difference for those on Manhattan’s east side that found themselves stranded or in the dark after Hurricane Sandy. “The wetlands provide a natural buffer against storm-related surges that can cause major urban flooding,” explained Claire Weisz, AIA, WXY’s founding principal. “We’ve been working with people in the affected neighborhoods and the Lower East Side Ecology Center, and we realize how much flood protection and waterfront access would improve their lives.”
The project still has a long ways to go, but President Stringer has pledged $3.5 million in capital for the wetlands construction, an injection that should certainly move it closer to reality.