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Pungent pollutants under planned Trump tower

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This is really going to stink!

Construction of a 40-story residential tower that will sit atop a toxic field in Brighton Beach can’t begin until the site is cleaned — and that job is going to smell to the high heavens, the state told neighbors last week.

Chemicals including coal tar that are locked in the soil beneath Trump Village Shopping Center on Neptune Avenue at West Fifth Street will have to be carted away — and when they are, it will unleash a distinctly nasty odor.

“It smells like mothballs mixed with something that has been badly burned,” Gardiner Cross, a geologist with the Department of Environmental Conservation, said at a hearing on the plan at Lincoln High School on Feb. 12.

Before owner Rubin Schron can build a planned 40-story tower on the site of Trump Village Shopping Center, National Grid — which acquired the company that owned a former manufactured gas plant that once occupied the site — must remove the pungent pollutants that are trapped in the soil, which also contains cyanide, mercury, manganese, selenium, and an array of other chemicals and pesticides, according to a 2011 report.

The shopping center lot used to host the Dangman Park Manufactured Gas Plant, which operated from the 1880s to 1918. The soil was never cleaned before construction of the shopping center but Cross said the foundation of the shopping center has stopped residents from being exposed to the pollutants, and remediation is only necessary if the building is demolished — as its owner plans to do, to make way for the residential tower.

“The buildings and the pavements that sit on top of sites — that prevents any contact,” said Cross, adding that unless the contaminated soil is disturbed, the pollutants should stay capped. “We think it has gone about as far as it’s going to go.”

National Grid, which will pay for the cleanup, is responsible for presenting a cleanup plan to the Department of Environmental Conservation, but the company said it has not revealed the plan because the property owner has not yet presented a development plan.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said that because there isn’t a plan yet, it can only provide examples of past cleanup remedies used on some of the hundreds of manufactured gas plant sites throughout the state. Past methods have included capping the contaminants and excavation and removal of the toxic soil.

To trap the odor inevitable with the excavation of coal tar, Cross said workers would erect a large tent over the worksite and spray odor-control foam around the area. He said the trucks that transport workers and supplies are also cleaned before leaving the site.

“We haven’t had an odor complaint from a truck leaving a site in over a decade,” said Cross.

But an elected official at the meeting said that rather than worrying about the smell, he is more concerned about the health effects of the foul fumes — especially since many residents who live nearby are especially vulnerable to health threats.

“We have those that are sick, those that are frail, and those that cannot fend for themselves,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay).

The cleanup process is scary, said to one local, but it is also terrifying to think about how the 40-story tower will affect the community that residents worked for generations to build.

“We have a right to the people that put their hearts and souls and their lives in a place to live here to leave something for their children,” said Sol Cooperman, the president of Trump Towers in section three. “And for what?”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.

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Reader feedback

TaxPayers paid for Trump Village from Coney Island says:
Who paid for the Building and maintenance of TRUMP Village?
Feb. 17, 2015, 8:39 am
TaxPayers paid for Trump Village from Coney Island says:
Who paid for the Building and Maintenance of Trump Village? TAXPAYERS

How are these apartment owners got the apartment for FREE and are able to re-sell them $250,000-$600,000 CASH

Why are these apartment owners do not need to pay TRANSFER TAX when they sell the apartment that they got for FREE and are CASHING out $250,000-$600,000 of TAX PAYERS MONEY

How did one Board Member got approval that she can buy a CITY OWNED apartment for $70,000 and re-sell it immediately for $300,000 CASH?
Feb. 17, 2015, 8:44 am
Marc Schwartz from Trump!! says:
I was at I this meeting and if this project moves forward it will prove that our local politicians are on the take and should not only not be reelected but thrown out of office because they all spoke out against the project. I must add that these public meetings are not publicized at all, you must hunt everyday for a notice that just might be posted under a bench.
The developer was not there nor did he send anybody to represent him.

THIS ENTIRE PROJECT STINKS FROM PAYOFFS AND NOT POLLUTION!!!
Feb. 17, 2015, 1:40 pm
Marc Schwartz from Trump!! says:
Please get your facts straight the coop paid off the mortgage not taxpayers.
Feb. 17, 2015, 1:42 pm
how did the coop paid off the mortgage from get the facts says:
Please explain how did the coop paid off the mortgage?

