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.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation has filed permit applications to build a ferry terminal in the most environmentally sensitive section of Coney Island Creek. A local councilman and the EDC relocated the ferry dock from a safer site on Gravesend Bay to an ill-suited site at the Kaiser Park fishing pier that requires continuous dredging that will expose the public to toxic materials. No mitigation or monitoring is planned. Please read the story here:
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.
The City plans to build a ferry dock at this 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.
What is Coney Island Creek?
NYC Economic Development Corp
One Liberty Plz
New York, NY 10006
NYC EDC - Coney Island Ferry Landing
2529 Neptune Ave|Kaiser Park, B 6965 L 100
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Permit(s) Applied for:
Article 15 Title 5 Excavation & Fill in Navigable Waters
Article 25 Tidal Wetlands
Section 401 - Clean Water Act Water Quality Certification
The Applicant proposes to implement a Citywide Ferry Service (CFS) that would provide an affordable and convenient transit option to residents in otherwise transit-isolated neighborhoods. The proposed CFS would add a new route connecting Coney Island to the existing East River Ferry (ERF), a privately operated commuter and recreational transit service paid for and managed by the City of New York and NYCEDC. Multiple new and upgraded ferry landings will be required. This application is for the one located at Kaiser Park 2529 Neptune Ave located in Coney Island, Block 6965 and Lot 100 Brooklyn. The Applicant proposes to install a 35'x90' barge with an 80'x10' gangway, 15 x3' gangway landing connecting to an existing fishing pier. The applicant will also install two monopiles (36" dia.) driven for the dolphins & six anchor piles (30" dia.). Two gangway piles (16" dia.) will support the new gangway landing. The applicant proposes to conduct initial and maintenance dredging in 2 areas of Coney Island Creek. The first area requires an initial dredging of 5,000 cubic yards of sediment and possible future maintenance dredging. The second area will only require maintenance dredging in the event of siltation after a severe storm event.
Availability of Application Documents:
Filed application documents, and Department draft permits where applicable, are available for inspection during normal business hours at the address of the contact person. To ensure timely service at the time of inspection, it is recommended that an appointment be made with the contact person.
State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Determination:
A draft environmental impact statement has been prepared on this project and is on file.
SEQR Lead Agency: NYC Office of the Mayor
State Historic Preservation Act (SHPA) Determination:
A cultural resources survey has been completed. The report of the survey is on file. No archaeological sites or historic structures were identified at the project location. No further review in accordance with SHPA is required.
This project is located in a Coastal Management area and is subject to the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act.
THIS EXHIBITION HAS CLOSED For more information or a private viewing: www.coneyislandhistory.org
A NY Waterway ferry passes within feet of a lone fisherman while navigating the narrow channel at the mouth of Coney Island Creek. During the summer this channel is shared by anglers, kayakers, swimmers, and small boats, all of which will be adversely affected by frequent ferry runs. Most ferry docks are located at bulkheads in open water at former industrial sites. This will be the only location that traverses a heavily used recreational area. The site is also an environmentally sensitive horseshoe crab spawning beach that has finally recovered after years of neglect. It is unclear why the city is considering moving the ferry dock from the originally proposed safer location at West 33rd Street on Gravesend Bay.
Coney Island Creek
Tamara A Greco
NYSDEC Region 2 Headquarters
47-40 21st St
Long Island City, NY 11101
CIHP Director Charles Denson frees a snagged horseshoe crab. The bridge site before and after CIHP clean-up.