Blog Post 2

Earlier this week, we had a guest speaker who came into class and spoke about Gowanus, Brooklyn. Prior to the lecture was a site visit to Gowanus as well. Here, we visited the Gowanus canal, the neighborhood, several industries and more landmarks and buildings of Gowanus Brooklyn. He mentioned many topics and points about Gowanus. He shared with the class a well described history of Gowanus as well. Certain topics mentioned were the Dutch, brackling water, the Gowanus Creek in New Amsterdam, Daniel Richards, the superfund project, the battle of Brooklyn, sludgie the whale and more. In my opinion, his lecture was great. He was able to answer any question thrown at him and he was also very well educated on the topic of Gowanus. Sludgie the whale was a real event that took place on April 15, 2007. Generally, it was a storm which expanded on this day. Sludgie was a baby whale who wondered into the polluted canal and died here after straying away from her natural habitat. One of the topics that came to my attention during the lecture was the Battle of Brooklyn. This took place next to an old stone house in Gowanus on April 27, 1776. This was an important battle that took place here and it was known that the British captured New York City. The newspaper series titled “Brooklyn’s Daily Eagle” had the whole article about the battle taking place. I became highly interested in this topic because you always hear about several battles and fights. However, it is a great experience to be able to visit the area of where it all took place. Daniel Richards was also famous during this time as he brought a new business to Brooklyn. He owned a minerals spa. The Gowanus Canal is full of sediments and pollution. There was an image that helped the class to visualize the layers of buildup in the Gowanus Canal. Starting from the bottom lies the habitat, the gravel layer, the sand and gravel isolation layer, the treatment layer and lastly the stabilized native sediment. The Dutch arrived in Gowanus roughly around 1626. At this time, they started to build mills, and control floods. This became the time of changing demographics in the neighborhood. Another topic mentioned was proto-industrialization which was the modernization of the industrial economies. In addition to modernization would be the superfund project. This is the cleanup process the Gowanus Canal. The cost of the cleanup is roughly $506 million which is a steep budget for New York City at the moment. Other alternatives are being introduced. Due to the cost of cleanup, congress may slow down by defunding Superfund. Overall, having the guest lecturer was a great experience for me because before this class, I wasn’t entirely familiar with Gowanus and the industrial side. After visiting the site and receiving a lecture, I am more aware of Gowanus and how it is rapidly developing and impacting Brooklyn.

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