Sunday, October 30, 2022

Red on grey - Gowanus Canal

Autumn is in the saturated Virginia creeper beside the opaque Gowanus Canal. The gray/grey cement factory behind it is one of the industrial remnants of the polluted waterway, now undergoing daily dredging (of the toxic gunk nick-named black mayonnaise) to the tune of many millions of Superfund dollars. 

(I just fact-checked my glib millions. It's $1.5 billion.)

I have always liked the Gowanus Canal, even in its oil-slicked state. When I lived in Cobble Hill, to the west of the waterway (we now live east of it) I sometimes walked across the Union Street Bridge to Prospect Park, or to eat at Al di La, and would see schools of minnows jumping in the water at night, leaping above the reflections of lights, perhaps chased by a larger fish. It seemed incredible that life persisted in that sluggish and dark passage.

Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) grows here, too, planted in a small, un-maintained park that came very close to dying this last summer, through rainless months. Its neighbors are serviceberry and bayberry, black cherry, and linden. In June I like to lead walks here, when the lindens are in perfumed bloom and the serviceberries are ripe.


Wild November Walks


  1. What a delightful corner of wildness in the city. Reminds me of the LIRR easements through Queens to Auburndale

    1. That's interesting. I need to Train, more...


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