Growing Along the Gowanus

Walking home through the deserted streets that surround New York City's Gowanus Canal, photographer Miska Draskoczy was struck by the perseverance  of nature. “One of my aims with the series is to show just how tenacious nature can be in the face of such grave environmental destruction,” Draskoczy said. An E.P.A. Superfund site, the 1.8 mile-long waterway has been host to all kinds of industrial waste in its 150-year history. Scientists have found PCBs, coal tar, mercury, lead, and even gonorrhea in its murky depths.

Despite all this, Draskoczy was able to capture the life along the polluted channel. A sunflower grows among discarded coffee cups; a vine wraps itself around a graffitied wall; a tree peeps over a corrugated fence. All the images, taken around midnight, focus on this interplay of the organic and industrial. The colors of the desolate environment are rich, almost mimicking the shades of a carefully plotted garden.

With support from Gowanus Canal Conservancy and Arts Gowanus​, Draskoczy is publishing a book of his years-long exploration called Gowanus Wild. Below is a selection of images from the forthcoming title, as well as detailed captions.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Vadim Ghirda / AP

    Photos of the Week: Water Festival, Candy Candidate, Uruguayan Gaucho

    Fashion in Pakistan, Ivanka Trump in Ethiopia, Holy Week celebrations in Spain, an aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, Notre-Dame cathedral ablaze in Paris, spring skiing in Siberia, and much more

  • Wang Zhao / AFP / Getty

    Mars in the Gobi Desert

    Photographers were on hand as some of the first student groups arrived to tour this vision of Mars in China’s Gobi Desert.

  • Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty

    After the Fire: Photos From Inside Notre-Dame Cathedral

    Investigators and photographers were able to get a first look at the damaged interior.

  • Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Devastation of Notre-Dame Cathedral

    A massive fire burned through the roof of one of Europe’s most visited historic landmarks today.