NYC has allocated $348 million to make crucial repairs to the Overbuild Bridges in Riverside Park. This announcement was made in a May 4 press release by Mayor de Blasio, Parks Department commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, and DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman.
The Overbuild is a series of bridge structures underneath Riverside Park, built over the Amtrak lines between West 72nd and 123rd streets. Its deterioration has affected the park’s usability, causing damaged pathways and an appearance of disrepair in the park. NYC Parks and DOT have developed a multi-faceted approach to addressing the structural condition, which includes additional inspections and temporary stabilization work.
In an email from Riverside Park Conservancy President & CEO Dan Garodnick, he wrote that “Failures in the overbuild have damaged pathways, limited access for vehicles, and created a condition of disrepair in the Park — and the problems have gotten much worse in recent years. While the City has not yet developed all the project details and timeline, I expect that that will happen soon. ”
The full project details and timeline will be determined during the design process.
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This funding is in addition to more than $300 million previously invested under this administration to rehabilitate Riverside Park’s infrastructure – including $200 million to reconstruct the W. 79th Street Rotunda complex, $90 million to reconstruct the West 79th Street Boat Basin, and more than $10 million to reconstruct pathways and staircases within the park – the largest investment in Riverside Park since the 1930s. Mayor de Blasio has also funded an $11.5 million project to begin addressing the park’s drainage systems.
“For tens of thousands of New Yorkers, Riverside Park is nothing short of a sanctuary. It’s a place of community where children learn to toss a baseball, neighbors catch up among the lush greenery, and families can spend a sunny afternoon together. Unfortunately, over recent years, the park has fallen into a state of disrepair. A deteriorating park makes for a less usable park, which is why I have been fighting to direct funds towards Riverside Park so that New Yorkers can once again enjoy the full breadth of this pristine greenspace along the Hudson River,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “That’s why I’m thrilled that New York City has announced a sweeping $348 million investment in repairing, maintaining, and improving the Riverside Park overbuild. These funds will allow for the rehabilitation of one of our city’s landmark public spaces and I join many others in celebrating this fantastic news—New Yorkers deserve a thriving, flourishing Riverside Park.”
“Riverside Park is a jewel of New York City and a treasured neighborhood resource for my district. This pandemic has shown us that City parks are critical infrastructure that strengthen the economic and physical health of our residents. With a modernized drainage and guard-rail infrastructure, Riverside Park will become safer, more accessible and more widely used. I thank the City and Commissioners Silver and Gutman for giving our park the funding it needs to better serve all residents of our district,” said Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell.
“The pandemic has spurred a renaissance in the use and utility of our public spaces in New York City,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Health Committee and former Chair of the City Council Parks Committee. “Our city’s green spaces, like Riverside Park, have proven to be cornerstones of inclusion and equity for all New Yorkers who rely on these parks for their physical and mental well-being. Now more than ever, we need to make equitable investments in our park system so that they can truly serve all communities.”
If we’re thinking of ways to enhance our parks, my mind is blown by he recent fence put up on the sailors monument. There are signs asking people to not walk on the grass and then a fence went up? I find so much irony in a city, that despite education standards lower than that of other first worlds, we must spend money on unattractive wire fencing because a sign isn’t enough? I’d like to not* see gas pick up trucks blazing through the park ripping up grass and mud that then stays upheaved for weeks on end. I’d like to not* see gas golf carts in the morning blowing fumes in my face as I jog in the park to breath fresh air. I’d also like to not* see the cars. The fumes from the highways are increasingly more intense, why aren’t we investing in massive trees and shrubs to block the highway ‘view’. The big Donald Trump sign as you’re about to exit to boat basin and one I have to see every day on my run is quite hideous. The fumes from construction are much worse for our park than anything else, yet construction along the highway persists, as apparently in 2021 it seems these jobs are more valued that our actual healthy livelihood. After a global pandemic that effected our respiratory systems you would think the expensive NY education would bring logic in how we arrive at conclusions in budget allocations and justifications. Lastly the big ugly plastic barrier blocks from the end of the Warsaw memorial to the congested fuming highway intersection on 79th street, what is this purpose? The cement has yet to be laid; I’m confused as to why such hideous plastic blocks must deface the park for more than the time it takes to pave new cement? Honestly I’d take trees blocking the hideous cars and suffocating fumes over bringing in more fumes to pave the trail. Are these our priorities amid a globally surging pandemic? Have we learned nothing?