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Mayor Bloomberg Announces Historic Agreement to Close Last Major Gap in the Manhattan Greenway and Enable Modernization of the United Nations' New York City Presence

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Historic Agreement to Close Last Major Gap in the Manhattan Greenway and Enable Modernization of the United Nations' New York City Presence

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Published by: EastSideOpenSpace on Oct 06, 2011
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October 5, 2011No. 349www.nyc.gov 
 Agreement Is Product of Cooperation Among City, Speaker Silver, Senate Majority Leader Skelos, Assemblymember Kavanagh, Senator Krueger, Councilmember Garodnick, United Nations Development Corporation and Local Community and Will Be Announced at City Hall at 4:30 Today
Will Provide Financing Framework to Largely Complete the 32-Mile Manhattan Greenway
an Administration Goal Since Mayor Bloomberg Took Office and a City Goal Since At Least the Dinkins Administration
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority LeaderDean Skelos, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Liz Krueger and City CouncilMember Daniel R. Garodnick today will announce a historic Memorandum of Understanding thatprovides a framework for the United Nations to make a substantial investment in its New York Citycampus, creating a source of financing for the completion of the 32-mile Manhattan Greenway
 filling the last remaining major gap between 38
and 60
Streets on the East Side of Manhattan
aswell as neighborhood open space improvements. The agreement, which addresses the United
 Nations‟ longstanding desire to
build a new building connected to its existing campus, is the productof cooperation between the community, local elected officials, and the City, which was madepossible by state legislation passed in June. The Mayor will also be joined by CongresswomanCarolyn Maloney, Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel, New York City Economic DevelopmentCorporation President Seth W. Pinsky, United Nations Development Corporation Board of DirectorsChairman George Klein, Commissioner of the New York City Commission for the United NationsMarjorie B. Tiven, New York City Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe, New York CityDepartment of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Assemblyman Micah Kellner,Assemblyman Dan Quart, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilwoman JessicaLappin, Manhattan Community Board Six Chairman Mark Thompson and Building and ConstructionTrades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera.
For decades, residents along New
York City‟s
waterfront have been cut off from this
 precious resource,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since the beginning of my time in office, we‟ve worked
to change that by reclaiming and revitalizing the waterfront and building new parks and open spacesin all five boroughs.
Today‟s agreement
puts in place a critical missing link 
the last major gap inthe Manhattan Greenway
that will make the waterfront a resource for the whole City to enjoy. Weare honored to be home the United Nations
one of the
City‟s largest employers – 
and this win-windeal allows them to grow, thrive and create more jobs.
I am proud to sign on to this agreement to enable the City to move forward with the EastSide Greenway and Parkland Project
,” said Speaker Silver.
This is a part of New York that has longendured a shortage of recreational space, so I appreciate how difficult it is to part with a portion of the Robert Moses playground. But the benefits that will come from extending the East RiverEsplanade will dramatically improve the quality of life for New Yorkers. When completed, residentson the East Side will be able to enjoy open spaces and waterfront access as well as walking and
 biking paths.”
“It is a rare and wonderful thing when we get to transform a major por 
tion of our City andreclaim such a long stretch of our waterfront for our community and for all New Yorkers to use andenjoy
,” said
Assemblyman Kavanagh.
I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his vision for creating publicaccess to our waterfront across the City, Speaker Silver for his leadership in passing the legislation I
sponsored in June and in ensuring that today‟s agreement includes a firm commitment to fund and
build the Greenway, my partners at the negotiating table Senator Krueger and CouncilmemberGarodnick, all my other colleagues in government who supported this effort, and of course the many,many people from the East Side community who contacted us, spoke at our public forums, organizedtheir neighbors, and fought for the best outcome for our communi
“I want to thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration for working so closely
with me and my fellow East Side elected officials on crafting the historic agreement that enables us
to take advantage of a once and a lifetime opportunity,” said Senator Krueger. “For far too long East
