East River wall collapse part of bigger problem

- A sea wall collapse along the East River is not just a community eyesore it is a safety risk, a local group says.

Board Chair of Friends of the East River Esplanade Jennifer Ratner says her group has been begging the city to do something about the weak infrastructure along the East River for years. She says the area from 60th Street to 120th Street is a pathway of problems.

Last Friday, about 30 feet of the sea wall at Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side crumbled into the water following a heavy rainstorm.

"We knew that this site and the city knew that the site was in danger of collapsing," Ratner says.

Prior to Friday's incident, the Parks Department had plans to fix the East River Esplanade in two phases as part of a $40 million project.

"We knew this was an area of concern and we were prepared to address it this summer," Chief of Architecture and Engineering Kevin Quinn says.

The Parks Department now says it is expediting the work, using $15 million from Phase 1 to fix the sea wall. The project is expected to start at the beginning of the summer.

In the meantime, everyone will just have to go around.

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