Newtown Creek Alliance

Grey to Green Workshops!

August 19th, 2015

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Grey to Green is a collaboration between Newtown Creek Alliance and Open Sewer Atlas NYC to encourage green infrastructure investment and water conservation in a crucial area in the Newtown Creek watershed. Bushwick and its surrounding neighborhoods have huge environmental impacts on water quality in Newtown Creek. As part of the project we will be running three workshops this September to engage people with issues of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), green infrastructure and how this all relates to Bushwick and Newtown Creek. Register for the events below and learn more about the project here.

 

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Workshop 1: CSO 101 - RSVP
Sept 1 – 5:30pm @ Williamsburg Charter High School, Williamsburg
Did you know that rainfall can overwhelm the sewer system and cause a combined sewer overflow (CSO)? That means raw sewage along with pollutants like oil, heavy metals and litter to dump untreated into Newtown Creek.

Workshop 2: Green Infrastructure Grants - RSVP
Sept 8 – 5pm @ Silent Barn, Bushwick
Green roofs and other forms of green infrastructure can help capture rainfall before it enters the sewer system. You can install a green roof on your building for free with a grant from the city.

Workshop 3: Build-your-own Downspout Planter
Sept 20 – 10am @ Boerum Hill Joinery, Ridgewood
If you live in a small building, something as little as a rain barrel or planter can make a big difference. Participants in this workshop will receive materials and learn to build their own planters off the roof downspout.

Check out the Grey to Green website for more background on the project.

NCA historian Mitch Waxman will be leading a number of tours of Newtown Creek in 2015. We will update this page as more tour details and dates are announced.

UPCOMING:

September 13thPoison Caludron
Hosting Organization: Newtown Creek Alliance
Cost: $20

A 2-hour exploration of an area we like to call DUKBO- Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp – where the waste transfer and petroleum districts of North Brooklyn are found along the bulkheads of Newtown Creek. This fascinating tour will take you through around 2 miles of Brooklyn, crosses the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill, and explores the fascinating history of industrial Greenpoint. We will be heading past the Kosciuszko Bridge, reconstruction project as well, but will check it out from a safe distance. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting trek across an industrial section of New York City. Buy Tickets Here.

 

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PAST/SOLD OUT:

August 2nd, Insalubrious Valley
Hosting Organization: Newtown Creek Alliance
Cost: $20
Following the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, we will be exploring the colonial, industrial, and environmental history of the borderland communities. We will encounter century old movable bridges, visit the remains of a 19th century highway, and explore two of the lesser known tributaries of the troubled Newtown Creek watershed. For the vulgarly curious, Conrad Wissell’s Dead Animal and Night Soil wharf will be described

July 12thGlittering Realms
Hosting Organization: Newtown Creek Alliance
Cost: $20
A colonial center and 19th century industrial powerhouse, Greenpoint is a thriving neighborhood surrounded by environmental catastrophe which has been reborn in the 21st century. The walk will explore this ancient North Brooklyn neighborhood and its industrial history as we move inexorably toward the Newtown Creek. The area we will be moving through will be completely altered by real estate development in coming years, come take a look before everything changes. Buy tickers here.

June 7th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Hosting Organization: Newtown Creek Alliance
Cost: $20
In 13 steps, Mitch will show you the then and now of Dutch Kills tributary, once known as the “workshop of the United States.” A central maritime artery of Long Island City, Dutch Kills is surrounded by hundreds of factory buildings, titan rail yards, and crossed by century old bridges – and it’s found just a few blocks away from Queens Plaza. Buy tickets here.

May 31st, #Superfun Boat Tour
Hosting Organization: Working Harbor Committee
Cost: $30
Step aboard a Water Taxi for an on-water two hour tour leaving from Pier 11 (Wall Street) in Manhattan. SOLD OUT.

May 3rd, Down Under Pulaski Bridge Onramp
Hosting Organization: Jane’s Walk
Cost: Free
An intense exploration of Newtown Creek’s Greenpoint and Hunters Point neighborhoods, walking along the East River and over the Newtown Creek. Full info here.

May 2nd,  An Insalubrious Valley
Hosting Organization: Concrete Temple Theatre
Cost: $15
As part of their upcoming theatre production, The Bellagio Fountain has been Known to Make Me Cry, showing at Studio 301 at English Kills, The Concrete Temple Theatre is hosting a number of events related to Newtown Creek. This includes a walking tour with Mitch. Check out all the awesome weekend events and get more tour info here.

 

 

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Greetings and farewell from one of the two Newtown Creek Alliance 2015 summer interns! As I wrap up my time with NCA, I thought this might be a good time to share something of what I have been doing for the past 3 months. I have been involved in a number of projects this summer, including NYC Parks’ TreesCount street tree census, helping with restoration efforts at NCA’s Plank Road site, and producing a radio story about the Greenpoint Oil Spill:

But this post is about my largest project. It is based on HabitatMap’s AirCasting sensor/platform. From the website, “AirCasting is a platform for recording, mapping, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone…” and sensor that clips onto your belt or bag. Throughout this summer, I have walked around Newtown Creek, collecting air quality data with the AirBeam sensor. Among my favorite trips is the canoe journey I made with Willis Elkins (NCA Program Manager), and Sam Wganer (the other intern) down the creek. The entire archive of my summer AirCasting trips live here. Click on the arrow next to “ Sessions Graph” once you have selected a session to better visualize the data. Each session is plotted on a map and includes time, temperature, humidity and airborn particulate matter (a rough measure of air quality)

The clearest correlation I saw in the data is between air quality and time of day. For example, I AirCasted the same walk to the subway each day for three days. The results? The walk I took at 9am on July 10th was within the acceptable range of particulate matter. However, during the the walk I took at 11am the previous day, the air quality was already much worse. The walk I took on July 8th at 5pm, the airborn particulate matter was extremely elevated. This is hardly a sufficient sample size nor have I controlled for humidity and temperature. More testing is definitely in order! However, other longer trips also seem to bear a similar inverse correlation between time and air quality  (remember to open the “Session Graphs” tab!).

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Although I am not able to draw any hard conclusions from the data I have gathered this summer, I have gained invaluable experience in my time with Newtown Creek Alliance. In gathering air quality data, collaborating with Sam on water quality and conducting the tree census for NYC Parks, I have contributed to larger databases of citizen-gathered data. As I go on to a career in environmental sciences, I will remember this experience as a formative one. In a time when environmental concerns are treated as secondary to business & profit interests, citizen science must play a role in our movement, continuing to engage communities and demonstrate our collective role in the complex ecosystems of New York City.

Sincerely,
Paulus van Horne
Summer Researcher 2015

Newtown Creek Map

August 9th, 2015

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Click above to zoom in.

After a few months of working closely with cartographer Ed Jacobus, NCA is proud to present a comprehensive map of Newtown Creek. This very local guide highlights a number of key features including various infrastructure, historic industrial sites, active maritime use, access points and even the Creek as it existed circa 1600.

The map is available as a free download for personal and education purposes* (see download link below). The printed version shown above, is available to local residents and organizations at NCA sponsored events on a first-come first-served basis.  Look on our website or email info@newtowncreekalliance.org for upcoming events to get a printed copy.

Download the 24″x18″ high resolution .pdf file here.

Funding for this project was provided by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund via the North Brooklyn Boat Club.

*Unauthorized reproduction of the map for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited.

 

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