Monday, April 26, 2021

Earth Day on the Gowanus Canal

A friend on the Gowanus.


Marilyn Robinson writes,

“The oldest anecdotes from which we know ourselves as human, the stories of Genesis, make it clear that our defects are sufficient to bring the whole world down.”  


We can see it here in New York, where developers plunder neighborhoods.


Over and over again.

Neighborhood after neighborhood, developer agendas moving forward.

Our battle to keep the Temporary Restraining Order for the Gowanus Rezone lost in court.

Now, this neighborhood, like Times Square and Williamsburg before it, faces the pressures of developer redesigns, rebranding neighborhoods into chains of big boxes.


The Gowanus rezone is making us sick,

say my friends Penn Rhodeen and Marlene Donnelly in the New York Daily News:|

“The battle over the massive Gowanus rezoning plan roiling Brooklyn involves urgent environmental issues that we ignore at our physical and moral peril.

The latest news is the discovery by a longtime Gowanus blogger that lethal coal tar poisoning land next to the canal had, as early as 2005, migrated beyond that land and slithered underneath existing buildings to the north, the canal itself and beyond to the east and Smith St. to the west….Despite that remaining coal tar, developers backed by City Planning intend to build a 950-unit apartment complex ironically called Gowanus Green on Public Place.”


“We are burning the great library of biodiversity,” says Jimmy Tobias, at Judson on Sunday, on the week of Earth Day.


Saturday, our union endorses Scott Stringer, to support a public sector of essential workers, a clean environment, and education for all.


“Ready to work, on day one,” we chant in English and Spanish.

“How about Bengali?” says one organizer, referring to the taxi drivers on hand.


Ready to go day one.

He’s been there for us.

We'll be there for him.


Press conference and a bike ride, music shows in the park, very few masks, one step up, two back.


Riding through the East Village, kids are out in holy NYC, bands playing, people meeting, talking, sharing the city together.


Graffiti and murals everywhere in the boarded up downtown.


Detach, we are infinite, says one.


Illness out there.

As well as joy.


A magic mountain approaches.

One day we’ll all be living there.

Not quite sure of the affliction.


A rapper dead, cars everywhere.

Monster Truck Carries Rapper DMX's Coffin to Memorial Service…”

A sea of cars… grips.

Up to Garrison, we see the folks, playing frisbee in the country,

And walk about to St Philip's Church in the Highlands,

Stone Gothic Revival on Rt 9D.


Al and I talk about music for hours.

Agree, disagree, music must change.

We all must.

I still love Kronus’ “Purple Haze…”

Even if Al doesn’t like Aaron Copland.

He’d rather play Béla Bartók’s quartets.


I find myself thinking of Chuck, a high school teacher, who met me up here.

And then Tom who drove us to and from the show, splashing in the son with the kids.

Long gone.

Cancers real.

Everyone growing, life changing.

Out to LA, New Haven, Boston, their kids go.


Cities and stories loom.

Calling us.


Rebecca Katz@
 "The soul of NYC is standing strong w/ @scottmstringer - they're the working class, union members, NYkers who helped us all survive ... Good point here from Barbara Bowen - for the first time in over 20 yearsall three public education unions - @UFT, @PSC_CUNY & @FollowCSA - are united behind the same candidate."


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