Newtown Creek Alliance

Living Dock Begins

July 25th, 2014

photo (9)

Potential substrates and plants to include in the Living Dock.

We have begun work on the first prototype of our Living Dock project (funded by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund). Aimed to provide needed habitat to a variety of flora and fauna native to Newtown Creek, the dock will support small individual units underwater, each with a different substrate material or plant. Living Dock version 1.0 is an EZ-Dock configuration with cavities in the middle for pilot individual units (old milk crates). We will be installing version 1.0 in early August to give time for animals and plants to colonize and grow and continually monitor their progress on a regular basis. Over the winter we will finalize plans for Living Dock 2.0 and transfer the growing units once construction is completed in spring 2015.

photo (10)Living Dock version 1.0 ready to launch.

bird watching

Below are a number of unique Newtown Creek tours happening in the next few days, weeks and months. Some are free, some are low cost. Stay posted for more signup info as it becomes available!

1. Bike Tours with Green Shores
When: Saturday July 26th, 11am-1pm
What: Join Green Shores NYC, Recycle-A-Bicycle, NCA, and Greater Astoria Historic Society’s Richard Melnick for a leisurely paced bike ride through the creek side neighborhoods of Hunters Point, Dutch Kills, Blissville and Greenpoint. Owning a bike is not a pre-requisite for joining, but registering is! Also, if you haven’t taken the Green Shores Newtown Creek survey do so here!
Signup via Eventbrite

2. Mitch and Mai Tours
When: July 26th and 27th
What: Join NCA historian Mitch Waxman for two separate walking tours through neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek. Saturday is a tour through the back tributaries of the creek, run with Atlas Obscura. Sunday is a walk through historic and changing Greenpoint.
Signup: Ticket purchases are required for both. Saturday info here. Sunday info here.

3. Open House NY tours of Exxon remediation site
When: October 11th, times TBA
What: A very unique opportunity to get a first hand tour through the Exxon-Mobil remediation site in Greenpoint. Learn the ins and outs of cleaning up the 2nd largest oil spill in US history and learn more about the brownfields and industrial pollution surrounding much of Newtown Creek.
Signup: Via the OHNY website, stay posted for details.



The Newtown Creek Alliance is grateful to have two projects included amongst a pool of 18 that will receive funding from the first round of the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund. We are very excited to get underway with these projects (see descriptions below) that will advance our mission of restoring, revealing and revitalizing Newtown Creek. Both projects will take steps towards improving physical conditions that negatively impact the health of the creek: the lack of proper habitat for native organisms and open green space. More details about these projects will develop in the coming months; if you are interested in receiving updates on the projects please sign up for our newsletter (on the left side of this page).

North Henry Street Planning
Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) will receive $24,735 (and contribute $1,000 in matching funds) to research and develop a plan for transforming the end of NorthHenry Street into a publicly accessible and ecologically beneficial open space and shoreline. Located on the ‘No Name’ tributary of Newtown Creek, the site consists of 20,000 square feet of city-owned upland and degraded shoreline offering open space, public access to the water, and an opportunity to reduce stormwater runoff to the creek. The grant will enable NCA to inventory existing plant and animal species, assess soils, shoreline stability and the hydrodynamics of the property, as well as to research regulatory and access issues related to planning the site’s development.

Living Dock
Newtown Creek Alliance will receive $24,980 (and contribute $4,300 in matching funds) to design and build a biological “living dock” as a prototype for combining remediation strategies, education, and public access to Newtown Creek’s aquatic environment. The 200 square foot dock will be placed on the eastern shore of the ‘No Name’ tributary of Newtown Creek, near North Henry Street. The dock will provide a landing for small boats and critical habitat for indigenous plants and animals that help improve water quality in the creek. The dock will also provide a stage for both research and environmental education.

Surf and Turf Tour

In addition to debris removal, landscaping and improving accessibility to  the Plank Road site in Maspeth, part of our ongoing work also includes public tours to the site for people to learn about and see, firsthand, the pressing issues that surround Newtown Creek. We call them ’surf+turf’ tours – with one group traveling via foot, and one via boats across different routes. The walking tour will converge with the canoe tour as a celebratory joining of forces in appreciating the border of water and land and importance of historic and rejuvenated public spaces like Plank Road. The next tour will be May 31st. These tours are being offered for free and ticketing will be available on a first come first serve basis via Eventbrite. Please read the full descriptions (below) of each tour to confirm that you are able to participate as required.

Turf Tour (25 spots available)
The walking tour, led by Newtown Creek Historian Mitch Waxman and Mai Armstrong, will reveal the rich history of the area as they cross from East Williamsburg in Brooklyn into Maspeth in Queens. Be prepared for rough terrain and possible heavy truck traffic. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking and weather. Closed-toe shoes are highly recommended. Bathroom opportunities will be found only near the start of the walk. Reserve a spot here.

Surf Tour (10 spots available)
The canoe tour will be led by the North Brooklyn Boat Club and depart from their dock in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Trained canoe guides will lead the group up the creek to the Plank Road site and give a thorough safety overview beforehand to limit the risk of exposure to surface waters. All participants must sign a waiver of liability, wear a lifejacket and follow other safety protocols of the NBBC. All participants should be prepared for physical activity and are encouraged to wear non-cotton clothing that breathes well, such as wool or synthetic fabrics.. The trip leaders reserve the right to cancel the trip depending on weather conditions. All equipment provided by the NBBC. Reserve a spot here.

Photos + Press of Previous Plank Road Work

Newtown Creek Alliance Pushes to Cleanup Plank RoadQueens Ledger
WTF is Plank Road?
Photos from April cleanup days - NCA Facebook Page
Flickr set from OHNY Turf Tour - bethanybeech

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