Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Congressman Eyed Bushwick Inlet
for Park...in 1896

bushwick inlet 13

We had a chance to shoot some photos around the Bushwick Inlet property (Kent Avenue at North 14th) recently, and in poking around online for some history of the site, we came across an article in the NY Times archive, dated March 6, 1896, in which the Grand Street [Brooklyn] Board of Trade discusses the "wretched pollution" and "pestilence" caused by terrible smells emenating from Bushwick Creek inlet. The problem was significant enough to warrant Congressman James R. How's return from DC to attend the meeting.

What we found particularly interesting, however - given recent moves by the city to begin acquiring the surrounding properties for a future park - a was this line:

[Congressman How] also suggested that the city authorities should be asked to purchase the territory around the creek for park purposes.

The creek was eventually filled in, leaving the inlet surrounded by fuel processing and storage operations. And 111 years later, the city is taking Congressman How's advice, making initial moves to exercise eminent domain proceedings and move forward with the park. The wheels of change do turn slowly indeed...

The former creek and present-day inlet do have a storied past, including having been the birthplace of the US Navy's first ironclad warship, the USS Monitor. If you have a few minutes, hit the links below.

Bushwick Inlet photoset
[Flickr]

Greenpoint History [nyc-architecture.com]

The Condition of Brooklyn's Streets and Houses - Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 9, 1885 [www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com]

17 Comments:

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Would it be possible to use one of your images of the Bayside Fuel Tanks as part of the power point presentation at the GWAPP public meeting on the state of Greenpoint / Williamsburg parks being held at the Polish National Home this Thursday Jan 17 at 7 PM? Do you know of the meeting?

 
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