Best Nature Walk Through a Sewage-Disposal Plant (2010)

Newtown Creek

They tried to pretty up sewage plants years ago by dubbing them "waste-water treatment" facilities, but it's tough to fool folks about those tell-tale odors. These days, you can take a trip into the future by walking the new nature path created around the city's largest sludge refinery, on Newtown Creek off Greenpoint Avenue. You pass through a "Fragrance Garden" (plants, not product), over a steel bridge, along granite steps, and under willow trees, cedars, oaks, and pines surrounding a rough industrial landscape. And then, as if some true City of Oz dropped into Brooklyn, you reach the looming bulbous towers—"digester eggs," as they're dubbed in the waste trade—of the plant itself. They are hard at work, providing a most essential task for a million ever-flushing New Yorkers. At night, enormous blue-colored running lights illuminate this gritty city, proving that here in Gotham even sewage becomes art.


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