Tag Archives: Flushing Bay

Derelict boat goes unnoticed in College Point


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The origin of an abandoned boat on the College Point shoreline in Flushing Bay is a mystery but like the bay’s water, which government agency is responsible for abandoned vessels is murky.

According to the Coast Guard and other organizations, there is no agency that’s responsible for such unworthy sea vessels that aren’t obstructing waterways.

“It just appeared here one day and we’ve been salvaging it for parts ever since,” said a construction worker, who didn’t want his name revealed because he didn’t know whether it was illegal to take parts of the boat. He said that the boat has been in the bay for five years. While the decrepit boat shell doesn’t bother the construciton worker, he wonders why the city hasn’t done anything about it.

“If someone abandons their car, the government is going to tow it, right? So why do different rules apply here?” he said.

The hulk, which has the word “Fright” written in white on its bow, is completely rusted over and its innards, engine and all, have been gutted by the mechanics in the area.

Since the boat sits on the muddy shore near 119th Street and 20th Avenue, the Coast Guard doesn’t need to do anything about it. The Coast Guard will only do something if dysfunctional boats block waterways. The same goes for the Army Corp of Engineers but neither knows anything about the boat, according to spokesmen for the two entities.

College Point’s civic association also doesn’t know anything about the boat. The Arrow Yacht Club, which is located near the abandoned boat, is unaware of the about 60-foot-long beached vessel.

There are indications that the boat once traversed New York City’s waterways in the service of helping larger vessels move, such as its stout but thick build and the corroded rubber bumper.
Things like clothes and sleeping bags below deck suggest that someone now might be using the boat as a home.

 

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Students to analyze Queens waters in summer CUNY program


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

More than 30 high school students will test the waters of Queens as part of a special City University of New York (CUNY) summer program.

Macaulay Honors College of CUNY is hosting the course to sample and analyze water at the Queens base of the Throgs Neck Bridge, Flushing Bay and Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, so students can learn about threats to the ecosystem.

Led by Queens College professor and oceanographer Gillian Stewart, students from Brooklyn Tech H.S. will identify issues facing each body of water and think of possible solutions.

The site sampling is intended to foster students’ interest in science and the environment and the program will begin on June 30. On July 3 students will take a full-day field trip to the sites to sample the bodies of water.

“We really just want to take the students out there to show them New York is surrounded by water,” Stewart said. “But New York has one of the most contaminated waterways in the country.”

Students will analyze water samples from the three sites and use tools to identify the pH and oxygen levels, the amount of metal in the water, plankton and the diversity of sea life. They will also identify threats such as the raw sewage that leaks into Flushing Bay and the pollution from car traffic into Meadow Lake, Stewart said.

Although the program will show students issues facing the waterways, Stewart hopes the students stay positive.

“Most New Yorkers don’t realize how threatened those waters are,” Stewart said. “I hope these students walk away with an interest in science and environment…but also the optimism that they could make a difference.”

 

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Newtown Creek sludge project nearing completion


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Jeff Stone

JEFF STONE

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is celebrating the end of a month-long project in Newtown Creek that, if successful, will eventually make the water running through Ridgewood, Maspeth and Greenpoint much more inviting.

DEP crews have been traveling through the contaminated creek since the end of March, cleaning up silt, industrial waste and untreated sewage overflow that has been left largely undisturbed since the 1970s. The project, which is expected to be fully complete by no later than the end of April, aims to make Newtown Creek passable for a new fleet of DEP sludge vessels that will transport wastewater from elsewhere in the city to a new facility deeper inland.

Sludge vessels can be seen six days a week traveling through the East and Hudson Rivers, transporting sludge (semi-solid material leftover from industrial wastewater or sewage treatment) to decontamination facilities. Those facilities then extract any harmful materials and dump the clean water back into rivers around the metro area.

Yet, despite its status as one of the most contaminated bodies of water in the city, Newtown Creek is not currently equipped with its own dewatering plant. Sludge from the area is transported through a pipeline under the East River to a wastewater treatment plant in Greenpoint. City officials hope to soon use that valuable Brooklyn real estate for affordable housing and a new park, but the first step in removing the treatment facility is cleaning Newtown Creek.

Step one, for the most part, is finished. Environmental officials said that barges will be taking their final trips through the area using sonar technology to ensure that a new fleet of sludge vessels will be able to travel through without incident.

“Most likely there will be a few spots where they have to touch up and lay a fresh layer of sand down,” a DEP representative said Friday. “The barge and dredge machinery will be on Newtown Creek for at least another week or so, but the majority of the work will be completed by this weekend.”

Before the project began last month, DEP officials and nearby residents were concerned that the stirred-up silt bed would omit a smell of rotten eggs into the spring air. The very notion was enough to prompt a flurry of social media activity from Queens and Brooklyn residents alike. None of the dire predictions came to pass, though, thanks to the crews’ round-the-clock reliance on air and water quality monitors.

