Demolition of Historic East River Park Tennis Center Underway
Demolition of an East River Park relic is underway. The Tennis Center Comfort Station is under the wrecking ball as we speak.
The silver lining, if at all, is that a salvaged section of the 74-year-old terra cotta ornament will be repurposed for use in the updated park. Once the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project is complete, that is. (Five years?)
The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, which for three years fought to save and repurpose the Art Deco building between Rivington and Delancey, convinced the Parks Department to incorporate the saved artifacts as part of new park signage outlining the history of the East River Park. Architecture firm, OBJ, is spearheading the effort.
In the meantime, the preservation group continues to press the city to save the Track House, whose demolition is scheduled further along in the park reconstruction project.
Both buildings were constructed in 1938 for the opening of East River Park, which was planned in conjunction with the new East River Drive. They were designed by Aymar Embury II, the lead architect for Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, during a period of massive construction in New York funded by the New Deal. In fact, the style of these buildings is sometimes called “WPA Moderne,” in reference to that era’s Works Project Administration. Embury was also responsible for the architectural design of many NYC bridges, pools, and other Depression era structures.