Several recent developments with Newtown Creek provide the opportunity for Greenpoint denizens to give feedback.

First, Newtown Creek Alliance shared on Instagram that the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation “is considering changing Newtown Creek’s Water Quality Standards.” The NCA encourages locals to submit their comments on how they recreationally use the Creek. If the standards are lowered, NCA says  that “recreators would be left uninformed of contact risks and underprotected.” 

The water quality at Newtown Creek is currently classified as SD. “The best usage of Class SD waters is fishing. These waters shall be suitable for fish, shellfish, and wildlife survival,” according to the NYSDEC.

Add your comments before 11:59 p.m. on November 28.

In October, the US Army Corps of Engineers released an over 500-page report on coastal resiliency for the NY and NJ Harbor. While they considered multiple approaches, the USACE ultimately released a $52 billion plan that sparked concern from the NCA, who found that the plan lacked consideration of a broad range of approaches for resiliency.


“One massive in-water barrier and gate is proposed near the mouth of Newtown Creek, which will fundamentally change the flow of waters to and from the Creek,” said the NCA in one of several critiques on their website. “The structure, as proposed, would reduce the existing 400’ wide opening to just 130’. We need to better understand how this permanent restriction to water flow would impact the Creek’s water quality, sediment deposition, fish and marine wildlife passage, Superfund remedies, as well as maritime and recreational use near the mouth.”

Concerned residents are advised to stay tuned for a more formalized letter of opposition and more guidance on how to provide public commentary on the project, which will last until January 6, 2023. In the meantime, the NCA has encouraged reading reporting from THE CITY and Gothamist, in order to gain a better understanding on what this plan means.

Join the Conversation


  1. Boy, this seems like a very complex and confusion problem to solve (basically, we’re talking about the construction of flood gates), and the proposed solution sounds like a lot of time/effort/$$$ for something that ultimately might not work. From the CITY link:

    “It would also be one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city’s history. The scale of the proposal is comparable to the $14.5 billion system of levees, flood gates and seawalls that the Army Corps built along 133 miles of New Orleans coastline, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In 2019, just 11 months after its completion, that system was deemed insufficient and in need of upgrades due to subsidence and rising sea levels.”

    Especially read that last sentence. : 0 We could end up in the same situation here. I live in N Greenpoint, just a few blocks from the cul de sac that ends on Newtown Creek so I’ve got a horse in this race. Still, there are environmental concerns and shoreline aesthetics to be mindful of (no one wants this area going back to looking like an industrial wasteland once again), so … the proposed solution doesn’t really seem to be one (and there’s no guarantee it’ll be viable in the long run, anyway), and there doesn’t seem to be a viable alternative to suggest/propose instead. I’ve heard long time residents in the historical district (on Guerney Street, where I used to live) complaining about basements flooding whenever there’s a heavy duty rain storm, never mind a Sandy-like storm. We’re very close to sea level here.

    What to do … what to do ….

  2. New York City’s coastline stretches a total of 520 miles and is longer than the coastlines of Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined! It’s impossible to build a dam or dike or gates that truly protect us. There is simply too large and complex an area of extrances exits, inlets and bays. The few flood gates that are proposed are just a wasteful & no-win game of whack-a-mole, played out on the giant [prpissieve that is our coastline. It’s a a whack-a-mole game that might divert water fromone area a bit, but which will omevitbly send that water elsewhere and worsen flooding ithere (assuming it works at all). An example would be the completely unprotected area of Bushwick Creek, lying just south of the proposed Newtown Creek flood gates, and which leads directly into large residential and industrial areas of Greenpoint & Williamsburg that ae at sea level – and used to be swamp land. Newtown Creek itself depends on daily tides to (poory) flush out the creek. If we reduce the entrance to the creek by 3/4 with a flood gate (as proposed), we will never clean up this superfund site and instes we will foster stagnant & putrid waters, especially with the Newtown Creek Sewage Treament plant spewing overflow sewage into the creek every single time it rains. We’d be better off spending these billions in trying to divert those rare storms like Sandy, instead of insanelly trying to divert the mighty Atlantic Ocean itself. Or better yet (and only half in jest). why not spend these same billions on filling Newtown Creek wth concrete. Flooding of inland areas would be eliminated, and we’d get tons of recreational parkland, just like the former Statem island garbage dump, that was decommissioned and capped in Great Kills. And we’d have no need for briges to reach Long Island City and beyond! But no, still we build more and higher and denser, right on the waterfront. What fools these mortals (and greedy real estate developers) be. Let’s move en masaw to beautifil inland New Jersey already 🙂 and invite the Lenope to return to their native homelands…..

  3. If for some unfathomable reason you might actually want to publish my rant about the proposed multi-billion dollar Newtown Creek flood gates, I meant to say “porous sieve” when referring to the NYC coastline – the coastline on which we want to play this outrageuously expensive and no-win game of gwack-a-mole flood gates.

  4. It is so important not to allow the water quality standards on the Newtown Creek to be lowered. City, state and federal agencies as well as waterfront business owners have known for years that people wade, swim, fish, crab, boat in these waters. I’ve witnesses all of these and partook in some of those activities. And I have photos to back that up. Even though all knew that community health was suffering, it took until a few years ago for this contaminated body of water to be declared a Superfund site, even though people recreate in, work by or live by the creek. Now that there’s money being put into the cleanup of the creek, these entities want to scale back human and urban wildlife standards and protections. Why? For developers? It certainly doesn’t benefit us. We should be looking to raise the bar, not lower it! People whose families have suffered lifetimes of environmentally linked diseases and people new to the area want the water body to be healthy and whole.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *