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Thread: Newtown Creek

  1. #31

    Default thanks for asking - ZippyTC

    Such sentiment might be called “open-space absolutism”—an uncompromising insistence that the waterfront be transformed into parks and public space unsullied by private profit or development.

    Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, once a rundown area of wharves, produce markets, and railroad yards, now features office towers, hotels, housing, parkland, and marinas, along with the National Aquarium, the Baltimore Convention Center, and Harborplace, a bustling complex of restaurants and small merchants. The result has been a revitalization not only of the waterfront but of nearby downtown Baltimore as well—even a transformation of Baltimore’s overall image, making the city into a popular center of tourism and conventions.

    The vital spark came from the private sector. The revitalization took shape back in the late 1950s, when the local business community raised funds for the drawing up of a longterm development plan for Baltimore’s Charles Center area, adjacent to the waterfront. The plan expanded to include the Inner Harbor, and the city government, private developers, and the Baltimore Development Corporation (a public authority) banded together to make it a reality. The development program also benefited from having begun in the 1960s, prior to federal and other environmental rules that would have complicated the demolition of old Inner Harbor piers.

    Last edited by infoshare; November 11th, 2005 at 10:03 PM.

  2. #32


    Pardon me for just skimming through the article, but it was written in 1996, and you have to agree that much has changed in 10 years.

    I don't understand what groups like the River Project are doing to impede access to the river.

    The only mention in the article about environmental groups was in reference to Westway, which it calls "visionary."

    A few points concerning Westway:

    1. Westway was not parkland with buildings in it. It was a real-estate development with some parks. It was BPC all the way to midtown. I live in BPC, and while there is excellent access to the riverfront, the presence of a residential population will invariably lead to conflicts over park uses. I can't speak to the quality of kayak facilities in HRP, but I can tell you what would happen if someone wanted to open a facility along the BPC bulkhead. If HRP is ever completed, it will provide better access and more varied recreational uses than Westway.

    2. The Chelsea Piers would have been demolished for Westway.

    3. Westway would have pushed development further away from existing mass transit without any new transit infrastructure.

    4. The underground roadway would have needed on off ramps at key intersections. Since they could not be reasonably close together, a surface roadway would still be needed to access the street grid.
    What would have happened at rush hour when the tunnel jammed up is the same thing that happens now on clogged highways - take the service road.

    As I see it, no environmental groups are holding up park construction, rather it is the unwillingness of the state and city to allocate funds. Assuming construction starts next year in Tribeca, in a few years there will be completed segments in Clinton, the Intrepid, Chelsea, the Village, and Tribeca.

    I am only disappointed that there has been little movement at Gansevoort and pier 40.

    Such sentiment might be called “open-space absolutism”—an uncompromising insistence that the waterfront be transformed into parks and public space unsullied by private profit or development.
    It is written into the HRP charter, and generally agreed to, that there will be commercial development in the park.

    I don't think I would want a Home Depot on Pier 40.

    The development program also benefited from having begun in the 1960s, prior to federal and other environmental rules that would have complicated the demolition of old Inner Harbor piers
    And I'm positive I wouldn't have wanted to launch a kayak in the Hudson River in the 1960s.

  3. #33

    Default Thanks for asking - ZippyTC

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Pardon me for just skimming through the article, but it was written in 1996, and you have to agree that much has changed in 10 years.

    I don't understand what groups like the River Project are doing to impede access to the river.
    I have found that most of the non-profits on the waterfront are opposed to commercial development.

    The waterfront is a desolate, disused place - except for a few sunny summer weekends - not hardly what I could be. Why - political oppositon.

    The pullic sector, and that means non-profits on the waterfront, are not bringing people (on mass) to our waterfrontl. It could be acheieved. This is not about Westway- Im over that - but thanks for addressing it because the current shabby developments are just another manifestation of the same Ideology that blocked the wesway projedt. But lets, look to the future of the waterfront - from what I see, (and I on it year round) it looks like it going to be a wholly underutilized place.

