Closing Bell: Power Play in Dumbo


Con Ed’s waterfront plant in Dumbo probably made perfect sense back in the day when the neighborhood was a manufacturing ghost town but now that it’s become the most valuable real estate in the borough tensions are mounting. The fact that there have been two explosion in the past nine months hasn’t helped either. “The accidents are outrageous,” said Doreen Gallo, who heads the DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance. “It’s a toxic site that should be parkland.” Councilman Steve Levin concurs but don’t expect to see any greenspace any time soon. Con Ed spokesperson Robert McGee said there were no current plans to shut the site down because “it’s one of our bigger substations” and essential to powering nearby neighborhoods.
DUMBOers: Pull plug on Con Ed [NY Post]

31 Comment

  • minard

    this is about a foot and a half above water level. It is a crazy place for an electric substation -at least it is not a nuclear facility. When the high water comes it will just sizzle and blow up rather than meltdown.

  • dittoburg

    If everyone used bikes, candles and horse-delivery this sort of thing wouldn’t be needed.

  • It’s not a toxic site; it is an essential component of the city’s utility infrastructure that people (for the most part) chose to live near.

    When she had the landmarking of DUMBO to harp about, Doreen at least made sense, even if you disagreed with her. Lately she just seems more and more absurdly hysterical.

  • I can understand harping that an abandoned building or empty lot of an eyesore should be turned into parkland, but come on. This is a power station! Utility aside (and that’s a big aside), I would imagine there are quite a few steps and a decade’s worth of planning that would have to go into converting that.
    Just because people decide to live near a power station doesn’t mean that the power station should be shut down, does it?

  • I can understand harping that an abandoned building or empty lot of an eyesore should be turned into parkland, but come on. This is a power station! Utility aside (and that’s a big aside), I would imagine there are quite a few steps and a decade’s worth of planning that would have to go into converting that.
    Just because people decide to live near a power station doesn’t mean that the power station should be shut down, does it?

    • Agreed. Because the neighboring real estate is valuable now, does that mean that the power plant should move into a less affluent neighborhood so the wealthy can have more amenities surrounding them?

    • I agree. The power station was there for decades, no one twisted her arm to make her live there, it was her free choice…..

      this is like the Carroll Gardens coffee place that the neighbors are complaining about the coffee burning, but the coffee place was there for decades and decades….

      some people feel they are so entitled that when they move into a neighborhood they want everything changed.

      geez, I want to get rid of air traffic, as i hate the sound of anything flying above, but is that going to happen???, no, so I just deal with it…

  • minard

    I for one think the power station should be moved away from desirable residential areas such as DUMBO and world famous Brooklyn Heights and relocated somewhere like Clinton Hill.

  • Anyone else notice the couple with the toxic car left their dog in the car while they (presumably; and admittedly without evidence) went out for drinks with their 20 month old son? Good luck with that one, 1%ers. There are some things not even Nimby can conquer, but if you succeed I have an expressway in front of my apartment I’d like you to start campaigning against.

  • slopemope

    theoretically, con ed should love this. nimbys make big political stink and coned applies to NYSDPS for new substation and associated rate increase, commensurate with their hurdle return. Thanks Doreen, i needed higher bills because you want another park. Not to mention in an area below 2 bridges – you voluntarily moved into – that emits noxious car fumes 24/7/365 above your head. Now, do you really care about your environment or duz ya want some pretty manicured land to sit your skankaliscious azz on.

  • Con Ed said to me in the winter that they are shutting down the steam generating plant that sends steam under the River to the 15th Street plant in Manhattan but keeping two gas turbines available in case of shortages

  • Con Ed said to me in the winter that they are shutting down the steam generating plant that sends steam under the River to the 15th Street plant in Manhattan but keeping two gas turbines available in case of shortages

  • OK, So the power plant has been there for decades and decades, now all of a sudden this Doreen Gallo chick lives here, she feels it is toxic, I guess she is overlooking the 2 bridges above her and all those fumes that emenate from it all day and night all year long…..

    I am also guessing that she did not realize there was a electric power plant there for decades and decades and now that she does, she wants it removed so she can have a park.

    She must no have realized that there is already a park not that far away. I am guessing that she feels entitled to have the power plant removed because she is now a resident of DUMBO and doesn’t like the power plant there, I am also guessing that she DID NOT do her homework when looking for a place to live.
    One would think before moving to a industrial type of neighborhood that one would scout the area very well……one would think…..

    Next thing I bet is Doreen will want all the projects torn down because she will feel there are a lot of undesireale people walking thru her neighborhood, after all she is a resident of DUMBO and things must change to suit her.

    I want to know what is so toxic about an electric plant, obviously we need electricity.

