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Before You Go Back to Your Urban Garden, Get The Lead Out

Don’t get too excited. Up close and personal with a soil sample from McCarren Park (Photo: Jamie Cone, 2015)

Hey, I hate to be the one to tell you, but this fancy schmancy Spring weather? Yeah, it’s a total tease. Like, check back in 24 hours and you’ll see what I mean. Still, nothing should stop you from getting started on your backyard or finding out how to get involved in your community garden. Well, except for frost. Yeah, come to think of it frost will pretty much kill the fruits of your backbreaking horticultural efforts no matter what. Besides, according to Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) there’s one thing you absolutely must figure out before you plop down any seedlings: Do you know what’s in your soil?

“Everybody should be testing their soil before they garden,” said Allison Currier, an organizer at NAG. “North Brooklyn especially. That’s because if you’re a resident of Greenpoint or Williamsburg, in all likelihood you’ve got some lead on your hands.

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Can Reusable Takeout Containers ‘Take the Guilt Out of Takeout’?

(Image via Shareware/ NAG)

(Image via Shareware/ NAG)

These days, there are countless ways to act like an entitled jerk even if you don’t go around launching empty Turkey’s Nest cups into McCarren Park (pretty sure NYC squirrels are just paid actors anyway). For starters, Amazon Prime, Seamless, Caviar, and eBay have all contributed to a massive increase in packaging waste. But starting this week, if you live and/or order takeout food within the Greenpoint area, you can sign up for a new eco-conscious initiative that will help you hate yourself a little less. Patrons of two local restaurants will be given free takeout food containers that can be returned to the restaurant for reuse.

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Sparkly New Condo Smells Funny? Find Out If It’s Industrial Poison With This Map

(Screenshot via ToxiCity map, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and Pratt)

(Screenshot via ToxiCity map, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and Pratt)

Depending on where you look, North Brooklyn is still replete with rusty reminders of its fairly recent manufacturing past, but as that history recedes farther off into the distance, pushed along by developers mining the cityscape for residential conversions (and now, slick new tech office space too), the memory of what stood there before is fading too. The area’s transformation has proceeded so quickly and dramatically that many new residents have no idea that they’re living next to an old pencil factory, or in some cases a Brownfield site.

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CityFox Explains Superfund Rave While Assembly Member Demands Investigation of Pop-Up Parties

the NuHart building, a Superfund site and the location for CityFox's Halloween super rave that never was (Photo: Nicole Disser)

the NuHart building, a Superfund site and the location for CityFox’s Halloween super rave that never was (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The official blowback in response to the Halloween-Superfund-rave-that-almost-was has begun. As promised, Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol wrote a letter to the State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on behalf of his district strongly suggesting he “investigate the pop-up party industry in New York City.” Lentol asks that Schneiderman take a close look at CityFox, the party promoters responsible for the would-be rave, which the Assembly Member refers to as “a corporation extremely difficult to track.” More details about the rave have emerged, including a social media response from CityFox.

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NuHart Building Co-Owner on the Superfund Rave: “I Panicked”

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

The NuHart Plastics Building (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The massive Halloween rave shutdown by the Fire Department in Greenpoint over the weekend stole the show once again, this time at Monday evening’s Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) meeting about the oversight of hazardous waste cleanup at a former plastics manufacturing site in the neighborhood.

The building of interest, 280 Franklin Street (aka the NuHart Plastics building) is a Superfund site that was recently bought by a group of developers (DuPont Street Developers, LLC) hoping to turn it into a residential and retail site. Things got pretty, pretty weird at the meeting– to the point that Michael Roux, a geologist hired by the developers as an environmental consultant, fielded most of the questions about why on earth nearly 5,000 ravers were almost allowed to party on a Superfund site. At one point he slipped up, referring to the former plastics factory as a “venue.” The audience erupted back. “It’s not a venue!” one neighbor shouted. “It’s a toxic waste site!”

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Activists and Assemblyman Demand Air Testing in Wake of Williamsburg Fire

(Photo: Daniel Leinweber of Razberry Photography)

(Photo: Daniel Leinweber of Razberry Photography)

State Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol is the latest to express concern about the possible health impact of the massive blaze that erupted on the Williamsburg waterfront early Saturday morning.
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