    For example..........................

    Consider what the Hudson River waterfront from Tribeca to Clinton might look like under a different political and regulatory climate. The Hudson River Park, expanded by landfill and platforms and financed by development sites, would be a recreational and cultural center as important to the city as Central Park. Pier 40, developed as a complex of townhouses, shops, and esplanades, would be one of Manhattan’s most prestigious addresses, the waterfront equivalent of Central Park South. Such development, far from making the shoreline exclusive to a few, would provide revenues for the maintenance of large stretches of parkland and public space. The waterfront would be a tourist attraction, too. On its newly expanded piers, one might find an open-air theater, a new restaurant row, perhaps a stable for horseback riding along a landfill-enhanced shoreline path or a marina with sailboats for rent.

    A glimpse of the West Side’s potential may be found at the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, perched on four piers between 17th and 23rd Streets. The $100 million complex, most of which opened in late 1995, contains television studios and diverse recreational facilities, from a marina to a golf driving range on one pier to two large ice skating rinks on another. A 1.2 mile esplanade that runs along the perimeter of the piers provides free public access to the site’s entire riverfront. The complex is expected to be profitable, producing $25 million in revenue this year and $40 million in 1997, according to projections by its developer, the private Chelsea Piers Management Company. Moreover, Chelsea Piers, located on property owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, will generate over $2 million in annual rent under a 20-year lease, providing revenues for the maintenance of the Hudson River Park.

    Yet Chelsea Piers stands on the Hudson as an isolated success story.

    I have said my piece on this subject - thank you for you post, I will offer no further retort.

    Last edited by infoshare; November 11th, 2005 at 10:40 PM.

  4. #34


    As I stated, the model for your vision is BPC. The cost of landfill and decking would require massive real estate development. The result would be nothing at all like Central Park, but more like Central Park West.

    Nothing wrong with CPW, but I have more access to the park than I do to those buildings.

    Those pain in the ass environmental regulations have cleaned up the river considerably over the last 40 years, when its condition was closer to that of Newtown Creek.

  5. #35

    Default The political opposition to commercial development

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Those pain in the ass environmental regulations have cleaned up the river considerably over the last 40 years, when its condition was closer to that of Newtown Creek.
    This "issue" I am getting at is not about environmental regulations, or a vision of BPC extended, or Westway regrets. The "issue" is the continued political opposition to expanded commercial development in HRPark.

    It is political oppostion that stopped the pier on hudson street from beiing leased out - and it is political opposition that is blocking the "proposed" resturant (see schematic) on pier 25/26. Where is the political opposition comming from.

    One example of such "Vehement Opposition" to commercial development is currently being played-out in the design for piers 25/26. There was a resturant slated to be built on pier 25/26. I know for a fact that this project is meeting heavy opposition at the community boards and from various local non-profit environmental groups. Question-What is wrong with putting a resturant there. I have ask all the regulars there (I know them, and they all know who I am) and I can never get a comprehensible answer as to why there is such vehement opposition to that resturant.

    I would like to see more people using the piers year round. The park is substantially completed now - and it is a windswept desolate place most of the year. With more commercial development will come a "lively and well populated" waterfront - yearround.

    I would like to use the resturant on pier25 as a "case in point" and will continue to follow any news I can get on it. If anyone knows, please jump in - the water is fine.


  6. #36


    and it is political opposition that is blocking the "proposed" resturant (see schematic) on pier 25/26. Where is the political opposition comming from.
    How can you state that there is political opposition and not know where it is coming from? Got a name, organization, news article?

    As stated in this thread, the HRP website mentions a restaurant for piers 25/26. I have heard of no opposition to the restaurant. The complaints I have heard concern changing the character of the piers. In my opinion, this type of opposition is merely a an excuse from people who do not want the area closed during construction. The same sort of opposition was voiced when the renovation of Washington Square was announced.

    A restaurant was planned at pier 84, and that's exactly what is being built now. If you want an answer about piers 25/26, attend the next CB1 Waterfront Committee meeting, on Nov 28th. Only CB1 has community input on piers 25/26.

