On Kingsland Avenue, near the foot of the Greenpoint Avenue bridge, is an imposing concrete fence line which obscures the presence of a nondescript gray building with a reddish purple stripe on it.
The former site of a Standard Oil company called the Sone and Fleming refinery, the property is owned by ExxonMobil today and the building is where the Greenpoint Oil spill is slowly being siphoned out of the ground. Sone and Fleming suffered a disastrous fire in 1919 losing some 110 million gallons of oil in the process. ExxonMobil has the technology to pull all of the oil out of the ground in a matter of hours, but the consequences would be devastating. The oil is sitting above the water table and the surface of the land would simply collapse into a sinkhole.
Visit New York State withAtlas Obscura Trips
Only in Queens: Tasting Our Way Through New York’s Most Diverse Borough
Manhattan may have name-brand recognition and Brooklyn a certain cachet, but Queens is the city’s largest and most diverse borough. Join us, May 17–20, to dig into Queens’ rich neighborhood life.