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Thread: The Gowanus Canal

  1. #16

    Default The Gowanus Canal

    I married a crab. Does that count?

  2. #17

    Default The Gowanus Canal

    Gowanus Canal??
    nasty, nasty, ewww!

  3. #18

    Default The Gowanus Canal

    Steve was doing field work early one morning at Coney Island
    Creek. Before returning to his office at 26 Fed Plaza, he stopped at a downtown bar. We noticed a few little friends had become attached to him, and the name, well, stuck. He is a good source of ecological info about NY Bay - once he's deloused.

    The canal improved considerably once the pumping station was
    repaired. Hard to believe someone dropped a wrench into the machinery, and they waited 30 years to fix it. Life has returned - I think even crabs (anyone you know Ronald?)

  4. #19

    Default The Gowanus Canal

    "Life has returned - I think even crabs (anyone you know Ronald?)"

    Maybe my wife's relatives! Anyway, I have been fortunate to go on two Gowanus Canal cruises. One was on a 65-foot boat and we were told it was one of the largest boats to go all the way down the canal in years. The other cruise was aboard the Chelsea Screamer speedboat. Everyone aboard both tours was prepared for foul odors but there weren't any. Naturally the highlight of any Gowanus cruise is watching the various bridges open. We applauded the bridge guys at each one. Our opinion of the canal is that it has unlimited potential for development, once the shoreline is cleaned up.

  5. #20

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    I once chucked a brick in there and it floated. Back when Jimmy Carter said "Lets give the canal back to Panama!" I was hoping he meant the Gowanus.

  6. #21

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    I couldn't help but throw another map in. The blocks directly surrounding the Gowanus from both sides are largely industrial. Let's hope we hear new industrial and commercial activity along the canal front in the years to come.

    (Edited by Agglomeration at 12:12 am on June 22, 2003)

    (Edited by Agglomeration at 12:14 am on June 22, 2003)

  7. #22
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default The Gowanus Canal

    Good map.

    There seem to be plenty of vacant lots, parking lots, and "all others/no data" lots along the canal.

  8. #23

    Default The Gowanus Canal

    July 2, 2003

    A Brooklyn Seal's Trick: Surviving the Gowanus


    Gowanda, or Henry? Naming a seal that was found in Brooklyn is the question. It is being nursed back to health by the Riverhead Foundation.

    Pretty soon, a 1-year-old harp seal that became the talk of Red Hook is expected to paddle onto Long Island Sound, leaving behind its celebrity in Brooklyn for a life of anonymity in open waters.

    For years, runners and fishermen have reported glimpsing just such a seal sliding through the Gowanus Canal and its nearby bay. Many scoffed at the sightings, saying the water was too polluted to support anything but sea gulls and a few hardy fish, but the sightings and stories persisted.

    One woman even offered a cash reward for proof $100 for the first photograph of the seal.

    That proof came on April 8, when. John Quadrozzi Jr., president of Gowanus Industrial Park, walked in the shadows of a defunct grain terminal that looms beside the Henry Street Basin in Brooklyn. Mr. Quadrozzi and a contractor were examining recent renovations to the pier when they noticed a bruise on the calm water.

    They paid the ripples little heed until a whiskered head emerged. It paddled through the water as Mr. Quadrozzi and his companion stared into the bay, amazed.

    "It's surprising enough to find fish here," Mr. Quadrozzi said. "The last thing you'd expect to see is a seal."

    Word spread quickly.

    David Sharps, president of the Waterfront Museum in Red Hook, said he had only seen herons, ducks and other bird species on the canal. So when he heard the seal had been found, he called his two daughters and brought them to see.

    "They didn't believe me at first," Mr. Sharps said. "They said: `What? You're kidding!' We were certainly intrigued, you know, just in its unusualness."

    In fact, harp seals have become a more common sight on Long Island during the past decade, said Rob DiGiovanni, senior biologist of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research, where the seal was taken. It is being treated for dehydration and a nasty case of worms.

    Such seals are natives of the North Atlantic and Arctic, but scientists believe a growing population and shifts in climate and food sources have pushed populations farther south.

    Of the 57 stranded animals that were reported to the Riverhead Foundation this year, 26 have been harp seals. But the 80 percent of those are found on the eastern portion of the island, away from New York City, Mr. DiGiovanni said.

    "They have a reputation for popping up in all sorts of strange places," said Greg Early, a marine biologist who has worked extensively with seal populations in the Northeast.

    Few places seem less accommodating to a seal than the Gowanus Canal, one of the last vestiges of New York's industrial waterfront. The Gowanus waterway is lined with a cement terminal, oil storage tanks and construction barges. Yesterday afternoon, algae clouded the water, whiffs of garbage floated on the breeze, and backhoes dipped their necks into the bay, like herons looking for dinner.

    "It's pretty disgusting," Mr. Quadrozzi said.

