Greenpoint

Newtown Creek Nature Walk is getting an upgrade

A new bridge and nature walk are coming to Greenpoint.

June 4, 2019 Scott Enman
This rendering shows what the new 430-foot-long extension of the nature walk will look like. Courtesy of NYCDEP

A complete redesign of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, now underway, will double the length of the waterfront promenade with a new bridge over Whale Creek (a tributary) and a sitting area designed by artist and environmental sculptor George Trakas.

The project, announced by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Design and Construction and Department of Cultural Affairs, will link the existing natural area on the west side of Whale Creek to a new land-based extension on the east side of the creek, which will connect to Kingsland Avenue.

Visitors will be able to access the waterway — a 3.5-mile federal Superfund site rife with legacy pollution and ongoing oil spills — from either side of the adjacent 52-acre Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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A new bridge will be erected over Whale Creek, connecting the original nature walk with a new area extended to Kingsland Avenue. Rendering courtesy of NYCDEP
A new bridge will be erected over Whale Creek, connecting the original nature walk with a new area extended to Kingsland Avenue. Rendering courtesy of NYCDEP

“The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is a symbol of beauty in the midst of an area impacted by environmental adversity,” said Assemblymember Joe Lentol, who represents northern Brooklyn. “The Nature Walk’s expansion adds much needed open space and helps to create a vision for Greenpoint where open space, history and culture are at the forefront.”

The current quarter-mile-long walkway was completed in 2007, designed by Trakas and landscape architect Quennell Rothschild. It features trees, shrubs, a large stone slab sitting area and a 170-foot-long vessel passageway, a nod to the creek’s heyday as a hub for the shipbuilding industry. It also features, when a strong wind blows, the stench of the nearby waste treatment plant.

The work won an Award for Excellence in Design from the Public Design Commission in 2016.

A map of the project. Courtesy of NYCDEP
A map of the project. Courtesy of NYCDEP

The redesign will be completed in two phases, with a stepping-stone walkway, turret and bridge included in phase two and the extended nature walk part of phase three.

When finished, the new 430-foot-long pathway will be landscaped with trees, shaded stone seating benches, a shelter with a table, bicycle racks, a water fountain, rain gardens and five 380-million-year-old boulder-sized tree fossils.

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DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo touted the city’s work on improving the water quality of Newtown Creek and said the expanded promenade would connect a younger generation of New Yorkers with the waterway.

A portion of the current quarter-mile-long nature walk along Newtown Creek. Photo courtesy of NYCDEP
A portion of the current quarter-mile-long nature walk along Newtown Creek. Photo courtesy of NYCDEP

The project is expected to be completed by spring of 2021.

“The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is a wonderful example of how art, infrastructure, and nature can come together to create an experience that helps us better understand the evolution of our own city,” DCLA Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl said.

“The expansion of this open space … will help New Yorkers to discover, explore and learn from this unique and unexpected cultural asset in the heart of industrial North Brooklyn.”

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