Side residents have been starved of much needed open space and access to the East River. Now, aftermonths of thoughtful negotiations between city, state and federal elected officials - and with thevocal support of thousands East Side residents - we are one step closer to assuring the completion of a continuous East River Greenway, while also improving active recreational play space along theEast Side. This process has not been simple, nor is it over, but residents should feel confident thatthis is a secure plan with safeguards to ensure that projects move forward with adequate funding forcompletion and maintenance, and that local elected officials will have a continuing oversight role in
the coming years.”
“What w
e accomplished in this agreement has eluded the East Side of Manhattan for
generations,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick.
“This deal
is creative, it is historic, and mostimportantly, it will yield a huge amount of open space for all New Yorkers to enjoy."The United Nations has had a longstanding desire to consolidate its office space needs in onecentral location that could connect to its existing campus, and this agreement allows them to moveforward with that option, should they decide to do so. Legislation passed in June created a framework in which the western portion of Robert Moses Playground, located between East 41
and East 42
 Streets on 1
Avenue adjacent to the United Nations existing Campus
could be alienated to theUnited Nations Development Corporation by the City for this purpose. If the United Nations movesforward, the United Nations Development Corporation would make payments totaling $73 million to
a special purpose fund, the Eastside Greenway and Park Fund, to purchase the site. Those funds willfacilitate the City
realizing its long-term plan to close the gap in the Manhattan Greenway and turnit into a public amenity. The project will increase the overall open space in the area by 130,000square feet, which is four times the size of the alienated portion of Robert Moses Playground and willhave more amenities for the community to enjoy. The United Nations project would be the only potential source of capital funding for theGreenway and could result in over $200 million of open space improvements, including a mile of waterfront esplanade. The esplanade will give this neighborhood access to their waterfront for thefirst time in more than half a century and add much-
needed open space to Manhattan‟s East Side,
which has the lowest ratio of parkland to residents and workers in the City. The esplanade would bebuilt in three stages: infrastructure work on the segment from 38th to 41st Streets, previouslyoccupied by Con Edison, will begin shortly; construction of the segment from 53rd to 60th Streetswould likely begin in 2016 and the segment from 41st to 51st Streets likely around 2020. In addition,if the United Nations moves forward, One and Two UN Plaza, in which the City has an economicinterest, would be sold or refinanced generating proceeds for the City and the Manhattan Greenway.
“Today we‟re taking a giant step forward toward completing the Esplanade between 38th and60th Streets,” said Congresswoman Maloney.
“What began as a dream is now on the fast track to
becoming a reality. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senate TemporaryPresident Dean Skelos, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Liz Krueger and CouncilmanDan Garodnick for all they did in working to reach an agreement that ensures that funding will beallocated to building the esplanade and that the community will receive replacement park incompensatio
n for losing Robert Moses Park.”
“The United Nations is the centerpiece of New York‟s status as a diplomatic and internationalcenter, and today‟s agreement provides a path for the UN to implemen
t its longstanding
consolidation and expansion plans if they choose to do so,”
Deputy Mayor Steel. “Today‟sagreement is also the latest sign of the Bloomberg Administration‟s commitment to reactivating NewYork‟s waterfront for commerce, recreation, and transportation.”
I want to congratulate the Mayor, the Governor, Assembly Speaker Silver, Senate PresidentSkelos and all those who worked with them, as well as the other elected representatives who havehad key roles, on the successful completion and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding
,” said
George Klein, Chairman of the board of directors of the United Nations Development Corporation.
This important agreement reflects the commitments of the Mayor, the Governor, State legislators,City Council members and others
to the City‟
s open space needs and the ongoing presence andpotential consolidation
of UN facilities in New York.”
“We are very pleased that we were able to reach this historic agreement,” said NYCEDC
President Pinsky.
Through this agreement, we not only provide for the completion of new amenitiesfor the people of the East Side and the entire City, but we also set the stage for a major investment byan institution that, without hyperbole, allows New York to claim for itself the title of 
Capital of theWorld
The jobs within a future UN consolidation building, as well as those created duringconstruction, are exactly what the City needs to secure in this era of economic uncertainty

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