newton creek

Long-Awaited Pulaski Bridge Bike Path to be Unveiled This Week

After a lot of complaints, plenty of false starts, and a two-and-a-half-year wait, it looks like we are finally getting that Pulaski Bridge bike path. The path will connect the increasingly popular waterfront neighborhoods of Long Island City in Queens and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

Photo via NYC DOT
Photo via NYC Department of Transportation

The project, backed by Assembly member Joe Lentol, was initiated in response to community complaints about the shared pedestrian and bike path on the six-lane bridge over Newton Creek.

In 2013, when the project was first approved, the NYC Department of Transportation released a report, which revealed that there had been a 106% increase in cyclists over the Pulaski Bridge in the previous four years, versus a 47% increase in pedestrians. As traffic increased over the bridge, the width became a cause for concern. The addition of a separate bike path will improve safety for bikers and pedestrians alike. Continue reading

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Recommended Screenings for the Greenpoint Film Festival (3/17 – 3/20)

Film still from opening night screening

The Greenpoint Film Festival starts tomorrow, and here is our shortlist of recommended movies for you.

The promise of a park in Bushwick Inlet has intrigued Greenpoint residents for a long time. So it is appropriate that festivities begin on Thursday (3/17) at 8 pm with Can Video Bring Us Our (Missing) Park, a presentation of  video footage with a live discussion about our ongoing struggle. Continue reading

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Tapeheads, Flux Thursday, Vanishing Act – What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (4/08–4/14)

There are more events in our weekly calendarSubmit Greenpoint events, too!

11140353_10204885194107726_5955660928276789425_nWEDNESDAY 4/08
^ The Pitchfork Review Issue #5 Release Party @ Word (126 Franklin St) 7pm, FREE, Featuring contributor T. Cole Rachel in conversation with Fred Schneider of the The B-52’s, RSVP
* Tapeheads @ Richlane Social Club (595 Union Ave) 9:30, FREE, A gathering of tape collectors, labels, and enthusiasts, with cassette DJ sets by Body Building / Champagne Sequins / Yellow Maven, RSVP
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GCEF Applicant Workshop Networking Event (11/13)

In case you still haven’t heard, Greenpoint is getting $19.5 million in funding from Exxon Mobile in retribution for that little (huge) oil spill that polluted our soil and waterways many years ago. The best part of this whole settlement is that the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund has opened up the floor to proposals from locals (that’s YOU) who have projects in mind to improve the neighborhood’s environmental landscape, as well as education and awareness about environmental concerns. You don’t have to be an environmental scientist or urban planning expert to apply–you just need to have an idea for creating a meaningful impact.

The next workshop/networking event is taking place on Wednesday 11/13, from 6:30-8:30pm. Reserve your spot HERE.

From the GCEF: The workshop will provide prospective applicants with a broad overview of the grant program, the online system, and elements of a successful application. Immediately following the workshop, there will be a networking event where attendees can meet and network with others interested in working together on a project proposal for GCEF funding — including community members who may have similar project ideas as well as technical experts who have know-how to offer to a project.

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Serious Coffee, Happy Anniversary, Man vs. Bus, Transfer Turmoil, Toxic Horror — The Hook-Up (10/28)

Artwork by Tamara Garvey contributor, Chérmelle D. Edwards has a very cool site called smdlr and was featured this week on Serious Eats as one of the best 5 coffee blogs!

A couple who got married in Greenpoint in 1950 and were the first to celebrate their nuptials at the Our Lady of Snow Hall on Graham Avenue, just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. Congratulations, Kay & Joe! (Greenpoint Gazette)

A 35 year old Greenpoint man lunged in front of a B43 bus this week on Manhattan Avenue and miraculously survived. (NY Post)

In case you thought everyone was happy about less garbage coming to Greenpoint, local trash collectors are upset about the reduction of capacity for transfer stations in such places as North Brooklyn. In all fairness, it doesn’t make sense to make it harder to get rid of trash in neighborhoods that are about to build monster condos filled with more rubbish makers. So, don’t build the towers and we’re good.  (Craine’s NY)

And finally… Of all things Halloween in Greenpoint this year that I find the most intriguing and terrifying, it would be sitting in a canoe at night on a horror-themed Newton Creek, but that’s exactly what our friends at the North Brooklyn Boat Club are doing this October 31st. (NY Daily News)

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Community Meeting for Environmental Fund (9/25)

Interested in how you can help make Greenpoint more, well…green? Join the community on 9/25 to get involved in the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, a $19.5 million dollar grant program that will be accepting proposals to improve the Greenpoint environment this Fall.

