It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the world of toxic chemicals, specifically as they pertain to Greenpoint. First, Neighbors Allied For Good Growth (NAG) released the ToxiCity Map to bring confusing, widely scattered publicly available data together into one cohesive document. Now, we’re bringing you the long-lost 1980s factory-to-factory survey of Greenpoint and Williamsburg by Hunter College, a study that many lifetime Greenpoint residents say they couldn’t find or easily access until now.
It reveals the former locations and quantities of reactive chemicals — the kind that explode when they make contact with water, such as cyanide. In many cases, they’re shockingly close to residential buildings in Brooklyn’s priciest real estate drag. From speaking with a NAG member at the map release event, I also found that the “Hazardous Neighbors” study contains information that’s not available in the ToxiCity Map. Continue reading →
Curbed tipped us off to this offensive map of stereotypes and cliches around the city, created by Joe Larson and posted on his blog, Judgemental Maps. Greenpoint is dominated by “OIL SPILL, Polish People, and Really Cool Coffee Shop”– not a terrible summary. Best of all though is the “Nuclear Industral (spelled wrong) Cesspool.” Even if the makers of this map couldn’t spell the word “industrial,” they did label Newtown Creek as “Mutant Alligators,” which is entirely accurate. If you’re offended, remind yourself that this is a map of STEREOTYPES, not accurate statistical facts.
One of the first things I learned after moving to Greenpoint in 2011 was that The Mark Bar gives out free bagels on Sundays. Or at least they used to. (Does this still happen? Asking seriously). The second thing I learned was that Newtown Creek, which I walk over every day to get to the 7 train, is home to one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history. Over the last couple of decades anywhere from 17 to 30 million gallons of oil have escaped from ExxonMobil’s refinery and storage facilities underneath Greenpoint and leaked into the soil and water surrounding North Brooklyn. Continue reading →
On Wednesday March 12, 2014 at 7pm, the Greenpoint community is invited to a Public Meeting at Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) to discuss the cleanup plan at Former Paragon Oil Company and Apollo Street Creek Parcels sites – both on the other side of McGuinness (#OSOM). There will be a presentation and Q&A with members of the NYSDEC. If you live or work anywhere near these sites, I strongly urge you to attend this meeting to find out how this remediation will affect your health. Continue reading →
New York City is a place where change is inevitable, and where change comes, real estate development follows. It would not be the place it is without it. However the political climate during the Bloomberg era hasput this into hyper drive.
I ran into my old friend Kim Masson, who is part of Save Greenpoint, a group that is spearheading the opposition to Greenpoint Landing. Their issues with the development are not just the obvious ones most people are aware of. This is not just about being opposed to new massive buildings that will drive up rents and change the face of the neighborhood. The implications here are far more drastic.
Greenpoint is a neighborhood that has already dealt with one of the largest oil spills in the history of oil spills, and countless environmental mini disasters. I want people to be more aware of this situation so I decided to interview Kim so she can break this all down.
The meeting at the Warsaw was well organized and very informative. There was a vibrant and packed house of community members and organizers who were eager to learn how to apply for funding. ExxonMobil was not present and it was mentioned that they were asked not to attend the meeting as they don’t have a say in how the funds will be used.
Highlights were at the end of the meeting, during the Q & A – obviously. One young woman stood up and spoke about her non-profit that aims to create a spiritual synergy with the environment, which got a priceless eyeroll from a woman in a Jets Jersey. More importantly questions were asked in regards to bio-remediation projects and Stephen Levin mentioned the importance of funding for public health surveys. The meeting broke up when an elderly man stood up and ranted about the waterfront towers, asking if they are for the rich and whether normal people will get screwed. Gotta love it!
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.
Two new articles about gentrification and environmental activism in Greenpoint, appearing in The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, argue that the neighborhood is challenging the typical narrative that gentrifying neighborhoods will inevitably force out all long-term residents to make way for a gold coast of newly arriving gentrifiers.
The articles, by Winifred Curran (Department of Geography, DePaul University) and Trina Hamilton (Department of Geography, SUNY University at Buffalo) advocates a “just green enough” idea that “makes room for continued industrial use and blue-collar work, where cleanup does not automatically or exclusively lead to the ‘parks, cafes, and a riverwalk’ model of a green city.”
“Just green enough” coincides with “just clean enough,” wherein “as much of the environmental hazard as possible is removed in order to assure community health while still allowing for industrial uses on the waterfront for the explicit purpose of maintaining the area’s working-class population.” Continue reading →