It was torturous to have to watch piece after piece fall of the tree and rot. The bees came a lot that summer, as did some rats to feast on some cancerous fruit. You couldn't tell, though, which is what made the ordeal so deceptive. They looked great. The backyard was shielded from truck soot on busy Kingsland Avenue by a large public school with an enormous playground.
So, now in 2008, a little over a decade later, people are discovering there is a lot more to deal with in Greenpoint than just an oil spill that was by far larger than Valdez. Dry cleaning chemicals and automotive waste is drifting up from the ground as well. Scary stuff. People are fearful their property values will drop substantially if they allow testing on their homes and chemical vapors are found.
Back in 98, we took the apartment partially out of desperation for badly needing a place to live and it was a two bedroom for less than a grand. We could deal with the oil spill, tolerate it because we were really young, and shit it was part of the charm of living in the "industrial" section of the neighborhood. Not sure if I'd do it again.