The Vapor Intrusion

The following article from the New York Times details the progress of an issue that we have studied in various ways over the past year — the ways in which Greenpoint’s industrial past has affected its present.

A Problem Rises to the Surface in Greenpoint:

For decades, people in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, have lived with the possible health hazards from oil spills in their industrial waterfront. Up to 30 million gallons of petroleum — almost three times the amount dumped off the Alaskan coast by the Exxon Valdez in 1989 — made their way into Newtown Creek and surrounding neighborhoods from dozens of refineries over more than a century.

Now residents have a new anxiety: Toxic gases may be rising into their homes from below, the legacy of dry-cleaning plants, foundries and other manufacturers that once operated in this hub, which has long been home to immigrants and, more recently, artists and young professionals.

A Problem Rises to the Surface in Greenpoint.


Benjamin Shepard shared the following announcement with us; certainly, it looks like an interesting event.

On The Waterfront: Finding the Balance for Development and Communities

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

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A recent article in Inside Higher Ed highlighted how Temple University has changed its core curriculum to incorporate place; in this case, Temple’s North Philadelphia neighborhood.

This really could serve as inspiration for our planned interdisciplinary gen ed course. Anyone have any contacts at Temple?

Welcome back, everyone!

There was an intriguing nugget in Richard’s email from earlier this month that I wanted to bring to your attention. The Urban Affairs Association issued a call for proposals for its annual meeting in Chicago, March 4-7, 2009. Participation at the meeting can take the form of a panel, a colloquy, or an individual paper.  Collectively, we have a lot to contribute. Any ideas percolating?

The proposal deadline is October 1.

I stumbled across Whitman’s Brooklyn: A Virtual Visit circa 1850 [http://www.whitmansbrooklyn.org], a website of images of mid-19th-century Brooklyn. As best I can tell, this fascinating site is one person’s labor of love and not a project of any university, museum, or other institution. Still, it is rich with images and may have some very interesting and useful content for teaching Whitman or New York City history. Enjoy, everyone.

On Saturday, July 26, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will sponsor City of Water Day on Governors Island. Free ferries will transport visitors from Lower Manhattan to Governors Island, where there will be opportunities to kayak, canoe, fish, explore or just enjoy spectacular views of Brooklyn’s waterfront (Manhattan’s waterfront too, of course).

See the flyer (pdf) or get more information (pdf) about the event, or visit the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance online.

Here is a Google map of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg walking tour route. Most of the stops are marked and annotated. I hope those who couldn’t attend on May 2 will be able to use this to re-create the tour.
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