See our Visioning Timeline poster here. 

Multiple groups have worked over the past 20 years to re-imagine the waterfront of the East River Esplanade. In previous visioning sessions, EastRiver CREW, Friends of the East River Esplanade, Upper GreenSide, Civitas, Green Park Gardners NYC, East Harlem/El Barrio Fishing Association, the NYC Parks Department, the East River Waterfront Task Force, New Yorkers for Parks, Greening the Gap, The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, TreesNY, Randall’s Island Park Alliance, Hunter College Urban Affairs & Planning, NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, Community Boards 8 & 11 and many others have listened and studied the needs of the community. They have been working since 1999 to advocate for a radical improvement and re-envisioning of the ever-more deteriorating edge on the East side of Manhattan.

City government agencies (Parks, Planning, Transportation, Economic Development) and officials have also heard the pleas of community about its waterfront and responded in a variety of ways. Elected of cials include Gifford Miller, Jessica Lappin, Daniel Garodnick, Ben Kallos, Melissa Mark- Viverito, Gale Brewer, Carolyn Maloney, Robert Rodriguez, Liz Krueger, Mayors Bloomberg & DeBlasio. While some urgent repairs have been made, the most abandoned segments from 60th to 125th streets are in need of urgent attention now, as evidenced by the recent collapse of the sea wall (5/8/17) and various sink holes along the edge. Elected of cials secured monies from city and state agencies for partial repair and partial reinvention. The East River Esplanade Task Force and EsplanadeFriends Conservancy have been pushing the vision forward, but they continue to need support from others. We no longer need additional community visioning, rather we need to move forward on this matter, WE NEED ACTION. The chart documents how the community has been involved in generating a vision for nearly 20 years.

For more information, contact Jennifer Ratner via


George Murphy funded the Asphalt Green Community Center. Rose Blaustein ran an environmental center on the fire boathouse pier that included taking teachers visiting the program out on boats. 



East River CREW (ERC) lobbies CB8 for use of fireboat house pier for launching traditional rowboats of NYC harbor. After destruction through arson & storms of fireboat pier, with ERC sponsorship, CB8 passes a resolution for the rebuilding of the fire boathouse pier to its original footprint. 

ERC moves its focus to the old ferry pier at E. 90th St. In response, CB8 designates the E. 90th Pier for passive recreation only. Also, the Yankee ferry is brought to the pier, but CB8 declines ANY additional money be spent by the EDC to rehabilitate the pier so that homeless people, extra traffic or garbage is kept from the pier. ERCs efforts to secure space under the FDR are unsuccessful after 9/11 event makes all agencies nervous about access to publicly trafficked space. 



East River CREW volunteers offer rowing annually when they can row up ad back to Red Hook where boats are stored for free. Go-Fish festivals are held to provide education and fun for the public in between rowing. The community's hopes & dreams for the space are heard and collected regularly during these events. 

After working with deputy chief of operations at Parks, ERC is able to install a davit at E. 96th St. and a container behind Stanley Isaacs so we can offer free rowing to the community. "It's My Park Day" (IMPD) events focusing on the upper esplanade begin. 



Lappin & Maloney from the East River Esplanade Task Force. Their first meeting gathers the vision of a required and beautiful esplanade that offers concessions and relaxation. Friends of the East River Esplanade Conservancy (EsplanadeFriends) is created to address needs from 60th - 125th St. EsplanadeFriends begins gathering dreams and hopes of passer-bys through visioning projects.

East River CREW publishes the Estuary Guide to inform the public of what lives below the surface of the river and humans impact on it. Lappin secures $900,000 from city council to repair potholes. Civitas launches its design contest and a community engagement study with NYU Wagner School of 400 residents-- 40% decry public access to water. 



Rockefeller University supports renewal of esplanade as part of its expansion project. Civitas holds three visioning meetings with CB11. Hurricane Sandy brings attention to the waterfront. 

EsplanadeFriends participates in DeBlasio's "Talking Transition" civic engagement project that surveys New Yorkers and formally solicits their ideas. NYC Parks Department conducts an underwater survey of the infrastructure conditions along the esplanade. 



Hunter College School of Urban Affairs & Planning publishes Greening the Gap after multiple visioning sessions. New Yorkers for Parks publishes East Harlem Open Space Index that catalogues and documents the current state of affairs. EsplanadeFriends develops and shares Pier 107 visuals.   

DeBlasio allots $35 million in budget for esplanade renewal. Civitas publishes visioning plan for East River Esplanade East River CREW partners with Eagle Scout project to create a Junior Estuary Ranger program. EsplanadeFriends participates in the East Harlem Rezoning Open Space Workshops that determine the waterfront as a priority. This groups conducts extensive visioning and brainstorming and contributes to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The state allocates $3 million for the re-invention of Pier 107.



East River CREW tries again to secure permission to use the empty space under the FDR ramp at E. 96th St. so that it can serve more community members. DCAS & DOT determine the space is unavailable for lease at this time though there is no evidence of anyone using it, and Civitas presents them with precedents throughout the city for use of space under FDR. CB8 supports funding repairs to Esplanade. EsplanadeFriends secures permanent opening of Pier 90. RIPA commits $250,000 to the east Harlem side of the river beginning with a contact with WXY visioning strategic initiative. 

EsplanadeFriends secures a commitment of $500,000 from State Assembly Member Seawright and Rodriguez provides annual funding for its reinvention in State budget. Parks opens refurbished East 90th St Pier permanently.