By Lindsay Armstrong on May 23, 2014 12:05pm | Updated May 23, 2014 12:19pm
Seven People Arrested at Protest of Planned Waste Transfer Station
UPPER EAST SIDE — Six women and one man were arrested Friday morning at a protest of the city’s plan to cut down several 30-year-old trees at Asphalt Green as part of its East 91st Street Waste Transfer Station project.
Carol Tweedy, the executive director of Asphalt Green, Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, head of the anti-transfer station group Pledge 2 Protect and Gus Christensen, democratic candidate for the 76th Assembly District, were arrested along with members of other advocacy groups.
“It’s such a travesty that people had to be arrested over this,” said protester Jennifer Rattner, who also heads preservation group Friends of the East River Esplanade.
“Law abiding citizens, some senior citizens, who are trying to protect a park.”
Some protesters blocked the entrance to the construction site before being arrested by the NYPD.
The protest was organized in response to the city’s plan to remove several trees that separate Asphalt Green’s athletic fields from the planned ramp to the transfer station. The city notified Asphalt Green representatives by email Tuesday that they would begin removing trees the following day.
After push back from Asphalt Green and the community, the Department of Design and Construction changed the date to Friday.
Advocates argued that Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia had agreed to commission a study to look at alternate locations for the ramp, which will bisect Asphalt Green’s outdoor recreational areas and that no work should commence until the study had been completed.
“We have met with the city and Sanitation Commissioner and they said that they would look at other locations for the ramp,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney. “This does not feel like they are negotiating in good faith.”
Protesters who live in the immediate area said that roughly 30 police officers were onsite as early as 6:15 a.m. for the 6:30 a.m. protest, which drew dozens of people.
After remarks from elected officials including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Liz Krueger and City Councilman Ben Kallos, police told protesters that they needed to move away from the gate that blocks the entrance to the ramp area.
The police warned protesters three times to step away, according to witnesses. Those that did not move were arrested, while the crowd chanted “No, no, no.”
The seven people arrested were charged with disorderly conduct, according to the NYPD.
“We as a community joined together in a grassroots action to exercise our First Amendment rights,” said Councilman Ben Kallos.
“It’s a dark day for democracy when an administration is arresting seniors and NYCHA residents who are trying to protect a children’s playground from a garbage dump.”