Graham stop, Williamsburg, circa 2005. My mid-20s Brooklyn newbie roommates and I had a garden in our backyard, and we grew tomatoes, sunflowers, peppers and zucchini. But after one of our zucchinis grew to be three feet long*, we started to wonder whether our dirt was actually safe enough to grow anything. Maybe we should have thought about that before we planted. So before you buy any seedlings to get your summer garden going, you should probably find out whether your soil is home to a family of toxic chemicals. This Saturday (4/22) from 10am–2pm you can get your soil tested for free at the Greenpoint Reform Church (136 Milton Street), and NAG (Neighbors Allied For Good Growth) is hosting free soil testing workshops for three upcoming weekends. Here’s the schedule: Continue reading
Neighbors test dust from Sludge Tank demo and find contaminants. Plus info on tonight’s Nuhart Superfund meeting.
The last time we checked in, we were waving bye-bye to our beloved Sludge Tank as it was being demolished to pave way for some of Greenpoint Landing’s grand developments. Now that the demo is over, nearby residents are learning that the construction dust floating in the air, the same dust that entered homes and left residue over a children’s playground, was filled with lead and other harmful chemicals.
Welcome to remediation gone bad, where government agencies hire unscrupulous contractors who do shoddy work and leave us wondering if that odd smell in the air is just in our heads, or if something else is really going on, something infinitely more dangerous. Let me set the record straight—it’s not in your head: The people responsible for protecting our health aren’t doing their jobs. Continue reading
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?
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.
These guys: (left to right) Rowland and Joe’s appropriately named canoe “Shart Attack” embarked from the Sewage Treatment Plant Nature Walk yesterday. The canoe was quite a looker on Driggs as they gave it a good scrub down. We couldn’t help but take a step back when they told us it just came out of the Newtown Creek. Rowland assured us it was a great ride and the water doesn’t look dirty. And, there were signs of life, fish, mussels, clams, ducks and cormorants.
“Did you wear life jackets?”
“Did you wash your hands yet?”
“Not yet,” Joe said as he puffed a smoke.
I guess a ride on the Creek is less harmful than nicotene and unlike the Gowanus, it won’t give you gonorrhea. We have something going for us over here in Greenpoint!
But, just because it’s contaminated doesn’t mean we should give up on the Newtown Creek. As my Mom says, “use it or lose it!” The more we get out there and the more awareness we bring to the problems, the better chance we have of revitalizing the creek.