Coney Island Creek is the last remnant of a vast and vibrant salt marsh estuary that once covered nearly 3,000 acres between the sand dunes of Coney Island and the glacial plain of what is now Southern Brooklyn. The waterway became Coney Island’s earliest attraction as the island’s first hotels sprang up along the creek’s shoreline during the 1820s. Until the late 19th century, pristine Coney Island Creek remained a popular destination for boating, fishing, crabbing, and hunting waterfowl.
The sprawling resorts that opened along the oceanfront in the 1870s began using the creek to dispose of raw sewage, initiating of a pattern of abuse that continued for the next century. As Coney Island developed and grew into the “World’s Playground,” the surrounding marshes were filled in with garbage and ash, polluting the creek and transforming it into a two-mile long industrial waterway that still drains Southern Brooklyn through numerous storm sewer systems. For several decades, the neglected and toxic creek survived misguided attempts to destroy it by filling it in rather than restoring it.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 and a new ecological awareness changed public perception and gave new life to Coney’s neglected waterway. The 100,000 residents who live in close proximity to Coney Island Creek are coming to realize that the creek can be an asset instead of a liability. It’s now a case for Environmental Justice. Today the creek has four parks along its shoreline and is once again being used for recreation, fishing, and boating. But much work remains to be done in restoring and protecting this dynamic ecosystem. This work will require a collaborative effort and public participation is needed and appreciated. See the News section for upcoming events.
THIS EXHIBITION HAS CLOSED For more information or a private viewing: www.coneyislandhistory.org
The City has constructed a ferry dock at this formerly tranquil site on Coney Island Creek, reversing 50 years of environmental improvements on the creek. NO mitigation is planned for wetland restoration or protection for Kaiser Park and the surrounding community.
The EDC plans to dredge this narrow channel at the mouth of Coney Island Creek. This will destroy a wildlife refuge and release toxic pollution from the former landfill at Calvert Vaux Park.
Please read the story here:
June 4 at Kaiser Park, Coney Island 9 AM — 2:30
- Shoreline-Beach Clean up as our stewardship and service learning activity
- Remote Operated Vehicle demo with an underwater oyster reef observation
- A Seining Demo with fish Identification and count as our citizen science activity
- An opportunity to go Kayaking, our on-water recreational activity
- Many more Science and Education opportunities at our partners tables displays
GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has found the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Skanska USA Building Inc, and Mechanical Marine Construction Corp. guilty of violating seven State environmental laws while building the Coney Island ferry landing. The EDC and the construction companies have shown their utter disregard and contempt for State law, the environment, and the Coney Island community. This ill-conceived ferry dock location was pushed through by two term-limited politicians to benefit a developer who lobbied the city. The NYCEDC cannot be trusted to operate this ferry project. A $70,000 fine means nothing to the EDC — to them it's just the cost of doing business. This kind of degradation will continue once the ferry is operational and constant dredging is required to enter the Creek. The Kaiser Park location is dangerous to the public and the environment and needs to be re-evaluated.
CIHP Director Charles Denson frees a snagged horseshoe crab. The bridge site before and after CIHP clean-up.
What is Coney Island Creek?
Coney Island Creek
The Coney Island History Project's special exhibition for the 2018 season, opening on Memorial Day Weekend, is "Coney Island Creek and the Natural World." Coney Island is best known for its magnificent artifice, a manufactured reality and fantasy world that replaced the vibrant natural environment of sand dunes and salt marshes that existed before development began 200 years ago.
Very little of that environment has survived. The towering sand dunes were flattened, and the wetlands were filled in for development leaving the island vulnerable to storms. Even the island's world-famous beach is artificial, created. . . .
Coney Island History Project staff recently noticed that spawning horseshoe crabs had moved further up the creek than ever before and were getting snagged and trapped at the illegal dump site below the Cropsey Avenue bridge. In June, two History Project volunteers climbed down ladders and began freeing crabs that had become trapped by ropes, tires, and other debris. We removed snags, concrete, and tires from the site and restored it to a more natural state. CIHP plans to monitor the site and continue clean-ups in the future.
on the Coney Island ferry and other Coney Island Creek-related news
DATE: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 TIME: 6:00pm
PLACE: PS 329 The Surfside School 2929 West 30th Street (between Mermaid/Surf Avenues) Brooklyn, NY 11224
RESIDENTS OF CONEY ISLAND AND SEA GATE PLEASE BE AWARE!
Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus, and others, will provide important updates on the Coney Island ferry project and other creek-related news. Find out what the City hasn’t told you!
After the City’s contractor was caught violating numerous permit safety requirements, work on the proposed Coney Island ferry landing at the fishing pier in Kaiser Park was stopped in late 2021 by New York State who fined the City $70,000. Construction of the ferry landing is not finished and ferry service hasn’t even begun yet! The City is set to resume work after June 2022. What should be done to protect and help our community moving forward?
Bring a neighbor. Bring a friend. All are welcome.
FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON!