Public beach may be in the works under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge

The updated East River Blueway Plan was unveiled on May 2, displaying a proposed public beach beneath the Brooklyn Bridge’s Manhattan side, stretching from East 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge at City Hall. The beach would include public recreational space such as kayaking, wetlands, a food vendor garden, and pedestrian bridges.

The proposal comes as city officials and engineers are working to design new and improve existing public safety measures in the face of potential future weather events such as Hurricane Sandy, while simultaneously addressing a need for more public green space.

According to proposal supporters Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh at a public informational session at Cooper Union, the plan would also provide access to the East River shoreline.

A floating dock at East 23rd Street would be the launch point for recreational kayaks and canoes; a pedestrian bridge at East 14th Street would protect the Con Edison power plant — which shut down and temporarily went ablaze during Hurricane Sandy — from rising floodwaters while also providing waterfront access; another pedestrian bridge would be added between Corlears Hook Park and East River Park; freshwater wetlands would be extended under the FDR Drive; and a natural beach under the Brooklyn Bridge would gain kayak launch pads and concession stands for public access.

The East River Blueway Plan does not yet have a timeline or budget, although Stringer has pledged $3.5 million in capital funding.

The plan was designed by the Lower East Side Ecology Center, the state Department of Coastal Resources, and WXY architecture + urban design.

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