Today’s news:

Pass the pepper! Columbia Street is too salty

The Brooklyn Paper

Billions of tiny salt granules blew from a pile in the Red Hook container port into the residential neighborhood across Columbia Street on Thursday afternoon, coating everything in their path with a fine layer of brine and even penetrating apartments blocks away from the piers.

The sodium storm, apparently unleashed by a loose tarp atop the salt stockpile, was a nightmare come true for Columbia Waterfront District residents, who had nervously watched the snow-white mound grow in February and were afraid they’d be dusted by the particles.

After much hullabaloo, the imperfect saline solution separating them from a brackish assault was a thin tarpaulin, which either accidentally or intentionally was removed on Thursday.

“I was pelted with salt. It was blowing around everywhere,” said Brian McCormick, a Kane Street resident, after he arrived home from work in the evening. “It’s a man-made disaster. Everything is covered with dust.”

McCormick said that almost every surface inside his home, one block east of the piers, was covered with the grainy additive.

Waterfront neighborhoods have had a rough relationship with airborne salt in the past year. Last summer’s New York City Waterfalls art project by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson is blamed for casting a debilitating sea spray towards the posh River Café’s weeping birches, which are lifeless this spring.

Officials from American Stevedoring, which runs the port, could not be reached in time for The Brooklyn Paper’s heart-racing online deadlines, but photographs snapped by The Paper’s photographer, who braved the elements, showed workers rapidly trying to contain the situation with moving equipment.

Check back later to see all his shots.

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Pacholo from Red Hook says:
At tonight's meeting regarding the salt pile on the piers along Columbia St., it was decided that the next appropriate step in taking action will be to field questions from residents of the community and present them to our elected officials, as well as to the Port Authority (who controls the piers), and American Stevedoring Inc. (the company that operates the piers through a lease with the Port Authority).

This Friday at 4pm, members of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (COWNA) will be meeting with representatives from the offices of David Yassky (confirmed), Bill De Blasio (confirmed), Daniel Squadron (confirmed), and Community Board 6 (confirmed). Also to be invited (not yet confirmed) are representatives from the offices of Nydia Velasquez, Jerrold Nadler, and Joan Millman.

At this meeting they will presenting the questions that they receive from you, the members of this community. Please send any questions you might have to contact cowna.org where they will be sorted out and compiled for this meeting. All questions should be submitted no later than midday Wednesday.

Please note that the above named parties are very well aware at this point of the adverse effects that people are experiencing (i.e. salt on their cars, salt hitting windows, being hit with salt while walking), and therefore questions regarding who, what, why, when, and how will be more useful.
April 28, 2009, 1:51 am

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