Saturday, July 7, 2012

Canoeing on the Gowanus Canal

by baad lamb

Back in May, on a beautiful sunny Saturday, my aimless wandering of New York's industrial fringe found me in Gowanus, at the dead end where 2nd Street meets the Gowanus Canal. The two gentlemen sitting in folding chairs off to the side were not immediately visible as I contemplated the posters displayed in the upright old dinghy. Before I could read beyond "BROOKLYN'S COOLEST SUPERFUND SITE", one of the men approached. Would I like to canoe the canal? Hell yes!

Paddling a canoe alone on the canal while trying to take pictures and video can be challenging, especially with the constant breeze wanting to spin the boat in circles anytime I put the paddle down and picked up the camera. Adding to the fun, occasional forceful discharges from invisible pipes would spew questionable liquids, creating a sudden current on what was, not long ago, largely a stationary cauldron of chemicals and waste-water (reactivating and upgrading the pumping station has begun to change that). I didn't have enough time to explore as deeply as I wanted; the area south of the Smith and 9th Street F & G trains viaduct still beckons. Can't wait to go back, but I'll bring the reluctant "why-are-you-taking-us-to-another-industrial-area?" husband, so one can navigate while the other films.

In the video above, note the car that backs up on the 3rd Street Bridge; we exchanged waves, although they are too far away in this video to see the arm come out the window; I guess they could not believe they just saw someone leisurely exploring this NYC waterway!

The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club sponsors public canoeing on Saturdays, from March to October, 1PM to 5PM, and Wednesday evenings, 6PM to 8PM, May to August. The canoeing is free, but your much appreciated donation will be be put to good use (you can even become a member).

Check out ten more photos after the jump...

                     Clever boat-sign                          Under 3rd street bridge                                 Hello Sailor!

Graffiti and reflections

Tantalizing glimpse of the beautiful abandoned power station     The scrap metal recycling plant and barge

Interesting street art (canal art?) hanging from tree on the edge of the controversial Whole Foods site

View to downtown Manhattan with WTC tower and cranes at the center

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