    The park is not substantially complete. Only 2 of the dozen piers have been rebuilt, and the 2 focal points, pier 40 and Gansevoort, are still undeveloped. It is way too early to measure park usage, but even at this early stage, I would characterize the completed Village section as popular.

    The development choices for the large piers (pier 57 for example) are commercial options.

    Besides the main HRP thread, there are separate threads for piers 40, 54, 57, and 84.

  7. #37

    Default I will go to the other thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    How can you state that there is political opposition and not know where it is coming from? Got a name, organization, news article?

    ABesides the main HRP thread, there are separate threads for piers 40, 54, 57, and 84.
    I wiil say the same, on the developments on the other threads: it seem to all come down to NIMBYsim - a general opposition to building "Anything" : and particularly when it is Private Sector.

    I will bring out this old chesnut of an argument onec again, on the other (on topiic) threads.


  8. #38


    In other words...

    You don't know anything about opposition to the restaurant.
    Statements presented as facts on this forum are usually accompanied by documantation.

    Sorry this thread got diverted off Newtown Creek for nothing.

  9. #39


    I did a job in Newtown Creek as a tugboat crewman 2 years ago.... I took time off from college to make a few bucks doing this, and saw all of the nooks and crannies of NYC's waterways....

    This place was horrific... lots of pollution, the water was so filthy that the captain told us any deckhand who fell overboard was going to the hospital. On our way out with a barge we had kayakers in there!!

    Nooooo kayakers... stay awayyyyyy from Newtown Creek

  10. #40


    October 17, 2006
    Congress Members Seek Action on Newtown Creek

    Three members of Congress stood yesterday next to Newtown Creek in Brooklyn, the site of a massive oil spill 56 years ago, to call for more aggressive steps to clean up a resulting environmental hazard that may still lurk beneath hundreds of homes and businesses.

    Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representatives Anthony D. Weiner and Nydia M. Velázquez said too little has been done since the 1950 spill to reverse the damage and monitor its impact on health and property values.

    “There has been a generation of cover-up,” Mr. Weiner said. Over the years, government studies have concluded that the spill had leaked 17 million gallons of oil under more than 50 acres of Greenpoint.

    Mr. Weiner said the Department of Environmental Protection had been ordered by Congress this summer to conduct a fresh analysis of the problem and submit its findings by next July.

    The joint appearance by Mr. Schumer, Mr. Weiner and Ms. Velázquez came amid heightened concern over the long-term impact of the underground pollution. Although residents of Greenpoint have been aware for decades of oily smells emanating from their yards and basements, the problem resurfaced in the courts in 2004 after members of Riverkeeper, an environmental watchdog group, discovered a large oil slick floating on Newtown Creek and filed suit against Exxon Mobil.

    Last month, state environmental officials and Exxon Mobil reported that they had found elevated levels of a carcinogen, benzene, and an explosive chemical, methane, in vapors near the site of the spill. Mr. Schumer said yesterday that there was no proof that the chemicals were produced by underground oil pollution, but that “the discovery underscores the difficulty” of assessing the full scope of the threat.

    State environmental officials tried to force Exxon Mobil to speed up its timetable, but have so far failed. In June, Denise M. Sheehan, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, said the department had asked the attorney general to “initiate legal action against Exxon Mobil Corporation to ensure that company fulfills its obligation” to clean up the spill.

    Exxon Mobil was the largest of several oil companies that used the Greenpoint site, once a major oil refinery and an oil storage depot until the 1980’s. Under a consent decree it signed with the state in 1990, Exxon Mobil has been pumping out the underground oil in a process that would take decades. So far, 9.3 million gallons have been removed, the company said yesterday.

    Brian Dunphy, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil, said the company had concluded that the methane discovered at the site had recently come from natural gas pipelines, not the underground oil. He said benzene had been found in an industrial area, not in or near anyone’s home, and that Exxon Mobil was conducting more tests to find other pollutants.

