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.
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.”
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?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?