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

  • Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Wooden Troll, Violin Boat, River Mary

    Scenes from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, wildfires in Turkey and Russia, a spacecraft in Earth’s orbit, migrants crossing the Mediterranean, flooding in China, and much more

  • David Swanson / Reuters

    Photos of California’s Dixie Fire

    Scenes from the Golden State’s largest wildfire of 2021 so far

  • Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

    Tokyo 2020: Images From the First Weekend of the Olympics

    Scenes from the first few days of Olympic competition in Japan

  • Yuichi Yamazaki / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Hazy Harbor, Hot Horse, Rocket Billionaire

    Preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, flood damage in Germany, Eid al-Adha prayers in Senegal, a crowded nightclub in London, a windy day in Montevideo, and much more