The East River Esplanade was acquired in 1939 as part of the construction of the FDR Drive. The only highway in New York City not built entirely under the direction of Robert Moses, construction of the East River Drive was overseen by Stanley Isaacs (1882-1962), the Manhattan Borough President from 1938-41. When portions of the highway needed to be built over landfill, the landfill used was masonry rubble from buildings in London destroyed by German bombs during World War II. The rubble was carried across the ocean by convoy ships as ballast. The esplanade is bordered on one side by the FDR Drive and on the other by the East River. The walk features wide-open views of Roosevelt Island and the Triborough and Hell Gate Bridges, and passes Gracie Mansion, the traditional residence of New York City’s Mayor. The East River Esplanade includes Bobby Wagner Walk (in honor of a distinguished public servant) that extends from 90th to 125th Street, in honor of Bobby’s home on 89th Street between York and East End Avenues.
The pavement and seawall are in dire need of renovation. There is a pier at 107th Street (renovated in 1991) that is also in severe disrepair.
Source: New York City Department of Parks Website