Somehow it's better to think of a town being wrecked by local boys instead of feds
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, like most locals, I've known of the toxicity of the Gowanus Canal since I was a kid.
But I'm still not sure if I want it to be turned into an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site.
It is always for the best if companies are responsible enough to clean up their own messes before they become a problem, but lawsuits and massive class actions are a good way to coerce responsible parties to clean up their messes - but I just don't know if I want the feds to muck about the 'hood.
With Superfund status, an area is then "toxic" in more ways than one: any investment will leave; and private, public, city and state efforts towards restoring this waterfront will have to cease.
Then the search for "potentially responsible parties" for the EPA to sue will begin among the 1,500 previous property owners in the Gowanus area. Nothing will get done for a long time.
It is much different when you know the neighborhood where it's going to happen: this isn't Chicken's Knuckle, Nowheresville! To my knowledge, there are several quaint establishments for the quenching of a thirst near the Gowanus, and an old roommate's band use to record near there.
Don't get me wrong, the Canal is gross, absolutely disgusting - but it used to be much worse.
An industrial and transportation hub since the 1860s, the Gowanus Canal had a pump installed to clear it in 1911, and that kept the channel relatively clear. Enough so, that in 1952 a shark swam up the Gowanus - until the NYPD shot it. No lie.
While industry in the area eventually died out, years of run-off from smelters, coal dumps, ink plants, foundries, gashouses and paint factories had done their work.
The wooden pilings and bulkheads along the creek have absorbed so much weirdness that it may be too complicated to remove them.
The situation is exacerbated when the rain is heavy: the sewers flood, then sewage overflow into the Canal.