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Compete in a boat race on NYC’s most polluted waterway

By Clayton Guse

The Gowanus Canal is one of the most polluted bodies of water in the entire country. Its bed is lined with 10 feet of toxic sludge (aka black mayonnaise), which is the product of decades of industrial companies dumping waste into the waterway. The EPA is in the middle of a years-long project to clean up the 1.8-mile stretch of nastiness, and several community groups are working to transform it from a contaminated stain in Brooklyn into a waterfront area that the borough can take pride in.

One of those groups is the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, and it's holding a boat race on the canal next month. If you've ever passed the estuary and said to yourself, “I sure would like to be just a few inches away from that black water,” then this is the perfect event for you. Slated for Saturday, October 7, the race will raise funds that will go toward improvements to the Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse. Canoes will be provided, and teams are required to raise donations in order to participate. The organization urges participants to try to raise $500 but says that any donation will allow a team to race.  

Does paddling a canoe on the Gowanus Canal sound gross? Sure. But will the event support an organization that's working to make it a passable waterway? Absolutely. Honestly, we'll put our support behind any individual or organization that puts in an effort to make the thing less disgusting. 


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