Almost 232 years to the day after the British crossed The Narrows and began “the Battle of Brooklyn,” another flotilla — albeit smaller — declared war on a proposed waste-transfer station in Gravesend.
“We are here to protest by land and by sea,” said Assemblyman William Colton (D–Bensonhurst) at last Saturday’s boat-borne battle. “The flotilla is an innovative protest that has remarkably pulled together all of the concerned parties that will be gravely affected by the construction and operation of a waste dump in Bensonhurst.”
The transfer station would be located at the Marine Basin Marina, on Shore Parkway at the foot of 26th Avenue.
About 40 boaters, many hoisting banners bashing the transfer station, participated in the flotilla, sailing along Gravesend Bay toward the Verrazano Promenade where they were met by elected officials.
“There needs to be a better plan then having it … next to an amusement park for children,” said Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D–Coney Island), referring to the former Nellie Bly theme park, which is under new management.
The proposed waste station is one of several included in the mayor’s waste management plan, which was passed by the City Council and now must be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
To construct the marine transfer station, Gravesend Bay would have to be dredged to permit bigger barges. Protesters say such dredging would release lead, PCBs, mercury, toxic ash and other contaminants into the water, spoiling boating and fishing in the bay.
But the Sanitation Department, which would operate the new facility, has said that the construction would be safe and that safeguards are in place to prevent odor.
But the city argument isn’t swaying activists who are determined to hold their ground, even if it means waging their own Battle of Brooklyn.
“There will be no surrender and no retreat,” said Colton. “We are in this for the long haul.”