Our Town: Parks Dept. Studying East River Esplanade
By Dan Rivoli
September 1, 2010
At the end of last July, a chunk of the East River Esplanade, near East 72nd Street, caved in. There was, for a time, a gaping hole fenced off with metal barriers.
Michael Auerbach, an environmental advocate and East Side resident, said he was unsurprised when he saw the massive cave-in.
“In my head, I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s about right. I knew that would happen,’” said Auerbach, president of Upper Green Side.
The cave-in seemed unsurprising for Auerbach and others who regularly walk, ride a bike or run on the esplanade. In the East 70s, there are spots with raised and cracked asphalt. There are areas with holes in the ground that are fenced off. These metal gates make paths shared between bicyclists and pedestrians narrow.
“You have to watch where you’re walking,” said Jim, who was walking along the esplanade.
The repairs to the esplanade require more than just aesthetic maintenance. The underpinning beneath the esplanade is eroding.
Council Member Jessica Lappin said her office allocated $500,000 to the Parks Department for an engineering study.
“It’s not just a cosmetic fix or a pothole that happened because it snowed over this winter,” Lappin said. “The reality is, the actual infrastructure under the esplanade is at risk.”