NYC Court of Appeals judge temporary blocks anti-flood project


A judge has temporarily blocked construction from going forward in a Manhattan park as part of the massive $1.5 billion construction project to prevent flooding.

A group of residents and activists have been fighting to stop construction at the East River Park as part of the city’s East Side Coastal Resiliency Project — an anti-flooding plan to span 2.4 miles of the east side of Manhattan — claiming it will harm the public green space.

Last week, the Appellate Division, First Department dismissed the locals’ lawsuit, paving the way for construction to continue.

The group then brought the case to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

On Wednesday, Court of Appeals Judge Rowan Wilson temporarily halted construction until both sides could file papers on whether the court should accept the case and whether a stay should remain in place.

Those arguments are due Dec. 20.

Activists with East River Park Action chain themselves to a tree outside New York's City Hall to protest the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project and call on city council member Corey Johnson to hold an emergency hearing on the East River park plan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
The activists say the project will harm the public green space.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

A lawyer for the activists, Arthur Schwartz, said, “We will be asking for all fences to come down and for the bike path and park south of Houston Street to be reopened [as soon as possible.]”

The Department of Design and Construction said in a statement: “The courts have already decided – twice – that this project, which the City Council approved in 2019, should proceed with its flood protection plans.

“Work on East Side Coastal Resiliency began over a year ago, and more than 650 feet of new floodwall has already been completed north of East 15th Street.”

“We remain confident in our strong legal position, and we look forward to continuing the essential work to keep New Yorkers safe from extreme weather,” the statement continued.

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