Thursday, October 7, 2010

Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant

Is this not the best thing built in New York City in the last 5 years?

Even with all the starchitect-designed luxury condos that sprouted up along the Hudson and East River waterfronts before the crash, this sewage treatment plant on the shore of the (recently superfunded) toxic sludge pool - quaintly called Newtown Creek, is still the most exciting architectural surprise in the city. I have never been inside, but Open House New York weekend approaches, and plans have been made to tour the "digester eggs".
In anticipation, I dug up some photos I took during previous pilgrimages to this Polshek Partnership (now "Ennead") award winning stunner, New York City's largest waste water treatment plant.

From Long Island City looking across the Newtown Creek.
Lots more photos after the jump; Embiggen them all for full screen display and detail.

 Angular, shiny glazed brick buildings in delicious hard-candy colors are peppered throughout the site, and provide bright contrast for all the swooping stainless steel.

The huge site is filled with giant delivery pipes on colored stilts. Big-boy industrial toys like cranes and tractors and engineered structures abound. Note the Chrysler Building, an earlier age's stainless steel symphony, in center background.

Part airplane hangar, part factory stacks...

Part sci-fi, part amusement park.

 Open that window and let's sit on the balcony.

Que up the theremin music.

 Bond. James Bond.

The open views across Greenpoint to Manhattan must be spectacular.

 The old and new styles co-exist happily on Kingsland Ave.

From Provost Street looking across the crane cluttered site. Improvements are ongoing till at least 2013.

From the Pulaski Bridge.

From the air (thanks, google earth)


  1. What eye candy. I'm TOTALLY jealous that the tanks are covered. After we bought our house, the bordering county built a water treatment plant with open tanks within a mile. When they stir those tanks it can make your eyes water.

    The best theremin music I've ever heard is on my Convertible Night playlist. "Deep Blue Day" is the soundtrack of dreams.

  2. To whom it may concern,

    I am contacting you on behalf of the Urban Green Council, a nonprofit organization. Urban Green needs some help tracking down high quality photographs to use in our GPRO education materials. We are interested in using the image you have at the top of this page of the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. The photo will be used to highlight this plant as a superfund site.

    We would like to use the photo as part of our green building training program, GPRO: Green Pro Building Skills, that we are developing in conjunction with New York City’s building trades and contractors. In addition to the Fundamentals of Green Building- a four-hour introduction to the concepts of sustainability and efficiency- participants will also attend a six to eight-hour immersion in the topic best suited to their trade. In addition to Building Operations & Maintenance these courses will include Construction Management, Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical. This photo would appear in the presentation and manual for the course on Plumbing.

    I can send a form for reference and citation information at your request. If possible we would like to have a high res copy of a photo (at 300dpi for print quality). We are on a bit of a tight deadline, so we appreciate any efforts to ensure the inclusion of your image.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information or any questions you might have.

    Thank you,
    Danielle Falzon
    Danielle Falzon
    GPRO Intern

    Urban Green Council
    U.S. Green Building Council of New York

    40 Fulton Street, Suite 802
    New York, NY 10038

    p: 212.514.9385 x12