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With the combined effects of the surge from Hurricane Sandy and high tide, the Gowanus Canal broke its banks this morning in multiple locations and flooded over many of the streets in mandatory evacuation Zone A along its shores. The Observer was on hand to take pictures of the waters. It was far worse than anything we witnessed with the initial Sandy surge at high tide last night.
While the only serious flooding we saw last night was on 2nd Street, this morning saw waters creeping up almost every block next to the canal near Carroll Gardens. Flooding in the canal is troubling as its a superfund site that is home to extensive industrial activity and has a long, well-deserved reputation as a hotbed of toxic sludge and pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency describes the canal as “one of the nation’s most extensively contaminated water bodies.”
While most of us see the Gowanus as a flowing bed of toxic sludge, it is also a fount of poetic inspiration. So while we continue to wait out the storm, those of us with power and an internet connection, let’s take a dip into our online archive and read a few poems by Julian Talamantez Brolaski from gowanus atropolis— here and here. And while we’re at it, please take a listen to this podcast that gets deeper into the Gowanus mess.