The $1.45 billion project aims to protect the Lower East Side from coastal flooding.
The first massive swinging flood gate was installed by the NYC Department of Design and Construction in an opening in the floodwall near Stuyvesant Cove Park along the East River.
"Today we're installing our first gate," Commissioner Thomas Foley said. "Stainless steel gate made in New York."
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The 10-foot high gate was manufactured in upstate New York and will remain open to provide access to the waterfront. It can be closed, however, in advance of a coastal storm to protect the neighborhood, which has 110,000 residents with 28,000 in public housing.
The area was greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The gate is one of a total of 18 gates that are a part of the project, and the goal is to use a series of beams, flood walls and flood gates to create a continuous 2.4 mile barrier.
"So the gates provide access and also resiliency and protection," Foley said. "The whole project is to protect over 100,000 residents here in this area."
In addition to gates, the barrier will also incorporate raised parkland.
"South of here, we're actually elevating and installing a new park, playground, soccer field, tennis courts," Foley said.
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East River Park is one of the locations that will be redesigned under the resiliency project, and the plan is to elevate it about 8 feet and include new amenities.
However, some in the community say the project will destroy the park and that there are better options for resiliency
The next big milestone for the project will be the Asser Levy Playground, which will now include floodgates and flood walls integrated into the playground's landscape.
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