Rally tonight at 91ST and York at 6.30 PM
Bertha Lewis, one of the founders of The Working Families Party of New York and a big supporter of Bill de Blasio, has joined numerous other organizations -- see below -- in a protest against a massive garbage site being imposed upon densely populated East Harlem and Yorkville. It will be on the Asphalt Green athletic field at 6.30. That's 91st and York. If nothing else, it will afford you a chance to see how odd it is to build a garbage site so close to children.
If you are a reporter in New York, but particularly if you are a resident of Stanley Isaacs Houses or Holmes Towers or take your children to play at the Holmes Towers Eisman Nursery you should definitely come.
Known as the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station (or locally as "The Bloomberg Dump"), it will occupy 2 acres and be 10 stories high. Hundreds of garbage trucks a day will bring thousands of tons of garbage and then dump it into barges. It is going to be built in one of the worst flood zones in the city and a literal adult stone's throw from 2,200 residents of public housing and a literal child's stone's throw from an Athletic Field used by 31,000 city kids a year. No Marine Transfer Station in the history of New York has ever been this close to this many people. If if weren't for a historical quirk of zoning, it would be completely and utterly illegal.
All of the other sites combined are not as close to this many residents. Many of the residents live below the poverty line. Up until now they've had no one who can appeal to them or protect their interests as credibly as Bertha.
If you want to understand how this "strange" piece of city planning happened, or if you live anywhere on the East Side from 14th street up to the top of East Harlem, you should attend tonight's rally and listen to Bertha and others talk. Your life and your health will be changed by if this gets built.
This is not just about one neighborhood, it's about the power of real estate to shape urban policy and therefore the cities we live in.
It is not a coincidence that there are perhaps 15 places on the brand-new-condo infested West Side where members of the public can launch a boat. Yorkville and East Harlem are so densely populated there's no more room for development, so a dump is proposed instead. Not so long ago Bloomberg announced a new dog-run on the East Side and a place where children with small feet could thrust them through some bars and get their toes wet if the tide was right. But there are no places on the East Side where the public can actually bring a boat and launch it.
What has already been built at 91st Street -- they're driving in the pilings -- could become a great foundation for an East Side Marina where, in line with the Athletic Field, kids could get to the water, use canoes and rowboats, and where adults could bring other kinds of boats, or just escape the stresses of life in a densely populated neighborhood and enjoy the breeze coming off the river.