public health

What Will Become of the Huxley Envelope Building?

Photo by Joanne Ambia

Many of you might be familiar with the nearby Huxley Envelope building, a fixture sight on the waterfront and an identifier of Greenpoint across the soiled waters of the East River.

Remediation Site Map

But what you might not know is that the entire building and surrounding land could be demolished, as a result of a major brownfield cleanup run by the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which will purge the area of what they refer to as “hazardous waste and/or petrolium.” An official report found that the cleanup will not post a significant threat to public health …but more on that later. Basically the remediation is going to detox the shitty/toxic soil embedded on our deceivingly pretty waterfront, which I’m sure we can all agree, is a good thing. I mean, this soil has to get clean at some point; that’s the whole idea of a Superfund site. Continue reading

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Paragon / Apollo Petroleum Remediation Public Meeting (3/12) #OSOM

Former Paragon Oil Terminal and Apollo Street Property

On Wednesday March 12, 2014 at 7pm, the Greenpoint community is invited to a Public Meeting at Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) to discuss the cleanup plan at Former Paragon Oil Company and Apollo Street Creek Parcels sites – both on the other side of McGuinness (#OSOM). There will be a presentation and Q&A with members of the NYSDEC. If you live or work anywhere near these sites, I strongly urge you to attend this meeting to find out how this remediation will affect your health.  Continue reading

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365 Green Living Pointers: GCEF Fund Proposal – Share Your Tips & Get a FREE Raffle!

UPDATE: all Greenpointers who fill out our Pledge Form below (which requires no purchases AKA FREE!) gets entered into our Raffle for our Holiday Market! (Deadline to enter: 12/8/13, 11:59pm)

You all know about the $19.5 Million settlement from Exxon Mobil that is to be used in 11222 for Environmental Funding, right? And you know the proposals are due on 12/18/13, right?

I want to share with you Greenpointers’ project idea called 365 Green Living Pointers and ask for your feedback and pledge for support. Continue reading

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$19.5 Million Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund Accepting Proposals! Deadline Extended to 12/18

On October 16, 2013 a Request for Proposals went out for the $19.5 million Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) – for projects to improve Greenpoint’s environment. The deadline for submitting has been extended to 12/18/13.

The first workshop was this past week. There is a webinar on 10/30 from 1-2:30pm and another Community Workshop on 11/13 from 6-8pm.

Go to www.gcefund.org for full information on how to apply.

Contact Laura Treciokas or Filip Stabrowski at the GCEF Community Liaison Office at gcefund@northbrooklyn.org or 718-389-9044 ext. 15. for more help or info.

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Greenpoint Landing “One Gigantic Brownfield Site”: If You Care About Greenpoint – Sign This Petition Now!

New York City is a place where change is inevitable, and where change comes, real estate development follows. It would not be the place it is without it.  However the political climate during the Bloomberg era hasput this into hyper drive.

I ran into my old friend Kim Masson, who is part of Save Greenpoint, a group that is spearheading the opposition to Greenpoint Landing. Their issues with the development are not just the obvious ones most people are aware of.  This is not just about being opposed to  new massive buildings that will drive up rents and change the face of the neighborhood.  The implications here are far more drastic.

Greenpoint is a neighborhood that has already dealt with one of the largest oil spills in the history of oil spills, and countless environmental mini disasters. I want people to be more aware of this situation so I decided to interview Kim so she can break this all down.

After you read this please sign the petition!   Continue reading

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“A Cleaner City… is a Mindset” Obtaining Street Trash Cans in North Brooklyn

This article made possible by a donation to the Writer’s Fund Raffle by Greenpoint Heights.

While Greenpoint is known for having numerous waste-transfer stations, super-fund sites, toxic releases, the oil spill and the shit tits, recent stories have addressed the neighborhood’s shortage of trash cans.

Both stories – from DNAinfo and NBC NY – focus on northern Greenpoint, around Franklin & Kent. But this shortage is also found on the eastern side of the neighborhood, particularly on Driggs Ave.

I contacted a number of local activists and organizations about the issue: Continue reading

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Flammable Tap Water? Free Screening of Gasland @ IndieScreen on Saturday 1/26

A totally worthwhile and educational thing to do on a Saturday:

Via GWAPP: “NAGG will be joining Riverkeeper for a screening of the documentary film Gasland at IndieScreen (289 Kent Ave) on Saturday, January 26 from 4-7pm. A question and answer session with Riverkeeper Staff Attorney Mike Dulong will follow the film. Doors open + drinks available at 4pm, the film will start at 5pm A Cinema Bar, IndieScreen is generously offering this as a free event.”

Here is what Greenpointers thinks of fracking.

Another look at the trailer, which really doesn’t do the documentary justice:

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Is Greenpoint Safe? 10 Things To Do

Do you find it ironic that Greenpoint features the environmentally friendly Rooftop Farms, the new McGolrick Park Farmers Market, a Clean Green Dry Cleaners on Nassau Ave, among many other “green” initiatives? Are you confused that the Earth Day Celebration in McCarren Park is sponsored by Exxon Mobil?

