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Dredging starts on Newtown Creek next week according to the NYC DEP latest update as reported by Brownstoner Queens, Queens Chronicle and Gothamist.

Dredging will take approximately 6 weeks. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman via Queens Brownstoner

Newtown Creek, one of two federally designated superfund sites in NYC is about to have some of her toxic sediments scooped out to deepen and widen the maritime channel for the brand new state-of-the-art sludge boats that have been procured by the city.

New DEP Sludge boat – Hunts Point. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman/Newtown Pentacle

Our current sludge boat fleet will be phased out over time and replaced with the new vessels, which have been custom-designed to pump their “honey” directly from the boat into the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant facility.

DEP Sludge Boat Newtown Creek. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

This necessitates dredging the maritime channel to accommodate the new vessels from Whale Creek (waterway located next to the Nature Walk pocket park) out to the mouth of Newtown Creek at the East River.

The dredging is scheduled to take 6 weeks and will operate 24 hours a day during some of that period. The NYC Department of Environmental Protection has released the following update (PDF download):

Attached flyer in text:

From NYC Department of Environmental Protection:


Beginning the week of March 31, 2014 and continuing for approximately 6 weeks, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be dredging Newtown Creek. The following is a brief overview of the work scheduled and potential community impacts and mitigation measures.


The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest in the City and operates, like most plants, through an activated sludge process. In order for this treatment process to work, waste sludge must be removed every day. Presently, waste sludge is piped to a storage tank near the East River in Greenpoint and then transferred to a sludge vessel (boat) for delivery to Wards Island for further processing.

DEP needs to demolish the sludge storage tank to make way for new affordable housing. A new sludge dock has been built at Whale Creek, adjacent to the Newtown Creek plant, and sludge vessels will soon receive waste sludge there instead of the existing East River tank and dock. However, to navigate to the new dock, maintenance dredging must be done along Newtown Creek to remove sediment and debris which accumulates in the waterway.


  • Dredge operations are expected to start in Whale Creek and then move west along Newtown Creek towards the Pulaski Bridge to the mouth of Newtown Creek.
  • Operations will be performed initially in 12-hour shifts, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. As operations move into Newtown Creek, work will run 24 hours per day in order to minimize impacts to marine traffic.
  • All work will be performed from barges located on the water with all required Coast Guard lighting and signage for safe boating.


During the dredging operations, hydrogen sulfide gas trapped in the sediment may be released. This gas has a strong odor of rotten eggs. DEP will monitor for odor and take preventive measures to control the releases..


Please contact Shane Ojar, Director of Community Affairs at 718-595-4148 or via e-mail at To report a noise or odor complaint, please call 311.

So, if you smell something, say something and call 311 with any odor, noise or pollution complaints. Read more at Brownstoner Queens, Queens Chronicle and Gothamist.

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Coney Island’s about to get its first custom roller coaster since the Cyclone was built in 1927.

The Thunderbolt opens Memorial Weekend, 2014. Rendering: New York City Economic Development Corporation via NY Daily News

The new attraction is part of the Coney Island Revitalization Plan, which the city hopes will create thousands of jobs while expanding and preserving the historic Coney Island amusement district, as announced in a NYCEDC press release.

Luna Park’s new Thunderbolt roller coaster will include a loop for the first time since 1910. Rendering: Zamperla via The Wall Street Journal

The Thunderbolt’s 56 mile-per-hour speeds will spin riders on extreme vertical lifts, drops and corkscrews with a stomach-churning 100-foot vertical loop to boot.

Want a preview before opening day? Take this virtual ride posted by lunaparkNYC


The modern, steel Thunderbolt will be built on its historic site, where the original wooden thrill-ride dizzied visitors from the 1920s to the 1980s. The new coaster will be next to Luna Park, near the restored B&B Carousell and Steeplechase Plaza. Read more at NYCEDC, NYDN, WSJ …

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Present Architecture has designed a proposal that they hope will change the way we handle our garbage.

“Green Loop” rendering via Present Architecture.

As Gizmodo reports, “We send trucks millions of miles every year, creating traffic, noise pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, all of this so that our waste can be landfilled, where it then rots and creates even more greenhouse gas,” explain the designers at Present Architecture, the New York-based firm behind the proposal.

“It’s a big, dirty problem.”