The $19,500,000 was obtained by the State of New York in a settlement with ExxonMobil in 2011, which required the company to clean up the oil and related environmental contamination that it caused during the Greenpoint Oil Spill. It is the largest single payment of its kind in New York history.

In the late 1970s, oil spills from ExxonMobil’s Greenpoint refinery and storage facility were discovered seeping into Newtown Creek, creating a plume of oil on the water’s surface. Some of this oil dissolved in the groundwater and contaminated surrounding soil. It is estimated that at least 17 million gallons of oil were released underneath Greenpoint, leaving at least 55 acres contaminated.

Improvements will be geared towards local environmental issues such as water quality, groundwater, open space, reduction of toxic pollution, and air quality.  The settlement only covers land clean up, since the creek itself is a Superfund site and is therefore being handled by the Federal government.

More info is available from the Office of the Attorney General.

The meeting will take place at  Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) at 6:30pm.

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Greenpoint Film Festival Day 3: Community, Environment and Tom Jarmusch

In what was an inspired choice of venue, day three of the Greenpoint Film Festival took place at the Newtown Creek Visitors Center with a selection of environmentally and community themed documentaries. Opening the program was the must-see “The Domino Effect” – a very timely chronicle of the ongoing saga of the former sugar plant along the Williamsburg waterfront which was part of the city’s planned rezoning efforts to turn the facility into luxury and “affordable” housing.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol speaks at the Q&A following the screening for "The Domino Effect" at the Greenpoint Film Festival (photo by M. Glasson)

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Newtown Creek Armada, Coastal Clean-up, Capital to Capital Canoe Expedition: What’s New at Newtown Creek?

There’s a whole sludge of events at Greenpoint’s very own Superfund site, Newtown Creek.

State of the Planet, a blog from the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is reporting that the city effort to clean up the polluted waterway is having an unintended effect.

According to a new study the clean up process is releasing sewage bacteria and other particles into the air above the site. The study is one of the first to establish a link between water pollution and air-quality, raising new questions about the health risks posed by dirty water.

Newtown Creek is already a source of combined sewage run-off, and could become even worse due to rising sea levels due from climate change. The New York Times ran an article highlighting the seriousness of the issue this Monday.

Don’t jump off the Pulaski Bridge just yet, Greenpointers. The news at Newtown Creek is not all bad. Here are just a few of the many upcoming community events looking to make the most of revitalizing our waterfront. Continue reading

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We did it! Newtown Creek Tour

In 1929 the NYTimes wrote that, “People do not travel for pleasure on Newtown Creek.” Those of us on the Working Harbor Committee’s “Hidden Harbor Tour” of Newtown Creek disagreed, as we traversed the 3.5 mile long estuary on a sunny Sunday.

The Working Harbor Committee (WHC), a not for profit, hosts boat tours all over the NYC area in what one of the day’s MCs called “the sixth borough” – the rivers and waterways surrounding the city. Sunday’s two-hour tour was hosted by members of the Newtown Creek Alliance, a non-profit community group advocating for development and cleanup along the Creek. New development requires cleanup, NCA claims, and would boost employment for Brooklyn and Queens residents along the Creek; as well as decrease the number of trucks trafficking goods on New York’s roadways. (One barge on the waterways, for example, could replace up to 70 trucks on the roadways.)

As the tour demonstrated, the Creek, which was once the busiest industrial waterway in the US, has a trove of secrets – wonderful and hideous.

Of the hideous, there is the “black mayonnaise” that rests 10 to 15 feet deep on the bottom of the Creek, which is the accumulation of every pollutant ever dumped there. (Since the Creek receives almost zero fresh water and is barely affected by the tides, the pollution literally does not move, even after centuries.) At some points in the Creek, the water has almost zero oxygen in it; at other points, mutant forms of life have been identified. What else can be expected of the place where Astral Oil began and Standard Oil burned down?

Of the wonderful: There is the building on the Queens side which one NCA member claimed was where Thomas Edison was building electric cars in 1915. Further wonderfulness: despite the vast environmental degradation, life has begun to come back to the Creek, largely because certain areas have been abandoned by industry. Birds, mussels and fish – if not abounding – are at least present; while some young people even managed to find a spot for an afternoon palaver.

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