Pop quiz:What's the largest oil spill ever in North America?
The 11 million gallons of oil that spilled into Alaska's Prince William Sound 19 years ago when the drunken skipper of the Exxon tanker Valdez piloted the huge ship into the rocks. Right?
True, that was the largest single oil spill into surface waters. But a plume of oil in New York City, apparently in the making for half a century underneath and around the city's Newtown Creek, is estimated to be as large as 17 million gallons or more.
In fact, a report last year by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency suggested that the Newtown spill could be as much as three times larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster.
The scenic Manhattan skyline shimmers above oil-polluted Newtown Creek, an industrial waterway separating Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood from the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens.