The waterway that separates the western sides of Brooklyn and Queens has had a sordid past; used as an industrial conduit since the early settlement of New York, it once was subject to a Smelling Committee as the petroleum refineries, tanning and other manufacturers dumped their by-products into its waters. The surrounding area is also home to the largest urban underground oil spill in US history, as between 17-30 million gallons of oil have sat under the nearby soil, on top of the local aquifer for about 50 years. Recently identified as a Superfund Site, the once disregarded industrial area is now undergoing new development.
Our design proposals for Newtown Creek, researched in 2006, suggested an active way to capture the oil, filter the stormwater runoff and provide public space. You can read more about our ideas on our portfolio post.