In a big win for the Lower East Side, $335 million has been awarded to a barrier that will protect the Sandy-ravaged shores of the East River.
Last June, Rebuild by Design, an initiative of President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, introduced a design competition to encourage architects and engineers to work with Sandy-affected businesses and local groups. (We published some of the entries back in March). Rebuild by Design announced the winning proposal—dubbed “The Big U”—at an event attended by Governor Cuomo and Senator Charles Schumer this morning.
The Big U, a shield of sorts, will stretch from West 57th Street south to the Battery and up to East 42nd Street, The Lo-Down reports. In addition to protecting the LES from potential floodwaters, it’ll provide access to parks and views of the river. Here’s a description of the the Lower East Side portion, according to the winning architects, Big Team, of New York:
Between the Manhattan Bridge and Montgomery Street, deployable walls are attached to the underside of the FDR Drive, ready to flip down to prepare for flood events. Decorated by neighborhood artists, the panels when not in use create an inviting ceiling above the East River Esplanade. At night, lighting integrated into the panels transforms a currently menacing area into a safe destination. Panels can also be flipped down to protect from the elements, creating a seasonal market during the winter.