TBT: Greenpoint 1941

by Heather Van De Mark on

Welcome to a new series: Throwback Thursdays (TBT). I’ll be exploring Greenpoint through back issues of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that have been recently digitized and are available online for free thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library and Newspapers.com. View the online newspaper archives here.


All Greenpoint Pleads: ‘Give Us a Clean Creek!’
When the Folks Get That They’ll Go After Better Housing and Make Section Real Garden Spot Again


By Jane Corby, April 1941. [Read Full Story]

This article, over 70 years old, could practically be written today. It focuses on the Greenpoint Civic Council and their platform for cleaning up Newtown Creek and modernizing housing in Greenpoint.

‘There’s nothing to keep people away from Greenpoint today except the odors of Newtown Creek and the lack of housing,’ said Mr. Louis Geiger of the Greenpoint Civic Council.

One of the Greenpoint Civic Council’s greatest achievements at the time was suppressing the odor from the fat-rendering plants. The Council helped bring the issue to court and the fat-rendering firm was found guilty of sanitation code violations for the offensive odors permeating the neighborhood. As a result of the verdict, several other area plants improved their facilities and reduce widespread odors. It’s interesting to see that even in 1941, litigation was the primary motivation for effective change.

I also thought it noteworthy that the Council’s membership was all volunteer and comprised of individuals, merchants and corporations motivated to improve their community.

‘The Council only has one object,’ [Mr. Geiger] said. “It aims to make Greenpoint a better community. It has already done that, in less than three years–maybe, instead of just better, we’ll try to make it Brooklyn’s best community.’

What do you think–is Greenpoint Brooklyn’s best community? Or is there still more to do?

[Read Full Story]

Heather Van De Mark

Heather Van De Mark

Heather is a designer/writer specializing in non-profit organizations and social causes. Originally from central NY, Heather settled into the charming Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011. While most of her community activism takes place from behind a computer screen, Heather can often be found at CB1 meetings, the McCarren Park track and any of the parks along the waterfront.