    “Complex remediation projects like this where the product to be recovered is underground and not easily accessed simply take time to complete,” Exxon Mobil said in a statement yesterday.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  11. #41

    Default Newtown Creek Information

    The best source for Newtown Creek infomation. Meetings are held in Long Island City or Greenpoint. Sign up to the mailing list for advance notification of 2007 meetings and tours.

  12. #42

    Default Newtown Creek Alliance Meeting Jan 23

    Newtown Creek Alliance

    Next meeting Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Details on the web page:

  13. #43
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    New York Moves Toward Suit Over a 50-Year-Old Oil Spill

    Newtown Creek, looking toward Manhattan. Exxon Mobil and four other companies face possible lawsuits for
    a 50-year-old spill that contributes to its pollution.

    Published: February 9, 2007

    ALBANY, Feb. 8 — New York State moved to sue Exxon Mobil and four other companies on Thursday to force them to clean up a half-century-old spill of millions of gallons of oil lying under the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn and to repair environmental damage inflicted on nearby Newtown Creek.

    The spill, originally several times the size of the Exxon Valdez oil leak, resulted from an accident in the 1950s and lay undiscovered until 1978. In notices of intent to sue that were sent to the five companies, Andrew M. Cuomo, the state attorney general, said that so much oil had leaked into the creek that some samples of its sediment, when dried and weighed, were nearly one-tenth oil.

    The notices also disclosed that an internal study by one of the companies found nearly 100 different pollutants in the creek water or sediment, including benzene, arsenic and lead.

    The other companies receiving the notices were BP, Chevron, KeySpan and Phelps Dodge.

    The state’s action is a sharp turning point in its handling of the spill, which in recent years has occasioned lawsuits by Greenpoint residents, local elected officials and environmental groups. A 1990 agreement between Exxon Mobil and state environmental officials had required the company to recover the spilled oil, but it specified no deadline and required no remediation of either the creek or the polluted soil under Greenpoint.

    About eight million gallons of oil and petroleum byproducts are believed to remain underground, and past soil tests have revealed that the spill releases toxic vapors into the neighborhood above. Mr. Cuomo’s action will seek a far faster pace for recovering the oil, extensive scientific testing to determine damage to the soil and groundwater, and millions of dollars in fines. Cleanup costs could increase the companies’ expense by tens of millions of dollars, Mr. Cuomo’s aides said.

    “This is one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation, larger than the Exxon Valdez and slower in the cleanup,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.

    “Exxon Mobil must and will be held accountable. The toxic footprint of Exxon Mobil is found all over this area. It is Exxon Mobil’s oil that remains under the homes and businesses. And it is Exxon Mobil that has dragged its feet and done as little as possible to address the dangers that it created.”

    According to the notices, Exxon Mobil’s current mechanisms for recovering the spilled oil have, as a side effect, discharged yet more pollutants into the creek, a process that the company has been aware of for years, the notices say. A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said on Thursday that Exxon Mobil had also been reselling some of the recovered oil, even as it allowed the creek to become more polluted.

    Barry Wood, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil, said the company had not received the notices. In a statement, he said the company had already helped recover more than 9.3 million gallons of the petroleum products.

    “While the cost of remediation at the site is confidential, Exxon Mobil is committed to remediation of the site, and we have been aggressive in our efforts and have made significant progress,” Mr. Wood said.

    He added that the company remained committed to its 1990 agreement with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

    “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and have committed substantial resources toward cleaning up the site,” he said.

    “Complex remediation projects such as this, where the product to be recovered is under ground and not easily accessible, takes time to complete.”

    Phelps Dodge operated a copper smelting plant on the creek’s north bank, in Queens, where studies have found heavy metals and other pollutants.

    Companies later acquired by KeySpan owned gas processing facilities along the waterway that contaminated the creek’s sediments with some of the same pollutants and other toxic chemicals, according to the notices.

    Companies later acquired by Chevron and BP operated storage or refinery facilities along the creek that leaked oil into the ground, according to the notices.

