Mar 17, 2010
Last week, the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn was named a Superfund site, meaning that umpteen million dollars will be poured into cleaning up its pollution. Gowanus water has been sludged with grease and foul-smelling nastiness for a long, long time--so long, in fact, that hardly any new buildings have been constructed in the neighborhood since the nineteenth century.
This painting was recently submitted to the New York Times by an anonymous artist, in response to a call for works remembering the canal and its neighborhood. In this scene, the neighborhood looks bright and vibrant. "The artist's eye can find something special in this unlikely place," noted one New Yorker. "But if you've been there, you know it by the smell."
"And the noise!" observed another. "Lots of old Italian men screaming words of torment and threat into the night, muttering something about busting someone’s head off with a baseball bat."
"This reminds me of the old joke," said a third. "Guy asks, 'What's the quickest way to the Gowanus?' The answer is: 'Borrow five hundred dollars from Dominic and don't pay him back.'"