I celebrated Earth Day by taking a nice walk through my neighborhood, down to 233rd St, the northern edge of Woodlawn Cemetery, which is a beautiful green space in a surprisingly green section of New York City. My neighborhood, which straddles the Yonkers/Bronx border, is home to many trees, as a perusal of this lovely NYC tree map (warning: TIME SINK!!!) will confirm.
Meanwhile, in another Outer Borough, an intrepid environmentalist, a clean-water advocate, swam in the most polluted body of water in the United States. The Gowanus section of Brooklyn is near and dear to my heart, being the location of the beautiful Bell House. I am no stranger to the canal, if I arrive in Gowanus early on Secret Science Club lecture nights, I will sometimes walk up 3rd Avenue to take in the forlorn beauty of the polluted waterway. My friend Margaret told me about the canoe trips sponsored by the Gowanus Dredgers, but I haven't had the time to sign up for a paddle.
At any rate, the intrepid Christopher Swain swam the Gowanus Canal, but cut his swim short due to impending thunderstorms. At the end of his swim, he rated the water quality: "It tasted like mud and poop."
I'm sure it tasted like victory.
Mr Swain's stalwart stunt did bring a lot of media attention to the waterway. His closing statement was a wonderful example of idealism: “We deserve a Gowanus Canal that’s a jewel, that’s a diamond, that sparkles in the sun.” As someone who has gazed over its waters, I agree with him one hundred percent.