In The Air Tonight

o Boże

Unfortunately, no, this August 9, 2019 edition of East & Creek does not concern Greenpoint’s “Phil Collins guy.” Someday. But for now,

What’s up in Greenpoint?

Paperwork was filed this week for the demolition of a two-story residential building at 78 Eagle St. The property changed hands in July.

Heavy rainfall on Tuesday and Thursday likely caused sewers in Queens and Brooklyn to overflow into Newtown Creek. (The Creek did not respond to e&c’s multiple requests for comment by press time.)

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of South Bend mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, spoke Thursday evening at The Brooklyn Barge, making (to e&c’s knowledge) the first significant Greenpoint visit in the 2020 presidential race. Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris have both made fundraising stops this year at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl; Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke at WNYC Transmitter Park in April 2016, days before his loss in that year’s New York primary.

The Old Kosciuszko Bridge: Where Is She Now? In the waters off Fire Island, becoming — like many retired subways car before it — an artificial reef. (6sqft’s Alexandra Alexa)

There’s a new ice cream shop in town, right by McGolrick Park. It’s called “The Screen Door.”

Greenpoint’s air complaint hotspots: new construction, legacy manufacturing, and idling trucks

80 air inspection reports, obtained by e&c from the New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), point to five hotspots for air-quality complaints filed in 2019, for reasons ranging from construction dust to noxious chemical odors to (and this was the vast, vast majority) idling vehicles.


Now, as with any data compiled as a result of 311 complaints and the like, these locations do not necessarily represent the worst offenders; this is merely a list, in no particular order, of where in Greenpoint people were most likely to complain of ill winds:

  1. Freeman St, between Franklin St and West St: several complaints of idling trucks on this block, which maintains a mix of industrial and residential buildings.

  2. Metropolitan Packaging Manufacturing, at 68 Java St: Frequent complaints of, as one report put it, “strong plastic chemical odors” at this long-time maker of polyethylene bags.

  3. Scheel Corp., at the intersection of Franklin St. and Quay St. Scheel — supposedly noted for its “expertise in the hot melt blending of waxes and polyethylenes for the ink, coating, and polishing industries” — has been the target of several complaints.

  4. 74 Nassau Ave: four complaints of idling, near the intersection of Nassau Ave and Manhattan Ave.

  5. Freeman Ave, between Manhattan Ave and McGuinness Blvd: a whole bevy of complaints, including construction dust, chemical odors and petroleum vapors.

(Documents obtained via a FOIL request from the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation confirm that the intersections of McGuinness Blvd with Freeman and Green Streets have been the focus of state investigators’ probe into reports of petroleum vapors this year.)

One lesson learned from sifting through these air inspection reports is that the DEP rarely witnesses violations of the New York City air code, either because idling trucks move on, dust settles or odors dissipate. Of 80 inspections so far this year, only four led to summonses from the DEP, for:

  • dust emissions from a construction site at 205 Freeman St;

  • foam emissions from renovation work at 1122 Manhattan Ave;

  • dust emissions from construction activity at 192 Freeman St;

  • and — at 212 Freeman St, near McGuinness Blvd — the emission of a “gasoline type odor,” which was “strong enough to cause discomfort to inspector as well as tenant.”

But still, even if the DEP’s hand of justice isn’t guaranteed to be swift, reporting possible violations of the air code here in Greenpoint remains worthwhile. DEP agents in several reports mention having discussed air-quality matters with truck drivers and construction workers — spreading the word, potentially, about better air stewardship in the neighb.

Meanwhile in New York City…

It was a potentially redemptive week for New York’s putatively “mean streets.” A shared busway, initially planned for 14th St during the L shutdown that never was, will now be implemented after a brief legal challenge from several block associations. The city promised to expedite work on the 4th Ave protected bike lane in Sunset Park. And a section of Lincoln Place in Crown Heights was recognized as this year’s “greenest block in Brooklyn.” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s Mary Frost)

A gov-budget watchdog warns that future MTA deficits “could be far worse than officials are predicting.” (New York Post’s Bernadette Hogan and David Meyer)

The Times has a new in-depth treatment of presidential candidate Bill de Blasio, featuring laugh-out-loud phrases, mayoral cameos, and an earnest attempt to comprehend Blaz’s inherent contradictions. This strikes e&c as a definitive profile of a man who defies definition. (New York Times’ Matt Flegenheimer)

Your Subway Weekender

G - Normal service.

L - “Normal” slowdown service.

Thus concludes this August 9, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the twice-weekly newsletter about Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Read the full archives here.

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See ya around the neighb,

Jon Hanrahan
Author, e&c