The Newtown Creek Alliance is a community-based organization dedicated to restoring, revealing and revitalizing Newtown Creek.
The Newtown Creek Alliance represents the interests of community residents and local businesses who are dedicated to restoring community health, water quality, habitat, access, and vibrant water-dependent commerce along Newtown Creek. Since 2002, the Alliance has served as a catalyst and channel for effective community action and our efforts have made a positive and enduring impact on the health and quality of life of Creek-side communities.
The Newtown Creek Alliance works to restore the Creek by securing mitigation and remediation of known environmental hazards – both in the neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek and in Newtown Creek itself – reporting ongoing sources of pollution, and preventing new pollution. To restore the ecological functions of the waterway, the Newtown Creek Alliance supports investments in green infrastructure, bioremediation, and habitat restoration.
The Newtown Creek Alliance endeavors to reveal the Creek by conducting tours by foot, bike, bus, and boat that educate the public about the history of the waterway and current activity. We also work to nurture and expand open spaces along Newtown Creek to enable public access to a waterway which has few public access points and we partner with educational institutions to teach Newtown Creek-based curricula.
The Newtown Creek Alliance helps revitalize watershed communities by playing a leadership role in area-wide brownfield redevelopment planning, creating programs that improve the environmental profile of industrial businesses, and engaging in workforce development to create local green jobs. Our work supports environmental, economic and human health.
Staff and Board of Directors
Kate Zidar (Executive Director) is an Environmental Planner with a professional focus on watershed management. As Executive Director of NCA, she works to strike a balance between waterfront access, environmental health and economic development for the city’s most polluted waterway. Kate serves as Chairperson of the Steering Committee for the Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) Coalition, an organization committed to ensuring swimmable, fishable waters around New York City through Green Infrastructure. Kate teaches graduate courses in Writing, Solid Waste Management and Green Infrastructure at Pratt Institute. Kate has experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, consulting previously for the Planning Center at Municipal Art Society, NYC Housing Authority, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership and Habana Outpost. Kate is a founding member of the North Brooklyn Compost Project, and a board member of the Lower East Side Ecology Center. She holds a BS in Biology from the University of Colorado, and an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center For Planning and the Environment.
Michael Heimbinder (Chairperson & Project Manager) is Founder and Executive Director of HabitatMap, a Brooklyn based non-profit that builds web-tools to support grassroots environmental organizing. He is also a technical advisor to the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods where he consults on solid waste management issues in New York City. Michael is a graduate of Colorado College and received his M.A. in International Affairs from the New School for Social Research.
Christine Holowacz (Vice-Chair) is the Community Liaison at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment plant for the Newtown Creek Monitor Committee. Christine received the Woman of the Millennium and the Carmine “Dusty” De Chair Community awards from the Seneca Club in 2001 & 2002 for her work with GWAPP and a Citation in 2002 from the Borough President for her work in the Polish Community. President of the Greenpoint Property Owners since 1989, Christine devotes much of her time to issues concerning senior citizen homeowners. She is also the Church of St. Cecilia political and housing coordinator. She holds a BA in Economics and Accounting from Brooklyn College.
Paul Parkhill (Treasurer) is the Executive Director of Spaceworks, a nonprofit whose mission is to build long-term, affordable work space for visual and performing artists throughout New York City. Between 1999 and 2012 Paulserved as the Director of Planning and Development at the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, a nonprofit that has redeveloped more than 600,000 square feet of space for industrial, artisanal and arts-related businesses. In 1997 Paul co-founded Place in History, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit arts organization that sponsors public art and public history projects about New York City neighborhoods. Paul holds a BA from Brown University and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.
Laura Hofmann (Secretary) is a St. Anthony’s parishioner, mother of six and grandmother of five. Laura works for St. Nicks Alliance as a housing counselor/outreach specialist. She is a lifelong Greenpoint resident whose family has been negatively impacted by environmental factors in her community. Because of this, she’s been active in parks, waterfront and environmental organizations, with a focus on her community’s health. Laura is currently a member of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee, Kosciusko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Committee, Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group, Greenpoint Community Advisory Panel, Greenpoint Williamsburg Organizations United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity and is a co-founder of Barge Park Pals. Laura earned an Associate of Arts degree in Labor & Community Organizing at LaGuardia Community College, and is currently studying at Hunter College as an Urban Studies major. She brings with her an honorable mention for the Municipal Arts Society Yolanda Garcia Planning Award, certification in street tree pruning, and odor paneling training.
Steve Lang has a PhD in sociology and is an associate professor at LaGuardia Community College where he teaches urban sociology and environmental sociology. He has done research on the political ecology of urban and suburban coastal environments. At LaGuardia, he helps foster a sense of awareness on the part of faculty and students regarding the environmental, political, and economic issues facing Newtown Creek.
Dorothy Morehead serves on Community Board 2 of Queens, chairing the Environmental Committee. She is a founder and board member of ARROW (Astoria Residents Reclaiming Our World). She served as president of the Sunnyside Foundation for more than fifteen years, as president of the Parents Association of City-As-School and on the boards of the Greater Astoria Historical Society and Rosewood Chamber Ensemble. She has served as president of her property owners for more than twenty years and has conducted walking tours of Sunnyside Gardens Historic District for U.S. and foreign university architecture and city planning schools. Dorothy has a degree in Urban Studies from Queens College with a minor in Earth Studies. She is a real estate broker in Sunnyside.
Phillip Musegaas is the Hudson River Program Director for Riverkeeper where he manages a staff of attorneys and investigators whose mission is to safeguard the ecological integrity of the Hudson River. He earned a J.D. with a Certificate in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law. As a research assistant with the Pace Energy Project, Mr. Musegaas worked on a joint project with the United Nations Environment Program writing a handbook on drafting sustainable energy legislation for developing countries. As a legal intern at the Pace Litigation Clinic, under the supervision of co-directors Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Karl Coplan, Mr. Musegaas appeared in federal court, conducted settlement negotiations, filed motions and formulated discovery plans on violations of the federal Clean Water Act. He received his Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) in Geography from the University of Washington.
Thomas Outerbridge has worked in recycling for more than 23 years, including for the State of Maine, the NYC Department of Sanitation, and his own business. Since 2003, he has worked for Sims Metal Management. He is General Manager of Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR), and responsible for processing and marketing New York City’s curbside recyclables. SMR operates waterfront facilities on Newtown Creek, the Bronx River, Gowanus Bay, and at Claremont Terminal in Jersey City.
Bill Schuck is a Greenpoint resident who has the good fortune to be one of the few City residents to actually live on the Newtown Creek. Bill is a visual artist and educator with a studio located a few feet from the Creek’s bulkhead; he has been boating and kayaking on Newtown Creek for 15 years.
Evan Thies is the founder of Brooklyn Strategies, a consulting firm that provides public affairs and strategic planning services to non-profit, political, and corporate clients. Evan spent years in public service as a senior adviser to New York City Council Member David Yassky, at the office of Sen. Hillary Clinton, and as a communications specialist for political campaigns, including that of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Evan is a resident and activist in Greenpoint, Brooklyn