KIPS BAY — Construction is underway on converting Asser Levy Place into park space, and when the dust clears locals will have a plethora of new amenities including lighting, concrete Ping-Pong tables and artificial turf.
The Parks Department aims to create a park that accommodates residents of all ages by offering a variety of new features such as new exercise equipment and shaded seating, said Philip Abramson, a spokesman for the agency.
Replacement of a water main started in late March and is expected to be completed by this summer, and the actual conversion of the park will begin soon after, said Abramson.
"This project will transform Asser Levy Place into an enjoyable park space with a diverse mix of outdoor recreational opportunities," said Abramson. "Neighborhood residents of all ages and abilities will soon be able to play Ping-Pong, volleyball, chess, soccer…or enjoy some shaded seating."
New lighting will supplement the existing street lamps and enhance security at night, said Abramson. Additionally, benches and mounded plant beds will frame the space and trees will provide shade, he said.
Asser Levy Place is the two-block stretch of street that runs between East 23rd and 25th Streets, next to Asser Levy Playground along the FDR Drive.
Two concrete Ping-Pong tables will be located near East 23rd Street, and the area near East 25th Street will feature an exercise track and multi-use artificial turf field that can be used for a variety of activities including, soccer, T-ball, football and outdoor yoga, Abramson said.
The construction will mean traffic changes. Only one lane of northbound traffic on Asser Levy Place will be open, and the whole street will be closed permanently by summer, Philips said. At that time, East 25th Street will be converted from a westbound street to a two-way street, he noted.
Asser Levy Place's transformation into park space stems from a 2011 deal between the city and the United Nations. The city sold a portion of Robert Moses Playground to the the UN so it could build a two-building campus there in the future. In exchange, the city promised to convert Asser Levy Place to make up for the lost park space.
"Not only will we gain a new running track, ball fields and recreational space, but this is also the first key piece of a broader neighborhood plan that will ultimately create a vibrant waterfront esplanade along the East River,” said City Councilman Dan Garodnick, an advocate of the project.