Toxi City: Exploring Brooklyn's Industrial Legacy


Gowanus-July 4th

Posted in Brownfield,Gowanus Canal by Robin on July 6, 2009
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On July 4th, I got up and went out at sunrise to the Douglass-Degraw pool. It was built right over the spot where the Fulton Works manufactured gas plant operated. The light was lovely. When I got to the pool, the light wasn’t over the trees yet. I began to shoot.
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Suddenly, I hear a very loud yawning sound like someone waking up in a cartoon and I see two arms and the top of someone’s head inside the locked compound. A young man bound over one of the internal fences and proceeded to wash his face in the pool. I am no longer feeling comfortable. It is a holiday about 6am and there is no one around anywhere. I decide to leave. I just am not interested in confrontation. I think if I circle around the block maybe he will have left for breakfast and the sun will have come up over the trees. I stop on the Carroll Street bridge and see this cormorant.
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As I walk around on 3rd Avenue, I remember, its the 4th of July!
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When I turned the corner of Degraw Street, there were three young men sitting/standing around one of the benches at the top of the park. I could think of only one reason that they would be there so early. With no one else around, I left. I will come back on a week day when people are at work.

Having had two days in a row situations where the conditions of urban poverty made me feel too uncomfortable to shoot, I have started to think very seriously about how much the brownfield issue is an environmental issue and how much a class issue.

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