SL and I went on a three hour tour of the Newtown Creek on Sunday. Newtown Creek is often called one of the "most polluted waterways" in America, and we are lucky enough to have it right in our neighborhood. The tour was organized by Riverkeeper, The Newtown Creek Alliance, and the Working Harbors Committee, and it was a fascinating (and smelly) trip into New York's working industry.
It's almost unbelieveable, seeing the state of the waterfront today, to realize that this area was considered a hunting and fishing paradise up until the 1850s, crammed with oysters, fish, and wildlife. As we traveled, the boat's propellers dredged up the smelliest sludge you can imagine from the bottom of the creekbed (called "Black Mayonnaise" by the harbor crew). The creek is shallower than it was back in the early 1900s, when it was an extremely busy waterway into the geographical center of NYC. The creek is no longer dredged because of all the toxins in the sediment. No one has a good, safe way to dispose of the mess. But there it sits, suffocating any fish that dare swim deeper than a couple inches below the surface.
Images below, and more here.
Sign seen from the entrance to the Creek, from the East River.
The point that the name "Hunter's Point" comes from. UN in the background.
Abandoned barge. People still dump unwanted items into the creek to this day. This was towed in by parties unknown and left. I did not know barges had styrofoam interiors to keep them afloat.
Civil War era storehouse.
Rusty industrial goodness.