We live on top of an oil spill nearly as big as the Exxon Valdez spill, cause by Exxon Mobil that has rendered the Newtown Creek and the soil underneath our homes extremely toxic. Almost half of the city’s trash is stored and processed in North Brooklyn. Part of Greenpoint, near McGolrick Park, sits directly on top of the Meeker Avenue Plumes which releases the vapors of carcinogenic dry cleaning chemicals into the homes of residents. That all sucks!

It seems contradictory to be living in a very toxic place and at the same time celebrate so many eco-friendly things. It’s like eating organic kale in one hand and smoking a cigarette in the other hand.

So what is the point?

Photo: Bill Rhodes

The point is, we live here and we love it!  And we can’t just give up on Greenpoint. Generations ahead of us will call this place home and it’s important we make sure it is cleaner and healthier for them and safe for us in the meantime.

Instead of being cynical about all of these exciting “green” developments in the community, embrace them and look at them as steps towards cleaning up Greenpoint.

A very important panel discussion called Is Greenpoint Safe? was held at Anella recently. Organizers created this important document to help you become more informed and understand how you can get involved, get educated and get Greenpoint on the right track.

A few important things to note: The Newtown Creek is a Superfund Site, if you live above or near the Meeker Ave plumes it’s important to get your home tested right away for harmful fumes, oil spills and bad odors are cause for action, houseplants can help improve air quality in your home, eating food from your garden may be contaminated with lead or other toxic chemical so test the soil, and composting, limiting the use of harmful cleaners in your home and adopting a tree are all ways you can directly act towards making Greenpoint a cleaner and healthier place.

Please discuss and share this information with friends and neighbors.

Continue reading

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Sewage In Our Waterways: Do You Want To Know?

© DNAinfo

I certainly do. Our North Brooklyn Boat Club is out there paddling on the Newtown Creek. I saw a man on the India St pier this morning fishing for Striped Bass. Doesn’t he know it is unsafe to eat fish caught out of East River? Many Greenpointers are still in the dark about the toxicity of the Newtown Creek, the harmful Meeker Ave Plumes and the garbage processing stations near the homes of residents. Here’s another one for you. Did you know that public wastewater treatment plants can dump sewage into our waterways and not tell us about it? But if you click here and take a minute to fill out a form by June 21st that urges lawmakers to pass a new bill called the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, then local media outlets like this one will be informed of when and where sewage is dumped into our waterways and can pass the information on to you. This is important!

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Pastor Marries Choir Girl Who Swims In the Newtown Creek


Everyone gives me crap for not being a “real” Greenpointer, but my great grandfather G. Clement Edson was the pastor of the Noble Street Presbyterian Church (1907-1911) and my grandmother Isabelle was born on Noble St. Why does this matter?

Great Grandpa’s wedding to his new wife, Gertrude, a choir girl, after his first wife, who was my biological Grandmother died, caused major drama in Greenpoint. The old ladies of the church had another dame picked out for him, but old Clem knew who he wanted. A headline in the Brooklyn Eagle read, Pastor Marries Chorus Girl, which is very different from a choir girl. 20th Century Greenpoint gossip! While I need to do some digging in the Brooklyn Eagle archives, the story even made it into the NY Times.

And aside from personal validation, my great grandmother Gertrude used to swim in the Newtown Creek! Explains a lot, right? We can imagine it was a beautiful and natural place back then.

Annie Edson Taylor

This is not the first instance of a ballsy female ancestor taking risks with water. I’m also related to the infamous Annie Edson Taylor, who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Today, I would do that before taking a plunge into the Newtown Creek.

These days if you see someone swimming in the Newtown Creek, (after you lol,) call 911.

The New York State Department of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry completed a public healthy assessment of the Newtown Creek. This is very important information considering the North Brooklyn Boat Club has been taking to the waters! (I just became a member, it’s $30.)

Today, May 4th is the deadline to comment by filling out this form.

Their key findings:

  • 1. DON’T EAT ANYTHING OUT OF THE NEWTOWN CREEK! “Eating fish and crabs taken from Newtown Creek could harm people’s health, due to the chemical contaminants. Women under 50 years old and children under 15 years old should not eat any fish or crabs from these waters. Others should follow the State Health Department advisories for eating fish and crabs taken from this and other waterways. There is currently a fish consumption advisory for Newtown Creek.”
  • 2. DON’T SWIM IN THE NEWTOWN CREEK! “Swimming, scuba diving and wind surfing (with full body immersion) could harm people’s health, due to biological contaminants and physical hazards (underwater debris, commercial boat traffic).”
  • 3. YOU CAN TOUCH IT, BUT WASH YOUR HANDS! “Canoeing, kayaking, boat touring and catch-and-release fishing are not expected to harm people’s health, if people use precautions (properly washing their hands) to avoid swallowing biological contaminants from surface water.
This is an important step for public safety information. Is there any hope for the Newtown Creek? Can it ever be cleaned up back to the time when Great Grandma Gertrude swam there? 

Reference:

Vice’s Toxic: Brooklyn Series 2007
PBS Map of Newtown Creek
PBS Video Series: The City Concealed: Newtown Creek

Brooklyn Genealogy: City of Churches
Brooklyn Genealogy: The Eastern District of Brooklyn; The N Streets
Brooklyn Online: Historic Greenpoint

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