Enriched Landscapes: The Reader Interview with Susannah C. Drake on Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

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The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™ opened in the fall of 2016. Facing the Canal at the end of 2nd street, the park was designed by DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture to clean up the Canal’s notoriously polluted waters. I spoke with Susannah C. Drake, DLANDstudio’s founding principal, who—as a registered architect, landscape architect, and an adjunct professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design—offers a unique perspective on the topic of green infrastructure and the design challenges that are unique to New York City. How does the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™ work? When we came up with the…

The One Life We’re Given

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No matter where we think we’re going, the journey of every life is to find its home in the moment where everything touches everything else. When we can feel what is ours to feel, and inhabit our own particular moment—of love or suffering, of beauty or pain, of peace or agitation—that depth of feeling allows us to live once for all time. To live once for all time means that the depth of our one life, once opened, is filled with the stream of life from every direction. To live once for all time means that try as we do…

Walking the Gowanus

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Walking the Gowanus From Solid Waste to New Lifeforms – the Hidden Secrets of the Gowanus Canal I’ve never been to the Gowanus. Until recently, the area has been stuck with a very bad reputation. A dangerous, deserted place, centered around a stinky canal filled with toxic industrial waste, also rumored to be the dumping ground for dead bodies by the Italian Mafia. Bullets Over Broadway, anyone? So I’ve stayed away. Until I heard about Brooklyn Brainery’s “Walk the Gowanus with a Local Author,” and I decided the time was ripe to pay a visit and see for myself. Surely…

What it means to be Half-White

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When I first returned to New York to study film at Columbia in 2000, I remember hearing about a Brooklyn based parenting group created for South Asian parents called Mixed Masala. The group included parents who adopted from South Asia as well as parents who had recently emigrated from the subcontinent – the common thread being a desire to raise children within that culture. I decided if I had children in America I wanted to be part of that subculture. Fast-forward 15 years and I found myself married to a Seattlite and living in Prospect Lefferts Garden. When I…

Slope Survey: John Tucker

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Restaurateur, devotee of local, seasonal food, and one of Edible Manhattan’s “Dads We’re Loving,” John Tucker was the perfect fit for the Slope Survey’s third installment. Here, the owner of Rose Water muses on a changing Park Slope, getting away, and the surprising qualities that make a hero. What brought you to Park Slope? I’m as Slopian as they come: my wife and I came over the bridge in 1999 with a two-year-old in tow, looking for square footage, green space, good school, and a community of like-minded tree-huggers. We checked every box, and within months many unexpected benefits…

A Slice of Life

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The pizzamakers of Park Slope There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a tasty slice of New York pizza. I chatted with three local pizzeria owners about why they do what they do, how the neighborhood has changed and what their favorite slice is. Lorenzo Scotto, Pino’s La Forchetta, 181 7th Avenue Lorenzo Scotto, or “Larry,” has been involved with Pino’s since 2005. “Almost 12 years,” he said. “Wow, fast. Ohmygod, time flies.” Pino’s opened in 1962. They had another store in Staten Island, which his father recently sold, before the Brooklyn location. The biggest change since 2005 is from lots…

We are They: Post Election Thoughts 2016

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By Mark Nepo I have felt compelled to speak since the election of Donald Trump but every time I try, my heart sinks and I don’t know what to say. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, six years after World War II, after the defeat of Hitler and fascism, six years after the Holocaust, in which I had family perish. As a child, I saw unfathomable images of how the Atomic bomb obliterated Hiroshima. In grade school, we practiced hiding under our desks, as if that would keep us from being incinerated. I came of age in the sixties,…

The Perfect Party

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Madonna dance-off. Limbo contest. Cannoli cream cake.  Year after year of my childhood, that was the formula for my birthday party, which took place in the basement of my Staten Island home. It was a three-prong party plan that worked. Well, four prongs, really. Just before the cake was served, came the Chaplin-esque birthday cake pratfall, courtesy of my father. He’d walk down the stairs to the basement, carefully holding the cake box aloft, only to stumble at the bottom, throwing himself down the last few steps and tossing the box extravagantly into the air. The crowd would gasp, and…

Park Slope Votes

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Every four years November acts as a pivotal month in our nation’s political calendar. The months of lively debate leading up to the election often cause tensions to flare in communities across America, and never has an election stirred up controversy and vitriol as much as this one has. Yet, despite all of this, the majority of local residents seem squarely unified against a particular candidate in the running for the future President of the United States. It should not come as a surprise, that in a community as diverse and unique as Park Slope, that a certain resentment would…

Life as Yoga Series Part 2: The First Sutra and Modern Separation

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Upon opening the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the very first statement we read is: Now the teachings of yoga. Like many sutras, there is more than meets the eye here. A sutra is a succinct statement or aphorism that was deliberately created to be short so that it may be easily memorized and so that its meaning might be dissected through study, reflection, and chanting. Much like a bullet point in a lecture, the sutra itself is the tip of the iceberg of a larger point being made. Sutras are a lot like poetry; there is a lot packed into…

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