oil spill

More Toxic Secrets In This Rare 1980s ‘Hazardous Neighbors’ Brooklyn Study

hazardous

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

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Newtown Creek polluters alive and well. State officials investigate fresh oil leak.

Photo courtesy of Newtown Creek Alliance

Anyone living in Greenpoint knows whatever lies in the murky waters of Newtown Creek is filled with some seriously nasty cancer-causing stuff: PCBs, VOCs, oil, anti-freeze—the list is endless.  In recent months our little Superfund has had a lot of work done. It was dredged to accommodate a new CSO pipeline and major clean-up efforts are underway to reverse years of heavy pollution. Many say the clean-up is working: Blue crabs are coming back, even birds like the majestic Great Egret are settling upon the creek’s shore. Yet for all this focus on revitalizing the water, sadly Newtown Creek is being polluted once more. State and city officials announced they are investing multiple reports of oil leaks—two of which were reported this month.   Continue reading

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Judgmental NYC, Mutant Alligators, & the “New Williamsburg” x 1000 – The Hook Up (4/18)

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.

Racked did a cool feature on Psyche Jewelry, which is based in Greenpoint and run by the gorgeous and talented Nina Berenato of Bushwick.  Continue reading

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New Proposal Wants to Map Greenpoint’s Toxic Sites

Boat on Newtown Creek.
This boat chilling in Newtown Creek doesn't seem to mind a little oil. Or a lot.

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

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Paragon / Apollo Petroleum Remediation Public Meeting (3/12) #OSOM

Former Paragon Oil Terminal and Apollo Street Property

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

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Traffic Heroes, the Return of GIRLS, & Doughnut Romance– The Hook Up (1/13)

© Sebastian Dooris / Paris Review

Our new mayor vowed to find the killer of local landlord, Menachem Stark.  Police are following a lead from a cell phone that they found strapped to the bottom of his car, possibly a tracking device.

Transportation Alternatives is advocating for increased awareness from drivers to cut down on accidents on dangerous intersections, like McGuinness and Nassau by lowering speed limits to 20 mph (which statistically lessens the likelihood of pedestrian fatalities).  Here’s to hoping. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Landing “One Gigantic Brownfield Site”: If You Care About Greenpoint – Sign This Petition Now!

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.

After you read this please sign the petition!   Continue reading

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11222 Is Getting $19.5 Million – Greenpoint Environmental Funding

Last Thursday was Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund’s third meeting since the $19.5 Million settlement with ExxonMobil – funding which will be granted to environmental projects only within the 11222 area code – that’s us Greenpoint!

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!

Continue reading

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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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“Presumed Inevitability of Gentrification” in Greenpoint: Not The End Of The Story

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

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