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The NuHart Plastic Factory's Toxic Legacy in Greenpoint


With the iconic Manhattan skyline in the backdrop, an imposing art moderne structure stands silently, its grim past lying in sharp contrast to its grandeur. The abandoned NuHart Plastic Factory, once a flourishing industrial site, now hides a sinister secret beneath its surface, a secret that has triggered an ongoing legal standoff between real estate developers and the residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.


NuHart Plastic Factory in Greenpoint Brooklyn

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Unbeknownst to many, NuHart Plastic Factory was pronounced a Superfund site in 2010. Superfund, with a 'D' at the end, refers to the United States federal government program designed to fund the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances. NuHart, with its legacy of environmental pollution, had earned this dubious distinction.


The hidden enemy, dangerous phthalates, has been seeping into the soil since the 1940s. These chemical toxins, frequently used in plastic manufacturing, have been linked to a slew of health problems, from infertility to birth defects, and are known carcinogens. And yet, as the news of this toxic contamination broke, it was not only shockwaves that spread through Greenpoint, but a sense of dread and horror as well.


Despite this, the prime location and majestic views of Manhattan have made the site a tempting prospect for developers. Their grand plan? Demolishing the old structure and replacing it with a 325-unit luxury condo building. But it isn't as straightforward as it sounds. Greenpointers, deeply concerned about their neighborhood's environmental health and safety, have put up a spirited fight.


What's at stake isn't just the skyline, but the very air they breathe, the soil they walk on, and the long-term health implications of living with a ticking toxic time bomb. The fate of NuHart has become a rallying point in the battle for environmental justice in Greenpoint. As the legal wrangling continues, it's the future generation of Greenpointers who find themselves on the frontlines of this unfolding environmental saga.


Many more Brooklyn stories and New York City tours await. Discover more local history with our New York audio walking tours, and see which nearby New York City neighborhoods you want to explore next!


 

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