“The fact that there’ve been two complaints and all of our monitoring indicates that we’re well within our acceptable limits, everything has gone smoothly,” the spokesman said.

Work at Newtown Creek is a symptom of a citywide effort to equip designated priority areas like Gowanus Canal, Jamaica Bay, Flushing Bay and the Bronx River with green infrastructure. The city will spend $2.4 billion over the next 20 years on treating wastewater and rain overflow before it enters New York’s waterways.

 

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Op-Ed: Enough delays – let’s clean up Willets Point


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY MARCIA BYSTRYN

At a recent meeting of the Queens Housing Coalition, a major developer outlined a commitment to privately finance the cleanup of a massive 23-acre brownfield at Willets Point. Amazingly, there were some who questioned the existence of contamination and the need for remediation.

The hard truth is that Willets Point has been a toxic dumping ground for nearly 100 years. In addition to a lack of sewers, there is widespread petroleum contamination, with additional potential contamination from paints, cleaning solvents, and automotive fluids.

Some of the problems persist today, as existing businesses operate with almost no regulation. Imagine people spray-painting cars without taking air quality precautions or changing oil with no regard for safe disposal procedures!

Further exacerbating these environmental hazards is a high water table that spreads pollution throughout the Willets Point site. This means that as contaminants continue to fester in the soil and groundwater, nearby Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay become dirtier and more dangerous by the day.

Brownfields are a serious impediment to redeveloping a property, making them the target of a number of federal and state programs. But their potential to endanger public health and contaminate groundwater, surface water and soils is a far greater concern. Without action, Willets Point will in all likelihood remain an unusable, contaminated public health hazard.

The time has come to transform Willets Point from a toxic wasteland into an environmentally conscious, 21st century community.

In an area that is clamoring for open space and recreational opportunities, the cleanup and redevelopment of Willets Point means that the waterfront on Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay will finally become safe and accessible to the community.

This is also a great opportunity to redesign Willets Point in a smarter and more holistic manner. Willets Point is close to the No. 7 train, so people can leave their cars at home more often. And it’s near major highways, meaning that people can get in and out of the neighborhood quickly without further straining traffic in downtown Flushing. The development will also create approximately 12,000 construction jobs and 7,100 permanent jobs, as well as lead to a $3 billion private investment.

This is clearly a redevelopment project where the economic and environmental benefits work hand-in-hand to improve the health, well-being and vibrancy of the neighborhood, and for the entire borough of Queens.

Marcia Bystryn is president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, a statewide environmental organization.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Fireworks light up the night as New Yorkers celebrate Independence Day 

Millions of New Yorkers and tourists alike celebrated the nation’s birthday Wednesday night with the 36th annual Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show. An estimated 40,000 fireworks lit up the sky over the five boroughs, propelled from two barges on the Hudson River in what was billed as the largest display in the country. The event was the culmination of days of preparations. Read more: [NY1] 

Beloved grandmother, a victim of callous hit-and-run in Queens, slowly recovering from horrific wounds

A beloved grandmother who was mowed down and left for dead on a Queens street last month is slowly recovering — but the callous driver is still at large. Bidi Kahn, 65, a widowed mother of six with “a bunch” of grandchildren, has been surrounded by her family at Jamaica Hospital as her face heals from the horrific wounds she endured in the hit-and-run nightmare. She said the support of her family has been keeping her going. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Saving the day just part of the daily rounds for MTA bus driver

Call him the Astounding Busman. The temperature plunged to 13 degrees at 6 a.m. that snowy Feb. 6, 2004, when Glen Moyles pulled his Q12 bus out of Casey Stengel Depot on Roosevelt Ave. in Queens and groaned over the Northern Blvd. overpass above icy Flushing Bay. Up ahead in the swirling white haze Moyles spotted an idling car parked in the right lane. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens-bound tour bus crash injures 23; no charges filed 

Police are investigating a tour bus crash in Westchester County that sent nearly two dozen people to the hospital Wednesday. New York State Police say the bus was traveling from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut to Queens just before 6:30 a.m. when the driver lost control on I-95. Read more: [NY1] 

Queens boy, 4, drowns in relatives’ backyard pool 

A 4-year-old boy drowned in relatives’ backyard pool during a Fourth of July party last night in Queens, authorities said. Firefighters arrived at the Beverly Road home in the Douglas Manor neighborhood just before 6 p.m. to find the unconscious child, identified by police as Christos Voulkoudis, lying next to the pool after he was pulled out by family members. Read more: [New York Post]

MTA cop shoots, kills psycho who stabbed him in the eye in unprovoked attack

An MTA cop who survived two wars as a Navy officer was stabbed in the eye by a police-hating lunatic at an LIRR station — but the bleeding officer managed to shoot his attacker dead before the man could strike again. “He’s a real hero,” MTA chief Joe Lhota said of Officer John Barnett, who has also served with the NYPD. Read more: [New York Post]