The Transcontinental Pipeline (Transco) is an interstate natural gas pipeline between the Gulf Coast and the Marcellus Shale; a portion runs underwater through New York’s Lower Bay. Completed in 2015, the Rockaway Delivery Lateral (RDL) is a three-mile-long gas pipeline extending from the Transco pipeline through Jacob Riis Park and Floyd Bennett Field. It runs under Flatbush Avenue to bring natural gas to parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Plans for the RDL were criticized for expanding commitments to fossil fuels, for running through a national park, for its proximity to the popular beaches at the Rockaways, and for the environmental risks the pipeline poses to marine life and residents alike. Proponents see the efficient provision of natural gas as a critical part of the city’s clean air goals. A new proposal by The Williams Companies, Transco’s owner and operator, to build a second offshore pipeline in New York Bay is currently under review.
Here, at the border of Gateway National Recreation Area and Brooklyn, the pipeline is unmarked. The tall pole supports cameras, the short ones are little ventilation towers, with pressure regulators in the boxes. Totally nondescript, everyone passes it on their way to the beach. One in 100,000 people might know what it is, but there it is in our midst, with lots of surveillance cameras.
All photographs copyright Stanley Greenberg.
Stanley Greenberg is the author of Time Machines (2011), Under Construction (2010), Waterworks: A Photographic Journey Through New York’s Hidden Water System (2003), and Invisible New York: The Hidden Infrastructure of the City (1998). Greenberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, and lives there now.