  • Let me try to shed some reason on this. Farragut substation went in service in 1965. Followed by two other substations in that area. One in 1985 and the other in 1989. All three substations are critical parts of New York City’s electric system. They allow Con Edison to import over 1.5 billion watts of power for Manhattan and Brooklyn. This ability to import power has allowed Con Ed to shut down a very old generating station in that neighborhood that was built in 1924 (a benefit). All of these stations provide substantial tax revenue to the benefit of the “hip” DUMBO neighborhood (another benefit).

    Moving these substations is a multi-billion dollar proposition and is basically out of the question unless the federal government steps in and provides money that would have to be borrowed from the Chinese.

    Forgive us, the universe does not revolve around the DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance. They’ll have to learn to live with disappointment.

  • Forgive us, the universe does not revolve around the DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance. They’ll have to learn to live with disappointment.

    Love it !!! I agree with you !!

    You would think the people living in DUMBO listening to the trains rumbling above all day and all night long would be used to little idioscrencys of the neighborhood, that being an electrical plant…as well..

    go figure, some people…

  • the portion of this facility used to generate steam heat in manhattan aside, my understanding is that at least another large portion of this facility is more of a failover and peak load resource than a steady resource. to yell at people that live in the area b/c they chose to live there after the facility had been there or simply state that it’s been this way for years w/o problems are really silly responses to the issue. if the been that way for years position made any sense we’d still be living with elevated trains everywhere throughout the city. with adequte planning and funding this facility could certainly be made unnecessary, and as high value residential density and the park continue to encroach closer to the facility, its end becomes more and more a likelihood than a possibility.

    • b_love, you’ve got this framed wrong. Read mark again for starters. Your understanding of the power plant is correct and perhaps the small gas turbines will go away when more generating capacity is constructed elsewhere. But the transmission system, including the Farragut substation is something else.

      We got rid of elevated trains because we had the ability to replace them with something better. There are no real alternatives to transformer fields, which need to be geographically distributed. Farragut is a major component in the distribution of electricity in New York City.

      What’s more, a major steam line runs through this area. Con Ed is going to have a footprint here for many years to come.

      • you’re assuming that removing this facility means replacing it somewhere else, however it’s far from clear that this facility’s capacity couldn’t be picked up by other existing facilities through better grid management and modifications to other facilities. mark’s post provides a historical overview of the implementation of these facilities but says nothing of their current usage or technology. and yes, there is much improved grid management and power generation technology available now than is currently implemented at this facility or even much of nyc’s grid. this issue is more a matter of limited financial resources than an issue of feasibility, and the financial resources question will continue to transform as the area surrounding this facility becomes more and more residential.

      • you’re assuming that removing this facility means replacing it somewhere else, however it’s far from clear that this facility’s capacity couldn’t be picked up by other existing facilities through better grid management and modifications to other facilities. mark’s post provides a historical overview of the implementation of these facilities but says nothing of their current usage or technology. and yes, there is much improved grid management and power generation technology available now than is currently implemented at this facility or even much of nyc’s grid. this issue is more a matter of limited financial resources than an issue of feasibility, and the financial resources question will continue to transform as the area surrounding this facility becomes more and more residential.

    • b_love, you’ve got this framed wrong. Read mark again for starters. Your understanding of the power plant is correct and perhaps the small gas turbines will go away when more generating capacity is constructed elsewhere. But the transmission system, including the Farragut substation is something else.

      We got rid of elevated trains because we had the ability to replace them with something better. There are no real alternatives to transformer fields, which need to be geographically distributed. Farragut is a major component in the distribution of electricity in New York City.

      What’s more, a major steam line runs through this area. Con Ed is going to have a footprint here for many years to come.

  • For those of you who are non Dumbo residents and may not have all the information about why we (yes I live in Dumbo) are so upset is because there have been two recent explosions that leaked hazardous levels of PCBs. The fact that the plant is immediately across the street from a re-zoned mixed use commercial/residential area is cause for concern. We’ve been very fortunate that no one was injured or killed from the past two incidents. Yes, everyone that moved to Dumbo or Vinegar Hill knew the plant was there. But we did not sign up for explosions that were leaking hazardous chemicals.

    The second point Id like to make is that while ConEd has been there since the 50′s, Dumbo and Vinegar Hill have evolved from their industrial past into arguably one of the most unique neighborhoods in BK. Dumbo is a cultural center for art and Brooklyn Bridge Park is the largest park development in New York City history since Central Park. As the neighborhood goes through transition, we want to give it an opportunity to realize it’s full potential not just for residents bur for all New Yorkers who flock to Dumbo to enjoy the parks and cultural events. When it once made sense to have a sub-station on the Dumbo waterfront, it now stands in the way of creating one of the next great neighborhoods in New York City. More than anything, I think we’d like a dialogue to be started with Con-Ed, the city, and the residents to evaluate possibilities that would be in the best interest of all parties.

  • I think we should consider about the toxicity of the site.As the plant is old and we are facing many accidents so in my point of view we should close it down.