What othet facts are you claiming are false?
Feb. 17, 2015, 2:55 pm
Bruce from Coney Island says:
Some buildings had notices about the meetings removed under direct orders from management.
Feb. 17, 2015, 6:28 pm
Sara from Brighton Beach says:
These meetings were publicized very well. So check with your management who might removed notices, Mark
Feb. 17, 2015, 7:27 pm
MaxG from coney island says:
why is everyone complaining that a contaminated site will finally be cleaned up? Do the benefits not outweigh the temporary inconveniences and risks?

And why complain that demand exists in our neighborhood to warrant an investment INTO our neighborhood (ie construction of new property)? It will increase existing property values (over time as new stock is absorbed into market), boost housing capacity for future growth, increase local commercial activity, boost local population = further increase commercial and all sorts of activity and opportunities. This is capitalism at its finest... albeit unfortunately with the usual shady crony New York liberal politics.
Feb. 17, 2015, 8:34 pm
Marc Schwartz from Trump WAKE UP from Are you Jealous says:
Marc Schwartz from Trump.
Do you want the new building to have free apartments, so you can move in for free again? and cash out $500,000
Feb. 17, 2015, 10:35 pm
Beach lover from coney island says:
The cooperators paid off the mortgages with continuous increases in their maintenance payments. We paid for repairs from Hurricane Sandy and for all other building improvements and repairs ever since the property went "private".
To suggest that this building will increase the value of the area implies that " taxpayers for Coney Island" , are part of or benefitting from this monstrous monolith. It will block light and destroy the view for all apartments on lower floors as well as all apartments facing towards the Verrazano. This area is already oversaturated with a dense population. Street parking is almost impossible, especially during the summer months. They have already taken away the main pharmacy and drug store that thousands of people used. Very few of the merchants are taking leases in the bath houses because it was reported that the leases are too expensive, ( also offered by the same builder). Our transportation system will be directly affected and more inconvenient as the stops will have to be relocated as a result of this construction. Young families will be forced to walk in traffic with toddlers and baby carriages for years, as the sidewalks in and around the shopping cent will be destroyed. Our senior population, many who do not drive or use wakers for mobility, will be most affected by the distance they will have to travel , JUST TO GET ESSENTIAL SERVICES!!- In no way can this project "IMPROVE " our neighborhood . No buyer in their right mind will want to purchase our apartments with lack of light, essential services, and the real risk of permanent damage to their family's health!!
Feb. 18, 2015, 4:28 am
MaxG from coney island says:
Completely disagree with all the assumed negatives you listed as they are not fact, simply your opinion. All you mentioned could have been said before every single huge building in our area.

