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The Upper East Side Ruins


Not quite the Renwick Ruins, but ruins nonetheless


Head east on 73rd Street until you nearly hit the river and you’ll find the ruins of the former DSNY Sanitation garage, presently collecting dust and growing weeds. The site is probably one of the last develop-able lots on the entire Upper East Side, a testament to how popular (and overcrowded) the neighborhood has become. The DSNY demolished the old garage (and its famed smokestack) a few years ago and had planned to replace it with a new state-of-the-art facility. The onslaught of the Great Recession and City budget cuts have shelved the new garage (for now at least) and the site sits as a quiet monument to the bursting of the Great Real Estate Bubble. UESiders are not immune to battles over garbage trucks. See here, and here. But thankfully, the UES hasn’t needed the services of Tony Soprano and his merry band of celebrities, yet. But that might be changing real soon…

Next week the Environment & Sanitation Committee of Community Board 8 will hold a discussion (with a DSNY representative present) to discuss current safety issues at the site, as well as possible interim uses. Some ideas Upper Green Side would like to see include temporary park usage or even a community garden (currently none exist on the Upper East Side). A dock for the giant Con Ed steam powerplant also sits just across the FDR at 74th Street. It is currently under consideration to be reused as a new ferry landing. With completion of the Second Avenue Subway years away, a new ferry landing would help facilitate a “blue highway” on the East River, giving UES residents a more scenic option over the always crowded Lexington Line. Access to the ferry (as well as to the East River Greenway) could also be included in a temporary park design.

But let’s not jump to conclusions. We’ll learn more at next week’s Community Board meeting and will report back on what we find.

More pictures…

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