Do you live or work near Newtown Creek? Do you care about the future of the creek? How do you use, travel around, and over the creek? 

Residents living along Newtown Creek, on both the Brooklyn and Queens sides, are being asked to attend a “Bridging the Creek” community workshop TONIGHT to learn about the future of the creek and how they can help to shape it.

If you can’t make it tonight, other workshops are scheduled this month. The goal is “to connect those living and working on the Queens and Brooklyn sides of Newtown Creek with both the waterway and each other.”

Newtown Creek: Superfund site in the midst of vibrant communities

Neighborhoods such as Greenpoint (on the Brooklyn side) and Sunnyside, Dutch Kills and Hunters Point (on the Queens side) lie along the 3.8 mile long Newtown Creek.

Map of Newtown Creek. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In September 2010, Newtown Creek was listed as a Superfund Site on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List. According to the EPA:

“as a result of its industrial history, including countless spills, Newtown Creek is one of the nation’s most polluted waterways. Various sediment and surface water samples have been taken along the creek. Pesticides, metals, PCBs, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are potentially harmful contaminants that can easily evaporate into the air, have been detected at the creek….

EPA signed an Administrative Order on Consent with six “Potentially Responsible Parties” in 2011. The Consent Order finalized a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study process, to characterize contamination at the creek, with EPA oversight. The Remedial Investigation for the Newtown Creek Superfund site is currently ongoing.”

Arguably one of the largest environmental disasters in the vicinity of Newtown Creek was the Greenpoint oil spill, which originated from an ExxonMobil oil storage terminal, among other sites.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, an investigation concluded that the area of the spill was in excess of 52 acres and the total spill volume, as estimated in 1979, was approximately 17 million gallons of petroleum products. Other reports offer higher estimates.

As a point of comparison, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska released an estimated 11 million gallons.

Map of the Greenpoint oil spill, which occurred over several decades. Clean-up began in 1979. Credit:

Despite decades of contamination, residents throughout the Creek’s watershed are actively engaged in efforts to create a healthier Creek and a more liveable environment.

Tonight: “Bridging the Creek” Workshop #1

Date: Wednesday, June 10th at 6:30pm

Location: Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th Street, Sunnyside, Queens

Workshops will also be held Wednesday, June 17th in Hunters Point, and Wednesday, June 24th in Ridgewood.

Bridging the Creek also sponsors walking, bike and boat tours in the Newtown Creek watershed. For events listings and Bridging the Creek news, click here.

Bridging the Creek is a project of Green Shores NYC, “an all-volunteer parks advocacy organization that works to enliven the Astoria/LIC waterfront by caring and advocating for safe public parks, green spaces, waterways, and a waterfront greenway.”