Read the Sierra Club’s plea to reconsider the BPCA’s environmentally disasterous plan for Wagner Park

Press Release announcing legal action and the halting of Wagner’s destruction.

The Sierra Club is asking the BPCA to use the Alternate Design.

What is the Alternate Design?

The original landscape architects of Wagner Park, Olin, teamed with the pavilion’s original architect, Machado Silvetti, to design an alternate plan according to community-backed design principles:

  • Minimal impact on existing green infrastructure
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Prioritization of green space and grass over concrete
  • Preservation of mature trees
  • Preservation and integration with the unique character of the park
  • Prioritization of the neighborhood’s most vulnerable areas

This design moves the flood alignment outside of Wagner, allowing the park to serve as another layer of protection from flooding.

Placing a floodwall furthest from the river gives maximum protection from flooding from the river AND the sky (unlike BPCA’s plan.)

Wagner Park would remain largely open during the entire construction.

The views of the water and the park’s connection to the harbor remain unspoiled.

The concept also preserves all 114 mature trees BPCA has targeted to kill, and the potential to actually INCREASE green space, rather than cut it by 10%, which is BPCA’s plan.

Maintains flood protection during construction. The current BPCA Plan exposes the neighborhood to flood and hurricane risk for more than two years.

The wall itself can be artistic or natural.

“Green wall” looking from park to street.

Everyone wants resiliency. We have a smarter solution.

Climate Change has and always will be part of Wagner Park design.

Goals of Alternate Design

Community First Design Principles

Let’s talk about the BPCA plan.

Years of Disruption versus Minimal Disruption

We can build the same resiliency without rebuilding the park.

Comparing the two plans.

The flood alignment will leverage existing structures.

And for the most part will rely on permanent structures.

We have opportunities to increase green spaces to absorb water.

Views of the Statue of Liberty are preserved.

History and Importance of Wagner Park

Who is on our design team?

We are incredibly fortunate to have some of the world’s leading experts volunteering to help save Wagner Park.

  • Dr. Klejda Bega, science lecturer at Columbia University
  • Lucinda Sanders, CEO of Olin, the original landscape designer for Wagner Park
  • Jeffry Burchard, an Assistant Professor in Architecture at Harvard University and a Partner at Machado Silvetti, the original architect of Wagner Park’s current award-winning pavilion
  • Demetrios Staurinos, RLA, ASLA, Olin, 15 years experience in landscape architecture and design
  • Evan McNaught, RLA, Olin, landscape designer
  • Jonathan Franklin, Olin, landscape designer
  • Tucker Douglas, Licensed Architect, Machado Silvetti
  • Taylor Halamka, Senior Designer, Machado Silvetti
  • Eric T. Fleisher, of F2 Environmental Design and former Director of Horticulture for the Battery Park City Conservancy

See the presentation of the Alternate Design for Wagner Park.

Resiliency experts from Olin and Machado Silvetti present an Alternate Design that would leave Wagner intact while also increasing resiliency.

We are asking Gov Hochul and other local leaders to help us get meaningful consideration of the Alternative Plan.

The Battery Park City Neighborhood Association (BPCNA) opposes the Authority’s decision to approve the Final Environmental Impact Statement and South Battery Park City Resiliency Project (“Wagner Park Project”) on October 11, 2022. Despite thousands of emails, vocal opposition, and ignored community feedback, the Authority voted to approve their own design.

The BPCNA agrees climate change is a critical issue, and we strongly call for bolder, more aggressive action to mitigate climate impacts and reduce carbon emissions. We have consistently asked for a better, nature-based design that preserves the park’s incredible green space. Instead of engaging in thoughtful and meaningful discourse, the Authority has wrongly and disingenuously labeled those who oppose its current plan as “climate change deniers.” This deceptive tactic is meant to silence the community the Authority has been charged to serve. No one is advocating for inaction. The lower Manhattan community is simply asking for meaningful consideration of the Alternative Plan.

The neighborhood has raised concerns and asked for an alternative plan since the beginning of this project.

Along with CB1, concerned residents have questioned the need to destroy Wagner and add commercial space in order to build resiliency. Since 2017, we have consistently asked for an Alternate Design, but the Authority has never offered any alternatives that answered the neighborhood’s concerns.

Note: Along with our consistent resistance to the Authority’s plan, CB1 has documented resolutions questioning the goals and scope of this project dated: 5/23/17, 9/26/17, 12/19/18, 2/25/20, 6/15/22 letter, and most recently on October 12, 2022 letter to Governor Hochul and other elected leaders.

Alice Blank, Vice Chairman of CB1, questions, the BPCA plan‘s priorities.

The Authority’s Plan? Less grass. More concrete. And all mature trees axed.

The BPCA’s current plan turns one of Manhattan’s hidden natural gems into a concrete plaza with scraps of grassy areas and less green space than we currently have. This isn’t good for the environment or the neighborhood. The project also calls for cutting down 114 mature trees in Wagner and eventually replacing them with saplings, which will take 30 years to reach the level of maturity of the trees we’re losing. Ironically, this could leave us more susceptible to flooding from rain – look at what Ian did to Florida. BPCA likes to tout that its latest redesign increased grass by 70% over their previous design – what they don’t tell people is that the new design is still far less grass than we currently have.

Wagner survived Sandy, so why destroy it?

The BPCA claims their current plan to destroy the park and raise it 10 additional feet will help it survive a 100-year storm – but it was initially designed to withstand a 100-year storm. This is why Wagner did so well during Sandy, a 260-year storm. The master plan of the park shows it is already raised to withstand a 100-year storm, with additional height for storm surges and high tides. In fact, other NYC resiliency plans are being raised to the height Wagner Park is presently.

Why is more commercial space part of a “resiliency plan?”

THE BPCA lists one of the issues the resiliency plan solves is that Wagner is “not achieving food and beverage potential.” So as part of a “resiliency plan,” they are ripping down the current pavilion to increase commercial space 3-5X. It’s questionable that the Pavillon needs to be razed, but if it does, why not increase green space instead of commercial space? Green space will make us more resistant to climate change and storms, which create “flooding from the skies.

Support our legal action fund here.

The Kids Rally To Stop The Bulldozers, Wagner Park

Assemblyman Charles Fall
The Sierra Club of New York rallies against the BPCA’s Resiliency Plan.

In the news & other information

Add your name to our petition “Smart Resiliency for Lower Manhattan
New York Times, “A Plan to Save a Beloved Park From Flooding Has Angered Its Biggest Fans”
The Broadsheet “CB1 Opposes the Destruction of Wagner Park Pavillion”
NY Post “Battery Park City’s Flood Plan is All Wet”
The Cultural Landscape Foundation “Robert F. Wagner Park At Risk”
The City “In Battery Park City, Another Plan to Destroy a Green Space in Order to Save It”
The Sun “Coastal Resiliency Report: From Battery Park and Two Bridges to Hudson River Park and Chelsea, Comprehensive Planning is Needed”

NBC News Coverage of Rally to Save Wagner

NY1 coverage of neighborhood concerns

Letter to Gov. Hochul from local leaders 1/2

Letter to Gov. Hochul from local leaders 1/2

Letter to Gov. Hochul from local leaders

Letter to Gov. Hochul from local leaders 2.2

July 8 letter to BPCA detailing unanswered questions

A community presentation with many important facts

Letter to BPCA asking why they’ve hired lobbyists to keep residents off the BPCA

Dean of Cooper Union Architect Program pt. 1

Dean of Cooper Union Architect Program pt. 2

Save Wagner Park

Save Wagner Park

Save Wagner Park

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