    Biologists said they would probably never know whether conditions in the Gowanus contributed to the seal's malnutrition, dehydration and parasites.

    Shortly after it surfaced, the seal clambered out of the water and made its way over broken asphalt and glass. Mr. Quadrozzi said he could tell the seal was hurt. Blood was smeared across the seal's muzzle, and it lay on its side in the snow, with steam streaming off its skin. It munched a little snow and languidly waved a flipper that was tattooed with lesions.

    But after more than two months recuperating at the Riverhead Foundation, the seal has gained weight and swims around its tank with renewed energy. It will be released in the next two weeks, Mr. DiGiovanni said.

    The community has grown attached. Before the seal is turned loose, the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation will adopt it and name it Gowanda, despite the objections of Mr. Quadrozzi, who said Gowanda is a ludicrous name for a seal. He prefers Henry.

    Theo Christodoulides, who operates the nearby Court Cafe, wants to post a picture of the seal on his restaurant's walls, and he is planning a seafood special featuring "whatever the seal would eat" named after the seal.

    There have even been stories of a second seal swimming around the canal, but Mr. Christodoulides is skeptical.

    "Maybe it's a fisherman's story," he said.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  9. #24
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Default The Gowanus Canal

    Quote: from ZippyTheChimp on 7:54 am on May 21, 2003
    ...Of course we always went there, hopefully to spot the mythical water rat, purported to be as big as a dog.
    Maybe the mythical water rat was a harp seal!

    Its so darn cute, I wish we had more playing around the Hudson piers. Keep it in one of the fountains perhaps?

  10. #25
    Forum Veteran
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    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

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    Maybe after the Canal is cleaned up. *That would be a sight. *Maybe it'll be like the Wharf in SF!

  11. #26

    Default The Gowanus Canal

    Hmmmm - it could have been a seal.
    Another childhood myth shattered.

  12. #27

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    Dredging the Gowanus Canal

    It is imperative that the Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the city, dredge the Gowanus Canal above the I-278/Hamilton Avenue bridges to the head of the canal. The Gowanus should be classified as a Federally maintained waterway from the I-278/Hamilton Avenue bridge to the end of the Canal at the pumping station. The dredging would be beneficial in the following ways:

    1) To clean out the debris and the polluted sludge that is lurking in the bottom of the Gowanus Canal.

    2) To make commercial navigation easier on the barge and tugboat pilots. Believe it or not, there are four commercial barge terminals north beyond the Hamilton Avenue/ I-278 bridges. The Gowanus Canal actually handled 362,000 tons of materials in 2001, according to the USACE publication Waterborne Commerce of the USA.

    3) Co-existing with the existing and hopefully expanded industries are recreational facilities, such as parks, a water taxi/ferry service (if the market demands it), and a public marina and/or boat tie up area.

  13. #28

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    A friend sent me the link to this forum, and I happily read of your postings. Personally, I belive that the canal has unlimited opportunities, but it relies on government/community support for the massive changes to actually occur. On that note, I hope that everyone who has posted an interest in the canal will be participating in the summer's activities. For example, there will be paddling opportunities tomorrow, July 26, 2003. *

    If you come at high tide, there is generally less odor. Most importantly, the canal is teeming with wildlife including crabs.

  14. #29

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    I'm glad for the efforts to repair 100 years of abuse.
    I was looking for The Tick Man to inquire about dredging, but he is out in the field. As I understand it, the USACE and DEP study is for environmental restoration. Any dredging would be done to remove contaminants, not deepen the channel.
    The preferred method would be to leave the material in place
    and use other means. If sediment removal is necessary, the bulkheads would need to be repaired.

  15. #30

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    In order to truly harness the potential of the Gowanus Canal, deepening the channel and disposing or recycling the silt is the most practical solution. It would make commercial navigation of the Gowanus easier for the tugs and barges that still navigate the canal to the existing industries. Deepening the channel would also attract new waterborne industries to the canal, such as water taxis, ferries, and other maritime uses. New York City could use more maritime jobs-or for that matter-just jobs!!

    1) The three companies that have facilities on the Canal should pressure the city and the USACE for dredging to the end at the pumping station.

    2) Concurrently, the EDC should take the lead in soliciting interest industries that could relocate their operations to the canal. This would allow companies that rely on trucks to switch at least some of their modes of transporting/receiving goods from land to water. Types of industries include water taxis/ferries, scrap, concrete, and other bulk cargoes.

    3) The city should provide a variety of incentives, including tax breaks, to companies relocating to the Gowanus Canal area.

    4) I do not see cafes, eateries, shops, and other purely service sector industries as productively harnessing the canal itself. How many shops and eateries does NYC need? A sane and rational economy should be based on the productive assets of the city (and for that matter the nation), with the service/tourist industry as complimentary to the finance and industrial sectors that should be in the lead.

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