Developer Begins Demolition of Rutgers Street Playground for Temporary Parking Lot

Posted on: June 24th, 2022 at 5:03 am by

Photo: Roger Bultot

Demolition work began this week on a Lower East Side park that is a focal point in the tension between the community and developers on the waterfront.

The backhoes are out and job now underway at Rutgers Park, the small public space beside the Lands End II residential development. Removal of the playground began yesterday, including the Belgian blocks from the sidewalk.

The goal for Rutgers Park is “temporary parking.”

Indeed, the interim lot was conceived to provide an alternative for displaced vehicles while the Chetrit Group develops the adjacent parking lot at 265 South Street into a seventy-story luxury behemoth. It’ll likely remain this way until the underground garage is ready, which could take at least four or five years.

Meanwhile, the Lands End II tenants association, and other housing advocates, allege that the developers have not outlined any mitigations for the loss of a children’s playground and full-sized basketball court for such an extended time.

Photo: Roger Bultot

And even though the parking scheme is billed as “temporary,” neighbors allege otherwise. The plan calls for the full removal of all playground equipment, new curb cuts, a full time attended booth, and an assemblage of parking lot furniture.

It’s also worth noting that the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Two Bridges LSRD does not examine such a conversion of Rutgers Park (Site 5). In fact, the FEIS says states: “On Site 5, the existing private Rutgers Slip Open Space would be enlarged and reconstructed, and dedicated as publicly accessible open space.”

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