Furman Island Isn’t What It Used To Be

August 19, 2008 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek, Queens 

One thing a lot of people do not seem to know is Newtown Creek once had a number of islands. What you are seeing in the above photograph is the vestige of one of them: Furman Island. It is now a part of Queens, but if one looks through the online archives of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (as I have) one will quickly discern it was a vibrant part of this largely industrial (and very aromatic) waterway.

Did you know that Furman Island even helped to prevent a malaria outbreak?!? I didn’t until I read an article from the August 2, 1894 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle entitled Calls It Cologne Gulch: Vivid Portrayal Of The Evils Along Newtown Creek. In this piece an intrepid reporter from none other than Harper’s Weekly goes to Newtown Creek to get the scoop on the poop from a local. Here is an excerpt:

Those of you who have the time really should read this lengthy (4000+ words) article in its entirety. My favorite part is about the “egg factory”. What was the egg factory, you ask? Click here and read for yourself! Be advised you may not want to do so over lunch…


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