Dense cities with no real estate left can only grow vertically. What is your solution? To limit population growth? To only build single family houses? To limit zone to X stories high? City is growing whether you like it or not. And you should as it benefits society as a whole.
Feb. 18, 2015, 7:07 am
only one trump village building allowed per city from free apartments anyone? says:
If you dont like progress, sell your apartment that you got for free and move. The building is going up and you have time to sell cash out $250,000-$600,000 now sponsored by tax payers.
Why did trump village have many buildings?. They should have made one building and no other building should be allowed near it.
Feb. 18, 2015, 9:03 am
jw says:
Hey MaxG, are you on Schron's payroll? It sure sounds like it.
Feb. 18, 2015, 3:03 pm
Steve from Brighton Beach says:
Its not a question of progress or naturally growing city skylines, its a question of city planning. The reason that the current building is 1 story is so that the building right behind it can get sunlight. Otherwise they could have built another tower. The problem is that when it was built Trump split the ownership between private entity for the shopping center, and Mitchel Lama housing for the towers. By buying the shopping center and reversing the previous plan of 1 story, the developer is saying a big FU to the community. It also means unsealing a toxic well deep underground in an area which was underwater only a few years ago from Sandy. Meanwhile local politicians who should be screaming about how they will block this proposal are putting on a show for the locals at these meetings. If it happens it means there is big time corruption. With a budget of $500 mm its not a surprise that some of these politicians will get very wealthy soon.
Feb. 18, 2015, 11:45 pm
Steve from Brighton Beach says:
MaxG, the reason people are complaining is that the pollution is deep underground and sealed with concrete. It does not pose a threat as described by the DEC. However building a new development means it has to be unsealed, and removed, which will release toxins to 1000's of apartments around it, especially if flooding occurs.
Feb. 18, 2015, 11:50 pm
Sell your FREE apartments and move out from Make is 60 stories high. not 40 says:
Steve. If its so bad, move out.
All the current owners of the free apartments, can sell for big money. $250,00-$600,000 CASH for people who got the apartments for free is big money. Sell and move out.
Feb. 19, 2015, 12:06 am
Jw says:
You're telling them to sell because YOU are a broker and YOU want to make all the money. You probably live in Mill Basin so you don't even care about the people who live here. It's not just a Trump problrm it's a Brighton problem and a Coney Island problem too. Lots of people in the area will suffer because if this.
Feb. 19, 2015, 9:16 am
Lawsuit against this project from west Brighton says:
We must sue them or get the ag's office or some private environmental organization to sue them and stop this project.
Feb. 19, 2015, 4:43 pm
Sarah from Luna Park says:
How ridiculous it is discussing how Trump apts were paid for. Stick to the issues at hand. The health and welfare, and quality of life of thousands of people are at stake. When I first heard about the project I was upset, but the man bought the property and whether I like it or not, if he is operating within the law, he can do what he likes. As more information becomes available, I realize more is at stake. This is no longer an issue of inconvience, but the health of our entire community, not just Trump residents. We are acting as if the toxic materials will only impact the small area right next to the construction site. I am not sure that this is true. Where will the toxic materials, which are now safely contained, be moved to. Has anyone asked how this will impact the amusement area. Would you want to come here and spend the day near a toxic site. Come on, let's work as a group. Local politicians should be finding out what our legal options are and organizing communities to work together to implement them.
Feb. 19, 2015, 5:44 pm
am goodridge from crown hts/prospect hts says:
P.S. this is not the Upper East Side,not 4 avenue ,125 street L.I.city,downtown brooklyn flushing main street, east harlem east NY or
the south bronx corriorder AKA jerome/cromwell. this is the southern brooklyn the peoples backyard NIMBYs united
Feb. 19, 2015, 7:03 pm
Julie from Trump Village says:
For the person who says Trump apts were free...Do some research!!! These apartments were never free!! While under Mitchell Lama ppl who won the lottery/review process had to put down payments of $20,000 in order to live there. Once they went private ppl have to put down $60,000 for down payments.

As for the new bldg/parking lot totally unnecessary. Families with babies/toddlers and the elderly depended on the shopping center and all of its conveniences from the pharmacies, banks, post office etc., how can you get rid of these essential businesses for just pure greed of making more money for the property owner, who clearly does NOT care abt our community and putting our lives and health at risk with all the toxins.

This area suffered enough through Sandy, having everything swept away to finally have everything built back up to be taken away by the property owner.

It's pure greed!!!
Feb. 19, 2015, 8:27 pm
larry from luna says:
The shopping center is dilapidated. THE Landlord has not spent a dime on this property.Nothing can stop the developer.Community should try to scale back bulding and have public parking on site for residents and tourists. Development is good if it done sensibly.you can kiss d2 goodbye say hello trader joe starbucks and hipsters and tatoo parlors skinny jeans .
Feb. 19, 2015, 10:10 pm
Bruce from Coney Island says:
It is all about the quality of life, not just for Trump Village (whatever the new names will be), Warbasse, Brightwater, Luna Park, and the smaller apartment building on West Brighton Beach Ave. It is the short term and long term quality of life.

Short term. It is the buried poisons in the ground. Anyone who is for this project don't live here. That truth will hurt those everyone who is for it, because they don't live here. They don't care if the locals get sick, they wont get sick. You know who else doesn't live here? Those who promise the cleanup will be ok. Schron and his family don't live here, he doesn't care. The loss of Walgreens and a 1/2 dozen store fronts. People who are for it can still go to their local stores, they are still open, ours have closed. Quality of life.

Long term. Over crowded schools. City Controller Scott Stringer and others "PS 100 is operating at 116%, it is overcapacity" Schron's mouthpiece "District 21 is operating at 89% capacity" " We will be creating mostly studio and 1 bedroom apartments, no children" Parking and traffic. Westbound Neptune Ave bet Ocean Parkway and West 5th street, just one lane of traffic. Williamsburg traffic can take 15 minutes to travel one block. Is that is will happen to our neighborhood? Schron doesn't want a traffic study done. Because it will show how our streets cant handle the traffic, a black mark against his development.

