So I met him and Anne at a little ladder that goes right from his back patio into the water.
We headed up the canal,
and Josiah pointed out some of the areas slated for development over the next few years.
It is easy to feel a kind of preemptive nostalgia for all the things that will be leveled,
and turned into luxury condominiums.
The branch of the canal that we chose seemed to come to a dead end.
We found ourselves floating in a swamp of debris.
At the other end of the canal, a flushing tunnel pumps in fresh water from the Hudson.
They built the thing in 1911 but it broke.
And then in 1999, the city set aside money to reactivate the propeller and tunnel.
It must be back there somewhere.
And it appears to be working.
Josiah wanted to explore one of the derelict buildings that has just been purchased for renovations.
(The end of one.)
I asked Josiah what he would do with the canal if the whole thing were up to him.
Well, first off, he thinks the industry that is here should be allowed to stay.
And some of it will have to, like the cement factory.
Then he thinks the open and abandoned spaces should be kept just like they are now.
Perhaps some kind of a trust could be created that gives people access to the areas.
They could propose projects for specific periods of time.
As we get further out into the bay we see large oil slicks.
I remember rowing to this spot in the canal before and seeing the oil in the water just like this.
I took alot of pictures of it then too.
The truth is - it's hard to imagine any of this looking different in 10 years.
How can something that feels so utterly forgotten ever change?
It's like the whole city is turned around, looking the other direction.
The Gowanus Bay - 1851 .