Tyler and I roamed around an empty city this weekend. We biked and ate and lay on the grass. We saw Super 8 (I don’t recommend it), sang karaoke with friends (it seems that The Carpenters should be my karaoke artist of choice) and cooked delicious treats from the farmer’s market and our CSA (skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, roasted beats, & braised kale with beet greens.)
But exploring the Gowanus Canal was the highlight of the weekend. We took a canoe out there and paddled around. It was, perhaps, one of the strangest activities we’ve participated in around these parts. In the past, I’ve held my nose and biked or walked over the canal but never before been in it, really in it, until Saturday.
It should be noted that canoeing the Gowanus Canal is not like taking a boat out onto the beautiful blue bayou.
The canal is, and this is the best way I can put it, if not the most eloquent, a disgusting mess. Years of commercial shipping and an extremely flawed design that did not allow for proper water flow have left its murky waters polluted and environmentally unsound. After much controversy between the city and the EPA, it was named a Superfund site in 2010, for better or for worse. We can only hope for better.
So, we went canoeing in it. Because, sometimes, the ugliest or most neglected of places are the places that need to be seen.
Thank you to the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club for standing outside in the heat, for keeping the boat sturdy when we stepped into waters we could not touch, for telling me about the flowers native to the Gowanus, and, most importantly, for teaching environmental awareness in such a unique way.
How did you spend the weekend?