A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 06, 2005
“Asthma Alley”
"Asthma Alley" was probably coined by Jerome Kretchmer, an environmental protection administrator, in 1970. Parts of the south Bronx, western Queens, and Harlem have all been called an "asthma alley."

It's not a happy name for a place to live.

http://umsis.miami.edu/~cspear/
The area on which I am focusing in my case study is the borough of Queens, in New York City. In Queens, specifically the northwest portion of the borough, there exists an area that has come to be known as the infamous "Asthma Alley"- an area filled with pollution due to neighboring power plants that spit out smoke and gas filled with harmful pollution that has caused an increasing number of cases of asthma, especially amidst the younger population. The New York Power Authority is in the middle of putting in two 79.9 megawatt generators in the area (Wilson, 11/26/01). Opponents of the complaints of the installation of the plants claim the area's pollution comes mainly from nearby LaGuardia airport. In order to attempt to greatly resolve the problem of "Asthma Alley", old plants would have to be taken down or improved and this is not a likely prospect.

(Google Groups)
New Yorkers Clean-Up Bronx River
... In fact, Hunts Point is known as "Asthma Alley." The Bronx River Working Group, an alliance of about sixty-groups which includes Youth Ministries for Peace and ...
sci.agriculture - Jan 11 2001, 2:43 am by Whale Watch - 1 message - 1 author

(Google)
Today's Pollution news items links
... Srdanovic said he wants to clear the air pollution that has made western Queens known as "Asthma Alley," and therefore opposes any efforts to shut down the ... ...
alt.politics.democrats.d - Oct 31 2002, 4:16 pm by Grow Some Brains - 1 message - 1 author

(Google)
Long Island City Business Develpment Corporation
... World Asthma Day in May, when several council members went to "Asthma Alley" in the south Bronx and pledged to reverse the trend of rising asthma rates. ...
http://www.licbdc.org/news/2003/ astoria-times-11-27-03-asthma.htm - 10k - Cached - Similar pages

(Google)
RIRA President's Column / The Main Street WIRE
... Although I'm an asthma sufferer myself, I had been unaware that this part of Queens is known as Asthma Alley due to the high incidence of respiratory ...
http://www.nyc10044.com/wire/2005/rirc2005.html - 8k - Cached - Similar pages

(Google)
TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/POLITICAL NEWS
... "The number of cases of asthma reported around the Queensboro Bridge area has earned this area the dubious distinction as 'Asthma Alley. ...
timesnewsweekly.com/OldSite/ 122001/NewFiles/CARPOOLING2.html - 8k - Cached - Similar pages

(Google)
Local Issue
... City by the beginning of the summer, a major portion of them in Western Queens within a stretch of waterfront property already known as "asthma alley." ...
joellandy.tripod.com/local.htm - 6k - Cached - Similar pages

(Google)
iBrooklyn - Congresswoman Velázquez Brings Home $2 Million for GRRC will plant 4800 trees on 240 square blocks along both sides of the Brooklyn/Queens border, known as "Asthma Alley." These trees will help absorb ...
http://www.ibrooklyn.com/site/newsevents/ brooklynprogressonline/32004/article/370 - 21k - Cached - Similar pages

5 August 1970, New York Times, pg. 39:
Two City Officials Clash
On Need for Power Plant
By PETER KIHSS

The heads of two of the city's superagencies clashed yesterday over the proposed Astoria electric plant - one holding it necessary to assure power reliability for a goal of creating 300,000 jobs in a decade, the other charging it would create an "asthma alley."
(...)
Jerome Kretchmer, Environmental Protection Administrator, forecast the "asthma alley" conditions along a four-borough East River path.
(...)
Environmental Protection Administrator Kretchmer linked his "Asthma Alley '74" attack to a map showing the East River lined by 10 power plants.

December 1972, Yale Law Journal, pg. 365:
140. Residents of the East Side call their district "asthma alley" because it has the highest rate of air pollution of any area of the city. Testimony of William J. Diamond, supra note 129, at 5.

February 1981, Medical Anthropology Newsletter, pg. 11:
In their provocative study, "'Asthma Alley': A Space Clustering Analysis of Asthma in Brooklyn," Goldstein and Arthur (1978) studied 9000 asthma visits to the major local hospital and demonstrated that (1) differences in the distribution of asthma cases among the health areas in Brooklyn are significant; and (2) health areas that have the highest asthma visits coincide with the area popularly known as "Asthma Alley."

29 April 1998, Real Estate Weekly, pg. S27:
Jeffrey Klein, a State Assembly representative from the South Bronx, has dubbed a strip of the borough "Asthma Alley" because 25 percent of the children living there have asthma. Why? Perhaps because we are growing the molds, dust mites and other organisms that cause asthma right in the center of the buildings we live in.

14 January 2001, New York Daily News, pg. 42:
Paul Lipson, director of the South Bronx's Point Community Development Corp. said the Port Morris sites are "right in the middle of Asthma Alley."

"Not only do we have the second-highest childhood asthma hospitalization rate in the city after East Harlem, but the wind tends to blow everything from Long Island City right our way, so we're going to get hit twice," he said.

8 July 2002, New York Daily News, pg. 1:
"Western Queens has come to be known as 'Asthma Alley' because asthma rates in the community are among the highest in the nation, among other things, due to high levels of sulfur, nitrates and other particulate matter emanating from power plants in the area," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan) said Friday.

13 November 2003, NPR: The Tavis Smiley Show:
Pastor NEUMARK: In the book, breathing space has different levels of meaning. One thing in the South Bronx, it was a literal struggle for life where asthma - it's the highest level for asthma in the nation, kind of part of Asthma Alley also goes into East Harlem. And there was a lot of social condition that led to that. Most of the garbage in New York City was - the sewage processed in the Hunts Point area of the South Bronx. There were a lot of hospital waste incinerator facilities, so that it was really political, social decisions made in other parts of the city that was creating lack of breathing space in a very literal way for the children of the South Bronx.

10 July 2004, New York Times, pg. B3:
Dick Lutz, the editor of Roosevelt Island's newspaper, The Main Street WIRE, said residents support the project. ''We live in asthma alley, so this is a huge step in the right direction,'' he said, explaining that many residents complain about the effects of living downwind from KeySpan Energy Corporation's Ravenswood power plant and several 10-megawatt generators belonging to New York Power Authority in Long Island City.

Posted by Barry Popik
Neighborhoods • (0) Comments • Friday, May 06, 2005 • Permalink