July 16, 2007
The ugliest cruise in New York
Tourists have the Circle Line and harbor cruises. New Yorkers have tours of Newtown Creek.
Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment hosted their annual Newtown Creek tour, which for $50 takes passengers up our city's most polluted waterway, which separates Brooklyn and Queens. I love the Times photo of cruisers snapping photos of the scenery [full article].
It's not pretty, but it's a part of the city that can't be seen any other way, and it's valuable to be reminded of how blighted much of our natural environment is. Highlights of the cruise include oil storage facilities, abandoned chemical plants and barges, scrap metal fields, and abandoned cars.
One of the least ugly sites you'd see is actually the Greenpoint Sewage Treatment Plant, as photographed by The Gowanus Lounge last year.
In the 1950's, the Greenpoint Oil Spill leaked 17 million gallons of oil and gasoline (50% larger than Exxon Valdez!) into the creek and surrounding land; passengers on the creek tour detected "an oily smell" coming from the water.
Still, many New Yorkers are interested in seeing unfamiliar parts of the city. "It’s interesting to see in person. It’s a place that is even new to New Yorkers," said the tour coordinator. And optimistic passenger Allan Bentz-Letts said, "It looks ugly with all the scrap metal around, but think about what it could be with parks, cafes and a river walk."
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