Billion Oyster Project
Next week, Tuesday March 7th from 7-10pm local watering hole The Diamond (43 Franklin St.) is hosting a Waterfront Defenders Party to benefit this trifecta of fantastic local organizations— The Billion Oyster Project, Newtown Creek Alliance and Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park. Proceeds from beverage sales will be donated and split evenly between them. Meet guest bartenders from these great organizations while learning more about what they do and how you can get your hands dirty!
It seems that Greenpoint is in the midst of an oyster invasion. The Bounty (131 Greenpoint Ave.) and other places now offer dollar oysters during happy hours. Northern Territory (12 Franklin St.) hosted an Oysterfest about a week ago. And The Brooklyn Barge (3 Milton St.) and Transmitter Pier is home to the Billion Oyster Project in the East River. But actually oysters are nothing new to New York or Greeenpoint. If you want the best history of this tasty mollusk read Mark Kurlansky’s book The Big Oyster. It seems before we polluted our New York waterways there were massive oyster beds. In 1860, 12 million oysters were sold in New York markets; by 1880, our oyster beds were producing a mind boggling 700 million mollusks a year!
It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when New York’s waterways were teeming with oysters. They were not only great for eating but also served a very vital function in our ecosystem: they helped filter the water. Alas, they ended up being too good as food, were overharvested, and any beds that did survive were seriously harmed or killed by the extreme amount of pollution poured into all of our waterways over the past 300 years. But there is an organization trying to bring the oysters back (but no, not for eating): Billion Oyster Project (BOP). BOP serves two purposes; it engages students in STEM education programs while also working to restore our harbor. BOP was actually founded in 2010 as an extension of student projects at the New York Harbor School on Governors Island. Continue reading