Watch The Bravest Man In Brooklyn Dive Into The Gowanus Canal

There are a lot of things that are risky to do when you live in NYC. Touching a subway pole is a risk most of us take everyday. Doing the worm on a sidewalk after 1989 (speaking from personal experience here) is pretty dangerous. Touching the bottom of your shoe after a day on the town, also a risky move. But diving into the Gowanus Canal? That just seems a bit too risky.

This Sunday, John D’Aquino of the Coney Island River Rats will do just that. Donning a hazmat suit, diving gear and a handy helmet cam, the 38-year-old diver will take a brief 3 p.m. plunge into the canal as part of a demonstration for the first-ever TEDx conference in Gowanus. While he’s under whatever percentage of the canal that is water, his fellow River Rat, Lenny Speregen will give a short talk about diving to conference attendees.

“I’m fascinated by places most people wouldn’t even think of going swimming,” D’Aquino told the Daily News.

Still, D’Aquino plans on completely avoiding the canal’s bottom, which like Newtown Creek’s, is covered in toxic sludge. Instead, he’ll give those at the conference a first-hand look at the murky waters, a result of decades of industrial abuse. Though the conference is sold-out, interested parties can stream the whole thing on This’ll be one for the local history books.

 Follow Nikita Richardson on Twitter @nikitarbk

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