Jay (the guy that was along with us for the day) and I took a look over into the Newtown here. Boy did it smell. It was covered with oily slime and filled with floating trash. I talked to Jay a little bit about how anything that is in the street would end up in the waterways - including Newtown. He was kind of surprised.
I have since learned more about our fickle sewage system in NYC. Most of the property that is on the coast is part of the outflow known as "direct flow" which means that none of the run off from the area surrounding Newtown Creek is getting treated. Take a look at some of these places on the perimeter. Imagine water flowing through these lots and right into the river.