The VA is constructing a flood wall next to the new Asser Levy "park" that was finished about 8 months ago and infringing on that space. The flood wall is being obviously constructed to protect the VA hospital, which suffered a lot of damage during Hurricane Sandy. Many veterans use the hospital, particularly the ones with financial hardships. In the aftermath of Sandy they could not use the hospital's services for months and months. These are people who served their country and who currently find themselves without much money and in need of help for physical and/or mental issues. So they are frequently poor and frequently minority.
Our "progressive" councilman, Dan Garodnick, who loves his mini-parks by the way, is upset at the VA, and is quoted as saying:
“If the VA had built the flood wall during the time Parks was constructing the playground, we would have avoided this. The VA now has an obligation to put the park back in the precise condition they found it in, and we are counting on that.”
Nice hard-line words, Dan. Go get 'em.
The reality is that the VA will do what it can to replace what's been lost. But the reality is also that few people have been using what was lost, and most of the "park," which doubles as an exercise area, is still available for use.
Also, this is complete bullshit:
"Steinberg [the person in the article complaining about the intrusion of the flood wall] enjoyed the convenience of using the fitness equipment at Asser Levy, which is just three blocks from his house, but now must head more than a mile away to East River Park if he wants to work out on city recreation equipment, he said."
Well, Steinberg should be alerted that the Asser Levy gym is still operational; the construction of the VA hospital flood wall has no impact on the gym, just on the meager "equipment" that was part of the park. So he doesn't have to burden himself by seeking another workout area "more than a mile away." And he surely must know this, but perhaps doesn't want to use the facilities at the gym. (I'm not going to press further on why that may be because I don't want to embarrass Mr. Steinberg; let's just say the "clientele" at the Asser Levy gym may not be to his liking.)
So guys, back off from bitching about the VA and its necessary construction of a flood wall to protect a hospital that generally low-income vets use.
And Dan, tell me, has a flood wall been built yet to protect Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town? Or, despite your bitching about the VA's timeline, is the VA ahead of the game, while PCV/ST is not?
If I could laugh at this issue, I would. This is one of the pieces of serious "fitness equipment" at Dan's park: