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

  • © Marco Gaiotti / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    People’s Choice: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021

    The Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest is inviting the public to vote for their favorite image, selected from a group of shortlisted entries.

  • NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

    2021 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

    Every day until Saturday, December 25, we’ll present one new image of our universe from NASA’s orbiting telescope.

  • Bruno Kelly / Reuters

    A Crackdown on Illegal Gold Dredging in Brazil

    Rumors of a gold discovery recently brought hundreds of illegal mining dredges to a river in the Amazon. Officials have set fire to more than 60 of them.

  • Xie Mingfei / VCG / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Apple Crisp, Squirrel Tea, Floating Pumpkin

    A crab migration on Christmas Island, dengue-fever outbreaks in Pakistan, a castle in eastern France, migrants crossing the English Channel, and much more