Obscura Society NY: A Return to The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek - Atlas Obscura


Obscura Society NY: A Return to The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek

Explore the hellish waste transfer and petroleum districts of North Brooklyn on this daring walk along the Newtown Creek.

There's a reason that Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman calls this "The Poison Cauldron." It's the reason you shouldn't bring your dog, or your kids, on this tour. DUKBO - Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp - is the hellscape where the waste transfer and petroleum districts of North Brooklyn are found, along the bulkheads of the Federal Superfund site called Newtown Creek. This tour will take you through around 2 miles of north Brooklyn, crosses the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill, and explores the fascinating history of industrial Greenpoint.

We will be heading past the Kosciuszko Bridge reconstruction project so be forewarned that the tour will pass active industrial sites in close proximity to heavy machinery and vehicles - another reason to leave your four-legged friends safe at home. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting trek across a fascinatingly ugly industrial section of New York City.  Forty percent, by ton, of NYC's garbage is processed within a half mile of The Poison Cauldron, so this tour is recommended for the most adventurous of Obscura Society explorers. You can expect to be exposed to contaminants and industrial horror as you journey along the path, in addition to discovering its fascinating history. At the start, you may think we've overstated the conditions - at the end, you'll be struck by the apocalyptic landscapes lurking in your own backyard.


Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

Be prepared for rough terrain and heavy truck traffic. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking and hot weather. No sandals. No flip-flops. Closed-toe shoes are a must, and you'll be glad to have a bandana to tie around your mouth and nose. Antiseptic wet-wipes couldn't hurt.

Drivers, leave your cars in the vicinity of McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.


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