And no Trader Joes is coming. Schron's mouthpiece said sure.. they would like a Trader Joes. Ask Trader Joes management if they have any plans? They don't even know Schron or Trump Village exists.

Someone brought up Nimby (Not in my back yard). What do you call it when people are glad it is the other persons back yard this is happening? Selfish.
Feb. 21, 2015, 10:28 am
Lawsuit against this project from Call NYS attorney general shcneiderman says:
We can stop this. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. Call NYS attorney General Schneiderman at
1800 771 7755. Also you can contact private environmental organizations and see if they are interested in helping out.
Feb. 21, 2015, 6:22 pm
Alfred from Sheepshead Bay (orig.) says:
Hazmat procedures are usually very stringently enforced and hopefully UNION-trained personnel will carry out the clean-up. You will probably be safer in the long run if the clean-up takes place.
Feb. 21, 2015, 6:44 pm
Bruce from Coney Island says:
And my neighborhood will be safer if they just leave it alone, like it has been for about 100 years. Some people talk about ground water contamination. When was the last time any new Yorker drank from well water??
Feb. 21, 2015, 10:39 pm
Boris from Brighton Beach says:
Putting a 40 story glass tower on top of a toxic dump, right dead center in a flood zone makes no sense.

It is PURE GREED on the part of this Ruby Schron and company.

This project is WRONG on every single level.

For everyone involved that's wants to screw our neighborhood, there is such a thing called KARMA.
Feb. 23, 2015, 2:36 pm
Gen X from Coney Island says:
According to the article there seems to be quite a few minimally functioning people in Trump and Warbasse. Susceptible to health problems? Can't cross a busy street? Can't get "essentials"? You guys should consult other New Yorkers and ask them how do they cross Broadway or Canal Street or Third Avenue with strollers. Where do elderly people shop withoutout having to walk five or ten blocks?

I don't know whether or not this development will be good for the community long term but the closed mindedness of the opposition is amazing. So many anti-capitalists. How would you like to be denied the right to do what you want with your property?

Look fellas, you don't live in a vacuum even if you want to. Scenic views come and go, traffic patterns change, and neighborhoods change. You live in New York City. Which is more out of sync. A forty story high rise amidst a neighborhood of high rises or Trump and Warbasse when built (circa 1964) amongst two to five story buildings on Ocean Parkway?
Feb. 23, 2015, 6:07 pm
Lawsuit Against This Project from Call NYS Attorney General Schneiderman says:
This can be stopped. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. Start by calling NYS Attorney General Schneiderman at 1-800-771-7755. We can all make a difference. Isn't it worth a few minutes of your time?
Feb. 25, 2015, 9:40 pm
jw says:
GenX, If you were really from Coney Island you'd know that this is a peninsula with few ways in or out and people who really live in Coney are trapped by traffic from the amusement area for several months each year. Putting another traffic jam, a big building with multi level shopping right where Coney begins is crazy. Schron doesn't live anywhere near here and doesn't care about the rights of the people who do, so why should we give a damn about him and his rights?
Feb. 26, 2015, 9:27 am
Fred Trump from Heaven says:
Hello ladies and Gentlemen,

Back in the 60's, when I first build the trump Village towers my goal was to create an atmosphere of a beautiful community where families and children have appropriate access to neighborhood stores, schools, and pharmacies.

It is disappointing to see how the community is now. The trump village mall has been disgusting for past several years.
I blame one of my sons for not improving the outside mall.

At the end, with community support and politicians involvement there will be a compromise made with building 30 floor tower instead of 40 plus upscale stores that community needs.
I thank you all
March 1, 2015, 6:19 pm
Jack from Coney Island says:
There will be no compromise. The residents will file lawsuits that will keep Ruby Schron's lawyers busy for years and years. In the end nothing will be built there.
March 10, 2015, 8:44 pm
Sam from TV3 says:
Let's National Grid will pay for the cleanup from it's own profit, without increasing the bills for clients. National Grid also has to pay for evacuation tenants from buildings, located on distance at least one mile around the place of cleanup activities. National Grid has to pay also for short- and long-term affect on a tenants' health. National Grid has to cleanup Luna-Park, beach and other territory, where poisoned dust can go. National Grid has to be in full charge for the future disaster. Seems, Ruby Schron before buying also had enough information about the poisoned place. Greediness and Company's love to big money can not kill American People around.
April 14, 2015, 7:35 pm

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