    Together, the notices significantly widen the scope of state legal action concerning the creek, a dirty, 3.5-mile-long estuary that marks Brooklyn’s northern border and flows into the East River. Local politicians said yesterday that they believed Mr. Cuomo’s actions would pave the way for a long-overdue cleanup of the creek and its transformation into a recreational waterway.

    “The Brooklyn-Queens waterfront has the potential to be New York’s Gold Coast, with sparkling towers, schools, parks and libraries,” said Eric Gioia, a City Council member whose Queens district abuts the creek. “Cleaning Newtown Creek is critical to that vision.”

    Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who took over investigation of the spill from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation last year when he was attorney general, praised Mr. Cuomo’s decision.

    “This is an important day for the people of Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” Mr. Spitzer said. “It is imperative that Exxon Mobil and the other companies responsible for this pollution be held fully accountable.”

    When first discovered, the spill was estimated at 17 million gallons of oil and oil products spread over 100 acres. Currently, the spill covers about 55 acres.

    For years, Greenpoint residents have watched as environmentalists battled state officials and the companies responsible for the oil. In 2004, Riverkeeper, an environmental group, decided to file its own lawsuit against Exxon Mobil.

    The following summer, soil tests performed by the group showed toxic fumes coming from the ground over the spill. That caused a second lawsuit by about two dozen Greenpoint residents.

    Both suits are active, but local officials and environmental groups said Mr. Cuomo’s move would put significant new pressure on Exxon Mobil.

    “They have managed to manipulate and work with previous administrations and enlist their help in avoiding a serious remediation,” said Alex Matthiessen, the president of Riverkeeper. “Attorney General Cuomo’s notice letter brings that to a screeching halt.”

    Federal laws require Mr. Cuomo to give the companies advance notice of his intent to sue them, and to allow the companies to avoid the suits by acting quickly.

    BP, Chevron, KeySpan and Phelps Dodge have been cooperating with state officials to clean up their own properties, according to Robert E. Hernan, an assistant attorney general who heads Mr. Cuomo’s environmental enforcement unit.

    But Exxon Mobil may prove more resistant. According to the notices, the attorney general’s office recently approached the company and asked it to take responsibility for stopping continuing leaks at one of two sites it owns.

    The company declined, the documents state, and Mr. Hernan predicted that it would fight the new action in court.

    “Our expectations are not high,” he said.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  14. #44


    So, let's see ... how does it go? If the state wins, Exxon cleans up, huh?

    Or maybe ExxonMobil appeals or drags its heel for a couple more decades, and then everyone lets it subside back into simmering inactivity.

    So maybe it stays this way forever.

    There are two entirely separate issues here, and they need to be un-linked: 1. cleaning up and 2. deciding who pays for it. The former can be done now, the latter is likely to take decades (or forever).

    If the state feels this has to be done at all costs, they should do it now and sue ExxonMobil to recover the cleanup's cost. That way the decades of trying to recover the cost will be blessed with a cleaned-up creek teeming with development --even if the state loses.

    The other way, the creek stays polluted and undeveloped till the distant time when the final appeal on payment responsibility is exhausted. And there's no guarantee the state will win.

    And if the state loses: the state either pays for it anyway, taking decades to accomplish it and find the funds-- or the state discovers it isn't so important to clean up after all (sour grapes).

    Just do it now, Spitzer, and sock Exxon for the cost.

    If --a half century from now-- the government fails to recover the clean-ups cost, there'll be a half-century of Gold Coast tax revenue and a grateful citizenry for a consolation prize.

    Why, the consolation prize alone is worth it.

  15. #45


    Taking it up a notch is exactly the right thing to do.

    That's what happened with GE. A binding agreement was reached, with set dates. The federal EPA has the authority, if the company doesn't comply, to do the work and send them a bill. Work begins this spring, and will take 6 years.

    It's easy to say that the state should do the work (in which case it's almost guaranteed they will not collect one penny), and not have to decide what gets eliminated from the budget.

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