“Green Loop” rendering via Present Architecture.

Their idea is based on building a network of artificial islands called “Green Loops” in our area waterways, that would house dozens of organic waste (aka food scraps) processing sites within, topped with a giant 12-acre park.

“Green Loop” rendering via Present Architecture.

The separated organics would be collected and trucked to these processing centers where it would be composted on an industrial scale.

The designers say these island facilities will “create a network of composting parks processing our organic waste (30% of our residential waste stream), while adding 125 acres of public park land.”

Read more at Gizmodo here and see the proposal at Present here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

For more than 100 years there was just one ferry service between Manhattan and Staten Island. The Staten Island Ferry’s familiar orange boats have plied the Upper New York Bay, diligently transporting passengers back-and-forth for generations.

Staten Island Ferry. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Now with the recently announced development projects scheduled for the ‘forgotten borough’, the Staten Island Ferry will soon be joined by other ferry boats, as reported in Crain’s New York Business.

Passengers waiting to disembark. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

City ferry operators are looking to expand their services in anticipation of transporting millions of tourists to new attractions like the NY Wheel, Empire Outlets – a huge shopping center and baseball games and concerts planned for Staten Island’s Yankee Stadium right next to St. George Ferry Terminal.

Rendering via New York Wheel

Crain’s New York Business:  6 million annual visitors [will] begin flocking to sleepy Staten Island in two years – when the attractions are expected to be completed – every major ferry company in the city, including New York Water Taxi, BillyBey Ferry Co., Statue Cruises and Seastreak, will be dropping off riders at a dock just a short distance from the St. George Terminal, where the Staten Island Ferry lands.

Rendering via New York Wheel

Staten Island could become a major tourist destination by 2016, if the developers’ vision is realized. Combined, the two projects represent a $580 million investment. The New York Wheel, a 630-foot structure, will be the largest such attraction in the world, featuring glass-enclosed observation capsules that hold up to 40 people for a 38-minute ride.

Empire Outlets rendering via NYC EDC.

The wheel will be able to accommodate as many as 1,400 passengers at a time, while Empire Outlets will include more than 100 designer stores, restaurants, a banquet facility and a 200-room hotel.

Staten Island Ferry. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

At night, the wheel will put on a show using $8 million worth of LED lighting that will act as a beacon, drawing people to St. George and the waters around it. Read more from Crain’s New York Business here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Horrible news heard today, I am still in shock.

Our beloved Meade’s Restaurant and Bar in South Street Seaport will shutter this Sunday, February 23, 2014.

Why? Word on their facebook page is that their landlord has doubled their rent and has even already found a new tenant for the Peck Slip space.

Hurricane Sandy couldn’t keep Meade’s down… Photo from Meade’s facebook page.

Meade’s made it through hurricane Sandy, and were the first to reopen their water-logged doors to the neighborhood – one of the few shining lights in the storm-surge devastated area for months after.

The waterline on the walls remained as a reminder of Sandy’s surge. Photo from Meade’s facebook page.

But now, it’s goodbye tater-tots, goodbye awesome guacamole, goodbye friends and compadres …

We will miss you Kathleen and Chano! Thanks for everything… Photo from Meade’s facebook page.

Meade’s will serve their last drink this Sunday, Feb 23rd.

Please stop by Meade’s this week and give Lee, Kathleen, Chano, Israel, Izzy and all Meade’s peeps we know and love a proper send-off.

Read more about this sad news at DNAinfo

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

A West Harlem community group would like to turn a shuttered waste transfer station facility into a waterfront asset with economic and community benefits.

135th Street Marine Transfer Station. Photo courtesy

As reported by The New York Daily News, West Harlem Environmental Action Inc. (WE ACT) would like to see the 20,000 square-foot facility redeveloped into an environmental and aquaculture center/boathouse/exhibition space.

The 135th Street Marine Transfer Station operated around-the-clock processing our garbage non-stop for 45 years. Local community groups succeeded in closing the facility in 1999, and worked to transform the garbage trucks parking lot into the beautiful West Harlem Piers Park we see along the Hudson River today.

West Harlem Piers Park Photo: NYC EDC

WE ACT together with other local community groups, wants the trash depot redeveloped into an educational, recreational and commercial space that will complete the west Harlem waterfront revitalization for the community.

