Volume 74, Number 20 | September 15 - 21 , 2004


A proposal to dump on Hudson Park

For some years now, during discussions of building a 7-acre park on Gansevoort Peninsula as part of the Hudson River Park, the possibility of the city’s reviving the peninsula’s disused marine waste-transfer station has hovered in the background. Now, for the first time, the city is coming forward with a real proposal. Its plan is to create a facility on the peninsula for barging recyclable waste to a processing center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The pier was formerly home to a garbage incinerator, as well as a marine waste-transfer station. More recently, the peninsula has been home to the garbage trucks for several Sanitation districts, including Greenwich Village’s. Park advocates’ enduring goal has been to get this municipal use off the peninsula so the park can be built.

Hudson River Park is basically a thin, 5-mile ribbon of green along the Lower West Side waterfront with more than a dozen public-use piers. It includes Pier 40, at 14 acres the park’s biggest single area. Yet, the Hudson River Park Trust’s failed attempt last year to find a private developer to transform Pier 40 into a mixed-use park and commercial node shows this will be a long-term project.

Pier 40 sits on steel piles. Gansevoort is land, actually landfill made from the ash and garbage of Colonial era New Yorkers. It can support grass and trees and be a splendid location in the park.

The idea of a park burdened with a garbage-barging facility and a stream of 60 rumbling trucks gives pause for serious concern, to say the least.

First, the Hudson River Park Act expressly states municipal uses are to be removed from the waterfront. In signing the act, the city promised to fulfill this provision. To allow this facility, the state Legislature would have to amend the act.

Second, having diesel-fuel trucks and barges in a park is highly unusual. That these polluting uses would be in close proximity to where young children in sports leagues may well be playing someday is very troubling. Let’s not forget, watercraft emissions are basically unregulated, and the tugs that would pull these barges are among the worst polluters afloat.

Also, although the proposed facility would be enclosed, we can’t imagine that this whole operation will be odor free, and we know how stinky putrescible waste is — i.e., old tomato cans and milk jugs not rinsed out. Excessive noise may also be a problem.

Although such facilities are too often sited in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, we have to wonder, is this really the best site for this operation? And why can’t it be included at existing garbage barging operations elsewhere in Manhattan?

What’s more, that the trucks would mostly enter from the north from Route 9A would put bikers, joggers and inline skaters on the bikeway at risk of injury and fatalities.

The city is hinting that accepting this plan could mean Gansevoort’s park will get built sooner. But the park shouldn’t be held hostage in this manner.

Many questions must be answered about this project and there must be a thorough vetting by the community. A garbage facility in a park is basically unheard of. After all, who wants to be dumped on?

Reader Services

WWW thevillager.com
Email our editor



The Villager is published by
Community Media LLC.

The Villager | 487 Greenwich St., Suite 6A | New York, NY 10013

Phone: 212.229.1890 | Fax: 212.229.2790
Email: news@thevillager.com

Written permission of the publisher must be obtainedbefore any of the contents of this newspaper, in whole or in part, can be reproduced or redistributed.