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

  • Franck Fife / AFP / Getty

    Scenes From the 2017 Silk Way Rally

    For the past two weeks, rally racers from 35 countries drove 5,965 miles (9,600 kilometers) from Moscow, Russia, to Xi'an, China.

  • Oli Scarff / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 7/15–7/21

    Highland games in Scotland, a diving jaguar in France, wildfires in California and western Canada, a wax Donald Trump, and much more.

  • Adam Pretty / Getty

    Scenes From the 2017 World Aquatics Championships

    Hundreds of athletes from 186 nations are gathered in Budapest, Hungary to compete in 75 events across six disciplines in the 17th FINA World Championships.

  • Jorge Silva / Reuters

    A Walk in the Woods: A Photo Appreciation of Trees

    A collection of images of unusual, intriguing, and beautiful trees and forests around the world.

Join the Discussion