Several Former Manufacturing Sites in North Brooklyn Might Still Be Quite Toxic

Toxic Chemicals. Not in Brooklyn but you get the idea. Photo: Matt Baran/Flickr Creative Commons.
Toxic Chemicals. Not in Brooklyn but you get the idea. Photo: Matt Baran/Flickr Creative Commons.

Long ago, before Bedford Avenue became a boutique emporium lined with oyster bars and coffee houses that hawk nitrogen-infused cold-brew, much of north Brooklyn was teeming with manufacturing business. In fact, a few of the now ubiquitous fixtures you’re used to passing on the street–like the Starbucks on N. 7th in Williamsburg–were once home to a swath of noxious chemicals, mainly because of electroplating, metal-finshing and other highly-dangerous industrial practices that used to occur at these sites. 

Some of these chemicals are still alive and pooling, and may be a serious health hazard for many residents in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, according to neighborhood watchdog group Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG). The community group is feeding off many resident’s anxiety about these toxic leftovers, and has thus announced plans to map the area and whatever residual contaminants still remain.

From their website:

NAG seeks to perform an environmental assessment and address the environmental health and justice concerns that remain in the community by compiling previous research and data into one easily-accessible location

In collaboration with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, which has allotted $50,000 for the endeavor, NAG seeks to compile all active contamination sights into a database, and then to cull that data in the form of a GIS map, which will be made publicly available to anyone who wants it. “NAG hopes that this project will help the community better understand the environmental concerns in the area they live in,” according to a blogpost on its website.

And that’s a laudable sentiment, given the circumstances. According to Crain’s New York, there are hundreds of formerly radioactive sites scattered throughout Williamsburg and Greenpoint, many of which have been cleaned up, but there are also several that have not.

NAG unveils their map in September.

Follow Sam Blum on Twitter @Blumnessmonster 


  1. Thank you, Sam Blum, for keeping on this critically important issue. NAG’s toxic map project will undoubtedly open some–should be many!– eyes. Prepare to be horrified as well.

    Sherrie Lieber Pasarell


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here