YORKVILLE — Runners, cyclists, and strollers have put up with uneven pavement, sinkholes and crumbling infrastructure on the East River Esplanade near Carl Schurz Park for years.
But by next summer, they will have a smoother, more pleasant experience due to a $6.4 million reconstruction of the area, between East 88th and 90th streets, that will fix sinkholes, rework drainage, replace benches and concrete pavers, and add trees and bushes, according to Parks Department plans.
Representatives of the Parks Department presented their plans to Community Board 8's parks committee on Dec. 8, where they revealed that the two-block stretch would get a major upgrade.
A section of the sea wall that has crumbled will be shored up, two sinkholes that have been fenced off for safety will be repaired, and the pedestrian/sitting area will be separated from an 8- to 10-foot wide shared-use path by new ornamental trees, concrete pavers and benches.
The seating will be replaced in-kind with 1939 World’s Fair-style benches and the 4-foot railing at the water’s edge will be replaced with S-shaped railings, which are used further south on the esplanade.
The project also involves removing four trees that are seen as unstable or unhealthy.
The esplanade between 88th and 90th streets will be closed during construction and will likely take a year to complete.
Community Board 8 approved the plans at its full board meeting on Dec. 14.
Already, the Parks Department is fixing one 20-foot-by-10-foot sinkhole, closing off the esplanade from 89th Street to 96th Street. The section will reopen by Dec. 23.
The repair work is being done as the first phase of the Parks Department's East River Esplanade project, which will use $41 million in capital funds to repair walkways along the waterfront.
The agency has requested an additional $169 million for the next few years to bring the rest of the esplanade to an "average state of good repair," Crystal Howard, a Parks spokeswoman, said.