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.

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