NYDN quotes Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance “West Harlem has been cut off from its waterfront for too long. We’re trying to put community minds, maritime minds together to repurpose this thing.“  Read more at The New York Daily News here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Is the Hudson about to be lined with more shiny towers?

Hudson River Park. Photo by Wusel007 via wikipedia

A Hudson River Park Trust proposal could soon have the North River shoreline resembling the Queens and Brooklyn sides of the East River.

Hunters Point, Long Island City. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

As reported by Crains New York Business, the HRPT is looking to sell-off air rights of 7 piers along the river from W17 Street to W58 Street, to raise money for overdue repairs on disintegrating piers and park infrastructure along the Hudson.

Pier 40. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The recent preliminary study identified “hot” but “underutilized” locations for potential development. Read more at Crains New York Business here…

This post not withstanding, the ED of the Working Harbor Committee, Capt John Doswell, who as a board member of the Friends of Hudson River Park, supports the air rights plan as proposed by the park. No new development will take place without a thorough public process. The Working Harbor Committee, as per its bylaws, takes no position on this plan, and is simply re-blogging news.

Capt. John Doswell

Working Harbor Committee

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Midland Beach Promenade, Staten Island. Image: NYPL

There was a time in our not-so-distant past, when roller coasters, games and carnival attractions lined the southern and eastern beachfronts of Staten Island.

The Great Roller Boller Coaster, South Beach, S.I. Image: NYPL

Like Brooklyn’s Coney Island, Staten Island was once home to Ferris wheels and carousels – amusement parks that drew thousands of New Yorkers each weekend.

Now there’s a chance we could be riding the tea cups on Staten Island once again.

Riding the Whip at Midland Beach, S.I. Image: NYPL

Amusing the Zillion reports, that as part of the NYC EDC‘s plan to re-invigorate Staten Island’s public beachfronts and open spaces, the city has put out a request for expressions of interest (REFI) for new attractions for Staten Island’s south shore beaches.

Happy Land Park. South Beach, S.I. Image: NYPL

Proposals for beachfronts like Midlands and South Beach are due today and could include attractions like climbing walls, and sky-high roller coasters like the 110-foot high SkyCoaster at Luna Park in Coney Island.

Get your souvenirs before you leave. Midland Beach, S.I. Image: NYPL

Eight potential locations are being considered for seasonal as well as long-term projects. Other project proposals ideas include mini golf, skate parks and beer gardens and open space for concerts, festivals and markets. Read more here at Amusing the Zillion, 2009-2013 by ©Tricia Vita….

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

The Gowanus Canal. Photo: Jim Henderson via wikipedia

Are you ready for gourmet ice cream Gowanus? Ample Hills is coming to roost just a couple of blocks from the newly opened Gowanus Whole Foods.

Mmmmm Rocky Road. Photo: Ample Hills facebook

The new $3,600 space will become a two-story “ice cream paradise” – a retail store and manufacturing facility, combined. There will even be a private party room.

Ample Hills Prospect Heights Shop. Photo: Community Newspaper Group / Daniel Ng via Brooklyn Paper

4 times larger than their current shop in Prospect heights, the Gowanus space will be able to up the ice cream production from 500 gallons a week to a cool 2,000 gallons a week. Now that’s a lot of ice cream!

Soft serve too! Photo: Ample Hills facebook

The new manufacturing facility will make all the ice cream for their original Prospect Heights shop and their new Gowanus shop – and for the new Ample Hills kiosk and mobile carts in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Read more here

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

St. George Ferry Terminal parking lot. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Drivers who park at the Department of Transportation (DOT) parking lot next to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island, found the parking signs and the muni-meters removed from their usual parking spot yesterday.

Missing muni-meters. Photo: Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo

Should I park there, and risk being towed? What about my paid-in-advance season parking pass? Commuters milled about the empty lot, confused and concerned.

Staten Island’s St. George Ferry Terminal. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Apparently the parking lot adjacent to the St. George Ferry terminal has changed hands. BFC Partners – the developer who will build the new mall and ferris wheel complex on the North Shore – has leased the space from the city for a 99-year term, and now controls the lot.

Staten Island Borough Hall. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Motorists will pay a $7 daily fee and $125 for a monthly pass, once the new signs and meters are fully installed over the coming week.

Until then, parking is FREE. Read more here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

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