Newtown Creek

Greenpoint’s Last Colonial Building: The Duryea House

Meeker Ave Duryea House (Brooklyn Public Library archives)

The Duryea House, a 240-year-old Greenpoint landmark, was sadly destroyed in the days before New York awakened to its own history. The original colonial structure stood on the banks of Newtown Creek until 1921, before it was demolished, an unpardonable offense to local history. No building in local history survived for as long as this piece of early colonial history.

The farmhouse at 418 Meeker Ave was built about 1681; the lower part was constructed of stone with defensive features that allowed the residents to shoot at their Native American enemies who were still a feared presence locally at the time of its construction.

Humphrey Clay, for whom some believe our Clay street is named, operated a ferry across Newtown Creek near the building as early as 1670 and Clay probably erected the Duryea house. In later times a primitive bridge crossed the creek and after 1812, the Newtown and Bushwick Road Company, which was incorporated in 1814, built a bridge on piles. In 1836 the Newtown Road Company Bridge and Turnpike Company was incorporated and built a toll upon stone piers and constructed a shell road through Bushwick. This road was once known as the North Road, but now is Meeker Avenue. The charge to cross the bridge was a penny, hence it was dubbed “The Penny Bridge.” Continue reading

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Amazon Eyes Long Island City For HQ2

LIC waterfront with new development (courtesy of Joe Mabel)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been intensely lobbying Amazon to locate its HQ2 in Long Island City. Gov. Cuomo jokingly offered to rename Newtown Creek ‘Amazon Creek’ on the condition that the corporate giant agreed to choose LIC. He even humorously offered to change his name to ‘Amazon Cuomo’ to entice the corporate giant to choose Long Island City.

It seems that Cuomo’s intense lobbying may have borne fruit, according to a Monday report in the New York Times. The Times reports that Amazon has decided not to create one mega headquarters, but to divide the new headquarters in two. One of those locations, according to the article is in LIC. The other location Amazon has chosen is Crystal City, Virginia, in the greater Washington D.C. Area. The Times, however, did strike a cautionary note, though, stating that the company has made no final decision. Continue reading

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Last Call for Halloween “Haunted Paddle” on Newtown Creek

Cthulhu Canoe Haunted Paddle (North Brooklyn Boat Club)

Due to the heavy rain last weekend, the North Brooklyn Boat Club has some tickets available for the fifth annual Haunted Paddle with multiple sessions beginning Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m.

Founding NBBC member Jens Rasmussen explains: “The North Brooklyn Boat Club’s Annual Cthulhu Haunted Boat Rides sold out (like it does every year) but this weekend’s weather forced us to move to Halloween night. We now have last minute tickets available! If you didn’t make plans, you can now snag tickets to this HP Lovecraft themed Halloween canoe ride and experience the cosmic horror that resides in the abandoned recesses of Newtown Creek.”

The paddle starts at the NBCC’s 51 Ash St. launch near McGuinness Blvd, and some tickets are still available for the 7 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:20 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. paddles.

 

 

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Check out the Pop-Up “Park” on the Pulaski Bridge!

Pop-up park on the Pulaski Bridge! (via Lucy Levine)

With some turf and a table, the Pulaski Bridge pedestrian lane just got a little greener. A small “park” installation has been slotted into the span’s scenic-overlook which offers unobstructed views of Newtown Creek. Continue reading

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Newtown Creek Alliance Partners with Greenpoint Students this School Year

Preparing the NCA curriculum, via Newtown Creek Alliance

Happy first day of school, Greenpoint! This year, the local conservationists at Newtown Creek Alliance are bringing the creek to the curriculum as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Greenpoint EcoSchools initiative.

NCA will pioneer its new STEM Urban Ecology curriculum in the four Greenpoint Public schools: PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126. The learning modules and field trips, designed for elementary and middle school students, cover Flora and Fauna relationships, invasive and native species, topography, water and soil quality, ecological health and legacy and ongoing pollution sources.

Each lesson will culminate in a “design based applied learning project,” and NCA staff will serve as expert guides, leading classes through related activities and offering guest lecturers in the classroom.  Continue reading

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Previewing, Pumping and Polluting – The Hook-up (8/10)

Happy Friday, Greenpoint!

There has been much in the news this week about L-pocalypse, what with this weekend’s L closure, and the city’s cap on ride-share vehicles, but that’s not all. On Monday, the MTA showed of it’s L-ternative bus routes to city officials, who rode public transit throughout the two-mile route.

While there are few things as dirty as the way the MTA has been handling the L-train closure, it turns out that one quarter of the city’s most polluted sites are in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.  Continue reading

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Do the Time Warp: When Greenpoint was the Second Largest Industrial Center in the US!

American Manufacturing Co. Circa 1919, via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Hey Greenpoint history nerds! Welcome to the second installment of “Do the Time Warp!” This post will check in with Greenpoint’s industrial past, when Newtown Creek was mightier than the Mississippi, and instead of a BQX trolly, Greenpointers were united in their demand for “a marginal railroad which shall extend all along the Brooklyn Waterfront from Bay Ridge to Newtown Creek, with spurs into all of the big factories.”  Continue reading

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Newtown Creek is getting a New Grand Street Bridge

The Grand St. Bridge
The Grand St. Bridge, via NYC.gov

The Grand Street Bridge has been shuttling New Yorkers between Maspeth and Brooklyn since 1903. But, after 115 years of service, the span across Newtown Creek needs a facelift. To make it happen, the Department of Transportation has requested proposals for a new Grand Street Bridge, and for demolition of the old structure.   Continue reading

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North Brooklyn Boat Club Public Paddle This Saturday (7/14)

North Brooklyn Boat Club

O captain, my captain! This Saturday from 12pm-4pm, the North Brooklyn Boat Club is having their Public Paddle Series. Expect an informal gathering with landlubber’s grub, frosty beverages, fellowship with friends and neighbors, and paddling in Newtown Creek! They’ll be hosting canoe tours with amazing views of the city, and this is a unique way to learn more about the waters that border our neighborhood. RSVP is not necessary, just show up! Plus, it’s kid and pet friendly.

North Brooklyn Boat Club Public Paddle
Saturday, July 14th | 12pm-4pm
@ the boatyard | 51 Ash Street (under the Pulaski Bridge)
FREE

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Newtown Creek is Getting a New Living Dock

Working and Learning on the Living Dock. Via Newtown Creek Alliance
Working and Learning on the Living Dock. Via Newtown Creek Alliance

Do you feel alive, Greenpoint? Well, the valiant conservationists at Newtown Creek Alliance certainly do. The good folks at NCA have announced plans for a second Living Dock in Newtown Creek. The Living Dock is a “floating structure designed to provide valuable marine habitat within a heavy polluted and largely bulkheaded waterway.”

The original Living Dock was installed here in Greenpoint at the North Henry Street Public Basin in 2015, and its brand-new sister dock will be built this month and installed in the English Kills tributary of the creek.  Continue reading

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