Prior to industrialization, Newtown Creek hosted a sizable population of mussel on its bottom and at the confluence of Maspeth Creek and Newtown Creek was Mussel Island, an uninhabited patch of marshland that survived into the 1940s. With hundreds of thousands of vessels traveling through Newtown Creek in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this island posed a navigation hazard, forcing boats to tightly swerve around it.
In 1921, Congress approved a dredging project for Newtown Creek that proposed to eliminate Mussel Island in favor of a "turning basin" that would enable larger vessels to turn around. By the end of the following decade, the project was completed and the island disappeared beneath the water. Map company Hagstrom continued to mark the island on its maps until October 2000, when a reader asked The New York Times about the island and Hagstrom conceded that it no longer belonged on the map.
- Kadinsky, Sergey (2016). Hidden Waters of New York City: A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams in the Five Boroughs. Countryman Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-1-58157-566-8.
- "NEWTOWN CREEK PLAN WINS; War Department Grants Permit to Straighten Channel". The New York Times. September 18, 1929. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
- "PRAISES DEVELOPMENT OF NEWTOWN CREEK; Port Authority Calls $1,048,653 Federal Outlays for It in Thirty Years Good Investment". The New York Times. May 22, 1932. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
- Schneider, Daniel B. (October 29, 2000). "F.Y.I." The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
- Coordinates: Confluence of Newtown and Maspeth Creeks.
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