May 31, 2019
DDC: Ian Michaels, 718-391-1589, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Brooklyn, NY – May 31, 2019) The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today joined with the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) to announce that work is underway to expand the Newtown Creek Nature Walk in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The project will include the construction of an over-water extension connecting the existing section of the Walk, on the west side of Whale Creek, to a new land based extension on the east side of the Creek, which will extend to Kingsland Avenue. Once completed, the expanded Nature Walk – designed by artist George Trakas as a commission through DCLA’s Percent for Art program – will be accessible to the public from either side of DEP’s 53-acre Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. The construction, which is being managed by DDC, began this spring and is anticipated to be completed in spring 2021.
“As we continue the important work of restoring the health of Newtown Creek, expanding the Nature Walk and providing uninterrupted public access helps to engage New Yorkers in this critical effort,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “I thank our partners at DDC for managing the project and look forward to joining our friends to explore the expanded Nature Walk.”
“The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is helping to re-introduce a vital natural area to a whole new generation of New Yorkers,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “The City has made tremendous investments to capture combined sewer overflow and to improve the quality of water in our harbor, and we’re very pleased to work with DEP to help people experience the effects of those investments.”
“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,” said DCLA Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “The expansion of this open space – building on artist George Trakas’s vision of a vibrant intersection where multiple histories, cultures, and geological epochs could coexist – will help New Yorkers to discover, explore, and learn from this unique and unexpected cultural asset in the heart of industrial North Brooklyn.”
"The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is a symbol of beauty in the midst of an area impacted by environmental adversity," said Assembly Member Joe Lentol (D-North 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. Thank you to the Departments of Environmental Protection, Design and Construction and Cultural Affairs, as well as the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee for their steadfast partnership on this important project."
The existing Nature Walk is a quarter-mile long waterfront promenade that was completed in 2007 and is located along Newtown Creek and Whale Creek, adjacent to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. Richly planted with native trees, shrubs and other native flora, the Walk explores the rich history of the waterway from its use by the Lenape prior to the arrival of Europeans, to the bustling 18th- and 19th-century waterfront cooperage, ship making and lumber industries along its shores, to its current context abutting New York City’s largest, state-of-the-art wastewater facility. These themes are drawn through dramatic site features, such as the 170-foot-long “Vessel” passage to the waterfront that evokes the angled timber construction of ships, and in details like trash receptacles designed to look like barrels.
As part of the expansion, three 60-foot-long bow-shaped vessels made of galvanized steel with connecting ramps, bridges and a central “turret” seating area will be constructed to connect the existing Nature Walk to the opposite, eastern side of Whale Creek. There, a 430-foot-long area will be landscaped with street trees, shaded stone seating benches, bicycle racks, a water fountain, several rain gardens and five 380 million-year-old boulder-sized tree fossils found near the City’s Schoharie Reservoir. Once the work is completed, the public will be able to access the Nature Walk from Kingsland Avenue or Paidge Avenue.
The Nature Walk was created by environmental sculpture artist George Trakas and built by landscape architect Quennell Rothschild as a commission of DCLA’s Percent for Art program. It received an Award for Excellence in Design from the Public Design Commission in 2016. Since 1982, New York City's Percent for Art law has required that one percent of the budget for eligible City-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork. Managed by DCLA, the program has commissioned hundreds of site-specific projects in a variety of media by artists whose sensibilities reflect the diversity of New York City.
DEP has also begun work to upgrade the approximately one-mile long perimeter fence of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. The new fence is similar to the one installed along the existing portion of the Nature Walk. The existing perimeter fence will be taken down and utilized for replacement and repair projects at other DEP facilities. This project is expected to be completed this year.
About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9.6 million residents, including 8.6 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.