The City Concealed
December 16, 2008 5:28 PM   Subscribe

The City Concealed A video tour of New York's infamously toxic Newtown Creek, with historical illustrations. The creek is the site of a 17 million gallon underground oil-spill (50% larger than Exxon-Valdez) which remains to be cleaned up, resulting in a Supreme Court battle between residents and oil companies. (Previously on MeFi.)
posted by hermitosis (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Once the city congealed, it was hard to clean up.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:49 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yah, the soil in Greenpoint is pretty toxic. A friend of mine who lived there said that it's illegal to dig a hole more than 3 feet deep without a permit. He may have been exaggerating, though.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:12 PM on December 16, 2008

"Creek" is such a bucolic word. It needs another term -- maybe "fistula."
posted by Countess Elena at 6:16 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Riverkeepers book is a good account of how and why that group came to be.

Lesson: It helps to get lawyers.
posted by swift at 6:19 PM on December 16, 2008

Fascinating post hermitosis. I didn't know about this, had never heard of it. yikes.

Map. Photos. More photos.
posted by nickyskye at 6:54 PM on December 16, 2008

Greenpoint Homeowners Sue ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron

Good luck with that.

Why do I fear that even if the plaintiffs win, ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron will just win on appeal.
posted by mattoxic at 7:09 PM on December 16, 2008

i lived in Greenpoint for a year. I can attest to the disgustingness of Newton creek. And most of Greenpoint smells like shit, actual shit, during the summer; but I think that's the sewage treatment plant.
posted by mexican at 7:45 PM on December 16, 2008

To be fair, the sewage treatment plant does look pretty cool at night.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:32 PM on December 16, 2008's four blocks from me. Mmmmmmmm...smells yummy!
posted by spicynuts at 8:40 PM on December 16, 2008

The second half of the documentary Toxic Brooklyn tours Newtown Creek with the the Riverkeepers, explorers the neighborhoods of the Greenpoint oil spill plus meets with Exxon Mobile to discuss the status of the cleanup.
posted by agentmule at 9:07 PM on December 16, 2008

The petro companies sure have it figured out. They can act essentially as irresponsibly as they want and never really pay a price for it.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:40 PM on December 16, 2008

Because they're essential to our economy!

And have obscene amounts of money.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:01 PM on December 16, 2008

Y’know, this just pisses me right off. This is exactly what government is for. Some big outfit with a lot of money and power busts up your stuff, citizens get together and seek redress.
That’s what government is *supposed* to be doing. Protecting the rights of people who aren’t bound up in some huge combine. It’s outrageous that this hasn’t been cleaned up yet.
What, exactly else, is force for? This is why the government has the largest license on the use of force. It’s why they can get warrants and bust into places and take people into custody and detain them so forth. It’s why we agree to delegate certain powers to them. For them to use them to protect us while we - y’know - go to fucking work. So we don’t come home and our yards and kid’s playgrounds aren’t covered with oil by some bunch of assheads looking to make a buck.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

Just goes to show: money doesn't buy happiness. Just near-invulnerability.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:54 PM on December 17, 2008

Smed: Read this.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on December 17, 2008

Yeah, Bush holding hands with the Saudi dude, all that. And cutting production, ugh.

Y’know, it’s kind of scary, you see what’s going on in Russia and elsewhere, they’re injecting a lot of public money into their markets as well.
I’m not by nature paranoid, but it’s tough not to get this idea of huge invisible not-so-benevolent forces doing stuff sometimes in tandem.

...I suppose I’d be paranoid if I knew wtf was going on 1/2 the time.

But I think too - the greed is beyond my comprehension. Like what, you’re not going to die? Like getting blown round the clock on a gold plated pedestal or whatever isn’t enough?
I’ve got a modest house, decent but used (and a bit beat up) 4x4. A pretty comfortable life really, and I don’t really want anything more.
I could rent a yacht if I really wanted to or something, but even if I had the money - why own one?
And I mean, the Walton family - the main guy who made the money - sure he was frugal.
But at some point don’t you accept the larger implications of your actions?
I don’t know, maybe because I’ve had folks lives (and deaths) in my hand I have a sense of it. My own affect on things. So I don’t want to push my ‘self’ or build something huge and overshadowing.
It’s not just me tho’ - plenty of other folks without that kind of ambition. Nothing wrong with bettering yourself, but damn. No sense of scope on some people.

I mean - shouldn’t they be working *toward* something?
I can buy the pain, suffering, starvation, etc - if they’re saying, well look, we’ve got to get technology to get off planet, stabilize the population, break into alternative fuels, blah de blah and so we’ve got to cut production - we’re doing that in tandem with these governments and such and such programs - etc. etc. etc.

Nope, just want more money.
That’s just contrary to survival, man.

Far as I’m concerned, that’s all modern governments are useful for. Survival of the human race with as little horror as possible.

I remember I drowned once, fell into the drink. Long story, but there was no question I was going to die (and I did for a few minutes - I got picked up and resuscitated tho - fluke really) and I thought - why not just stop swimming. And it occured to me that I had nothing better to do.
That is - I wasn’t struggling to survive, that was a moot point (as far as I knew there was no hope) so why make it painful by struggling? Well, I’d be bored otherwise. I mean, just rolling over and dying isn’t my thing to begin with, but in the absence of any point, the struggle became its own end.
(It’s a real story, actually happened, but yes, I understand the existentialism I’m delving into here)
To my mind - this jocking for price, pursuit of hyperinflated egotism, wealth, greed, etc - is contrary to that.
That is - they’ve given up. They’re not struggling for life. They’re not struggling just to be or because there is nothing else.
They’re just going with (no pun int’d) the flow. They’re sinking. Metaphorically into the depths of hedonism or egotism or any number of other dead-end trips.
They’d burn the world for just one more hit, and damn the rest of us.

Now, I’m not one of those struggling for life. But I do recognize the pressing to end it. That’s the kind of thing that does.
I suppose that’s why I oppose it too. There literally is nothing better, for me, to do.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:33 PM on December 18, 2008

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