On September 28th, we’ll be heading up Newtown Creek, that fascinating waterway that separates Brooklyn and Queens. Motorists drive over it without much notice – on the Brooklyn Queen Expressway, the Long Island Expressway and across more bridges than I can count on one hand.

But, what do you really know about the place?

Join WHC on the Newtown Creek Hidden Harbor Tour® and find out about the creek’s storied past, challenging present and bright future.

Reinauer’s Matthew Tibbetts on Newtown Creek. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Pentacle:  The Maritime History of Newtown Creek is one largely forgotten in these decadent times, but even now an odd tugboat and barge might be spied making their way down the waterway on any given day.

Property owners were considered to have been blessed by some of the finest industrial bulkheads in the world a mere century ago, yet many of the businesses based along the Creek today ignore this invaluable resource, allowing their waterfront property to decay and decline.

Crystal Cutler pushing Patricia E. Poling towards the Pulaski Bridge. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Nevertheless, a staggering amount of maritime traffic is still observed here, and towing companies such as Reinauer, K-Sea (now part of Kirby), DonJon, and Poling and Cutler are regular visitors.

DonJon’s Thomas D. Witte steadies a barge for loading. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Vast operations will be witnessed by those onboard, many of which are involved in the scrap metal and recyclables trade. Responsible for an enormous amount of cross harbor shipping, companies such as SimsMetal are heavily reliant on the maritime trades for their economic success.

Not all that long ago, Newtown Creek carried a greater tonnage of cargo than the entire Mississippi River.

Gargantuan industries dominate the landscape. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

A tributary of the estuarine East River, Newtown Creek extends some 3.8 miles from its junction with the more familiar waterway, and provides demarcation for the currently undefended border of much of Brooklyn and Queens. Named to the Federal Superfund list, the Creek suffers from a history of environmental degradation and municipal neglect.

An era of great change is upon the Newtown Creek, and this trip will be one of your last chances to see it in its current form.

Construction on the replacement of the Kosciuszko Bridge is about to begin. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Come explore Newtown Creek by boat on Saturday, September 28 with Working Harbor Executive Director Captain John Doswell and Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman as your guides.

Boarding begins at 2:30 p.m., and departs at 3:00 p.m. sharp. The 2.5 hour, fully narrated, round-trip excursion departs from and returns to the New York Skyports Marina found at East 23rd Street & the FDR Drive in Manhattan. There will be a cash bar onboard.

Tickets are $45

by Mai Armstrong via Mitch Waxman for the
Working Harbor Committee

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