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As you likely have heard, the Gowanus Canal is filthy. Made by man's own hands in the 1860s, it was designated a Superfund site in 2010, and granted $506 million to fund its cleanup. But before the polluted stew that inhabits the foundation of the canal (called "Black Mayonnaise" and composed of, in part, chips of asbestos, plus some arsenic, copper, lead, and mercury) can be dredged and removed next year, the industrial garbage that's been dumped...
By all accounts, the Gowanus Canal was a clean waterway when it was built in 1849. But the industry that it supported, and the combined wet weather and sewage overflows that emptied into it at 10 bank-side locations, made it, to put it lightly, dirtier. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the canal a Superfund site. Just a year prior, in 2009, developer Toll Brothers Inc. initiated a zoning change to the canal's waterfront...
For starters, this: A residential high-rise set to open this winter at 365 Bond Street in Gowanus—home of one of the country's most toxic waterways—received 56,058 applications for, hilariously, 86 affordable apartments. Good news, for the less than two percent of these applicants who will be granted one kind-of-reasonably-priced unit next to the Gowanus Canal, their future waterfront esplanade home will come with a giant sponge system to keep all of those pollutants at bay. Yes, to live affordably...
Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal by Joseph Alexiou (New York University Press)Have you heard a waterway hiss? Have you seen solid poo break asunder and dissolve? No? Well, then: Walk down Brooklyn’s Bond Street, turn onto Douglass, and stop—please—at the water’s edge. That stench that stanks, that fizzling miasma, is the Gowanus Canal, the notoriously toxic channel of chemicals, sludge, rotting mammals and, reportedly, even some actual H2O. It is also, despite all appearances, one of...

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