I frequently walk between Brooklyn's Park Slope and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods, either via Union Street or Carroll Street. Parts of each walk have their charm, especially when I enter the outskirts of tree-lined Carroll Gardens.
However, between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens lies the Gowanus Canal, also known as an EPA Superfund site. When it rains too much, as was the case this past month, the Gowanus floods, offering up sludgy water and a disturbing smell to its surrounding neighbors. Despite its toxicity, brave Brooklynites kayak and even live in (probably illegal) houseboats on the canal! Outdoor barbecues and impromptu parties also spring up along the water. I guess in some people's minds, any water access is better than no water access.
I'm equally mesmerized and disgusted by the canal. It alternates between feeling filthy and seedy one day to visually interesting the next. A walk over the canal provides interesting views of Brooklyn, a myriad of textures (wood, metal, wire) and some surprising colors. One of my favorite parts of the walk from Park Slope to Carroll Gardens is the blue bridge over the canal on Carroll Street.
The bridge's unexpected cheery blues, reds, and yellows stand in stark contrast to the sludge and graffiti that surround it. (The colors and textures also make it a great place for an impromptu photo shoot!)
To learn more about the Gowanus Canal, NY Magazine published a brief history in 2009 of how the canal became the polluted mess it is, before it was officially labeled a Superfund Site in 2010. Read that article HERE.