Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Revenge of the Roebling Oil Field: GL Attacked by Sinkhole

Roebling Oil Field Sink Hole

So, Gowanus Lounge ended 2006 by falling into a sinkhole in Williamsburg, allowing us to finally know the joy of what it feels like to have the ground give way beneath your feet. This bit of year-end fun took place at the horrific interesting development site at N. 11th and Roebling in Williamsburg that we've dubbed the Roebling Oil Field. We were there to have another look at the attrocious toxic muck oozing from the ground challenging development conditions. (We'll have a pictoral update of the oily slime remediation-in-progess tomorrow.) In any case, back to how we fell into a freaking sinkhole in the sidewalk. (That's the offending hole above, minus yours truly).

We were walking alongside the site on N. 11th Street when we noticed a patch of asphalt. About the time we noted that it was sagging slightly, we stepped on it and it gave way. We sank into the small, yet very menacing hole nearly to our waist before the ground stopped giving way and we lifted ourselves out.

The irony of being attacked by a development that we've been blogging about did not escape us, even as we brushed off the stinky dirt, took off our shoes to shake out the soil and wondered if we'd go to lunch smelling like a can of motor oil. We're certain that the Little Roebling Oil Field Sinkhole will be filled at some point today (and hope that no drunken New Year's revelers stumbed into it at 4AM), but our advice--other than to check out what was under your Williamsburg or Greenpoint condo before dropping $500K on it--is to steer clear of the sidewalks around the Roebling Oil Field.

In googling to find out whether sinkhole is one word or two, we also discovered that there's a sinkholelawyer.com. Seriously. It's a law firm in Florida, where humongous house eating sinkholes happen with alarming frequency. And, there's also a sinkhole.org, where we learned that our little Williamsburg Hipster Hole isn't a sinkhole at all, but a hole probably caused by soil contraction or settlement. In plain English, the Oil Field workers didn't throw in enough dirt before covering the opening with asphalt.

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