Lavender Lake, Boats on the Gowanus

by s.o.

I became interested in the Gowanus canal in 2009 after spending some time on one of the several houseboats that are docked on its shores. I’m interested in how communities develop and profit from cultures of sustainability. I am especially excited by potential to transform material waste into social energy, inviting revisions of private space into forums for public collaboration.  This image is of one such site,  a houseboat constructed from refuse, designed  by Adam Katzman, and transformed into a community space for sustainable education.:


Other educational ventures centered around vessels of the sea, include the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, responsible for organizing canoe trips down the canal and offering free public access to the gowanus and surrounding waterways.


The boat I found myself on was called the “S.S. Gay” but had a rich history. The 63ft vessel was built in 1963 for the Army’s Air to Sea Rescue division during WWII. In 1964, the boat became the Point O Woods V. and spent 20 years taking visitors to and from Fire Island. The boat changed hands a few times and was used for various activities including artist/activist events.  


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