The northeastern section of Greenpoint along Newtown Creek is not exactly well known for its greenery or lush foliage. Most frequently visited by plant workers or student tours, the area is home to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, New York City’s largest treatment facility. Look past the treatment plant and you’ll find a quarter-mile stretch of local plants, trees, shrubs, grass, and wildflowers, affectionately named The Newtown Creek Nature Walk.
This waterfront nature walk along Newtown Creek was designed by environmental sculpture artist George Trakas and built by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program.
Newtown Creek, first inhabited by the Lenape people before the arrival of Europeans, was home to ship-making and lumber industries in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the main design features of the Nature Walk is a nod to this ship-making era. It is a 170-foot-long passage, called the Vessel, that leads to the waterfront. It was constructed to resemble the old ships that were built there.
Additional special features of The Newtown Creek Nature Walk include trash bins shaped like barrels and a large granite table shaped like the cylindrical posts that secure ships in port. There are also sevent stone circles, arranged around a Honey Locust tree, engraved with names for places used by the Lenape people.
The Nature Walk was recently expanded to include three 60-foot long bow-shaped steel vessels with connecting ramps, bridges and a central “turret” seating area designed to connect the existing path to the eastern side of Whale Creek. Bike rakes and water fountains were also added.
There is a fun scavenger hunt that can be downloaded online to add an additional element of adventure to your nature walk.
The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is open from dawn to dusk, weather permitting. It is handicapped accessible, but does not have bathrooms. To help preserve the landscape, pets are not allowed.