Mini-Sponge Park bound for Gowanus

Sponge is a go: The $1.5-million Sponge Park, to be built along the banks of the Gowanus Canal where Second Street dead-ends, will soak up stormwater so that road runoff does not further pollute Brooklyn’s nautical purgatory.
The Brooklyn Paper
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The so-called Sponge Park along the banks of the putrid Gowanus Canal is finally becoming a reality — for a few feet, at least.

The $1.5-million park will be installed at the foot of Second Street, taking up less than half the area of a basketball court with adsorbent plants and special soil meant to soak up street runoff and keep it from further polluting the toxic waterway. Park boosters are pitching it as a pilot project that they hope will be replicated along the 1.8-mile length of the canal.

“The Sponge Park will help manage storm water run-off, filter and absorb contaminants, and create a pleasing street-end, park-like experience,” said Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman. “Hopefully, someday soon, all of our Gowanus street ends will have sponge parks.”

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy, a group working to spruce up the noxious channel, first unveiled their vision for a pollution-sucking greenway back in 2008. But the storm water management project was delayed by fund-raising problems and sparring between the city and federal government over how best to scrub Brooklyn’s nautical purgatory.

Compounding the park’s early problems was a naming dispute in which the conservancy butted heads with the architecture firm it hired, dlandstudio, over the firm’s trademarking of the name “Sponge Park.”

That beef is squashed — or squished — but not forgotten, according to the conservancy.

“I think it’s unfortunate that a private entity owns the naming rights to a public park, but we’re still thrilled to have this project move forward,” said conservancy director Hans Hesselein.

The project will require digging up the end of Second Street in order replace the pavement with plants and soil-filled concrete.

Because there are no storm sewers between Second Street and the Gowanus, the small park will have no impact on sewage overflow into the waterway, Department of Environmental Protection officials said.

Backers of the park said it will still help clean up the waterway by absorbing road chemicals and roadside litter that pour into the canal when it rains.

“It will filter and clean the run-off from the street,” Hesselein said. “[Second Street] is a heavy dumping street.”

The federal government is expected to reveal its final, half-billion dollar Superfund canal cleanup plan this summer, which will likely include the construction of canal-side tanks to prevent millions of gallons of raw sewage from polluting the waterway during heavy rains.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I'm sorry, but I didn't have time to read this one. Pardon the interruption.
Aug. 2, 2013, 8:48 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
I am so glad to see this project finally become a reality. At this stage it is probably still a drop in the bucket (literally), but an important pilot program toward environmental management. Next we might see toxin-leaching bamboo stands, or toxin-munching bacteria that also generate power.
Aug. 2, 2013, 8:51 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
And a hitching post for my unicorn!
Aug. 2, 2013, 9:15 am
The Chooch from hipster utopia says:
An Ecotopia such as the world has never seen, a borough permeated with canals and waterways, which we can swim in. Electric boats only, recharging off bacteria. Oh, and lest we forget our borough's history, a new amusement park in Coney Island -- "Mookland"
Aug. 2, 2013, 9:34 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Gentle reminder: I am now half way through reading this article. More on this matter later. Thanks!
Aug. 2, 2013, 9:48 am
The Chooch from Mookland says:
LAAYDIES and gentlemen step right up ... It's MOOKLAND. See the Fonzie, and the Blue-haired Lady, and the guy who talks like he's got cotton stuffed in his mouth. The man in the cement shoes! See the Bat Boy who copulates with a catcher's mitt. And would you believe it ladies and gentlemen, these characters once walked the streets of Brooklyn and considered themselves normal. In fact, they too came to Coney Island to gape at people who looked, well, not unlike yourselves ladies and gentlemen .... the Bearded Lady, the Tatooed Man, the Hermaphrodite ...
Aug. 2, 2013, 10:20 am
Jouet from Brooklyn says:
Changing up your game today, huh, Ethan? Well done! A gold star for you. You're a fast learner. I wonder what I will make you do tomorrow.
Aug. 2, 2013, 1:19 pm
Vincenzo from the world I made for you says:
Where's diehipster. Hey diehipster, Dennis here. You got a job for him? He's an over-40 curmudgeon who's been marginalized into your camp. He supports you "fully." Hey, he's got nowhere else to go. You need an intern?
Aug. 2, 2013, 1:41 pm
Bohemian Goombah from Morgantown says:
That guy Dennis got a lot of pseudonyms, but they're all just flunkies for diehipster. So who cares.
Aug. 2, 2013, 1:50 pm
The Chooch from Choochinello's Artisanal Rooftop Brick-Oven Pizzarillo says:
Meh. I got no time for this. Bring on the eco-friendly hipster chicks already. In 20 years I want be able to "You would not believe what this canal looked like!"
Aug. 2, 2013, 1:59 pm
Brad from Brohemia says:
I rest my case. Ethan. You are one desperate sonofa——. It's the predictability that makes it so shocking. That, and the lack of self control. Astonishing mostly because I know you aren't stupid. Sick, demented, & desperate to be sure. You really could use a little brush up on some crypto-linguistics though. You're just too easy! Take your time. Think it out. It's no fun when like this, sweetie.
Aug. 2, 2013, 3:58 pm
The Chooch from from historicfrom historicity to pseudonymicityity to pseudonymicity says:
The Chooch always knows it's Dennis because he has no analytical skills. He grasps for the answer he wants, and discounts possibilities that do not fit his narrative. And then there's the homophobia he just can't get over, that he struggles with. He managed to suppress his "white artist" racism, but his queer-bashing ghetto instincts are very strong.

So. Let the Chooch try this again. "Ethan the drag queen who was Medea" is that guy who was in that magazine story. Ya. We got that. And guess what, no one cares. Except for Dennis of course.

But the point is Dennis, you're humping the wrong clue. Analysis, my friend. Try to think clearly here. Just because you are terminally hung up on some white guy in a dress who forever rocked your world, does not mean that every commentator on BP is an incarnation of your obsession.

Again, think Dunham Place, not the L Cafe. Think motorcycle parties, not "the Cat's Head." And no, not Bambini. The Chooch is definitely not the Bambino. But you'd be warm there, you'd be in the same room with the Chooch there. We could even snuggle. ha ha.
Aug. 2, 2013, 6:43 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Here I am, lefteous br/Other. Do you wish to say something to me? I assure you that none of these commenters are myself, but you already know that for about three-quarters of here's rabble. What a circus you have going, ringmaster! Or maybe you don't know your own ongoing mime, I wonder sometimes the depths of Y/Our sickness, urbanum tremendum et fascinans. And mine? Mine is the Spark of Darkness. So how do you wish to remain static inside your supposed and self-styled dynamism? By projecting your boastful but limited pseudonymity? You under/stand It is amateurish to believe It anything but ostensible, right? That your IP address is recorded and moderator/s and exploiters/hackers easily see and read the extent of your psychosis? Of course you do, which is why you lurk the sewers of Brooklyn Paper and avoid the likes of L Magazine and Gothamist where commenters know you by name, moderators quickly expose IP addresses and viewers tally with "dislikes" how little serious anyone takes you but here in this Murdoch possession?

How else, Hector, do you wish to repeat yourself while pretending to "grow"? By calling me homophobe, racist, misogynist and All t/He Other/s? It is All True. Indeed I've sinned even worse, but I won't be judged by you, Ethan Pettit. My Judge is far more terrible.

By constructing sordid fantasies about me between your constructed identities, pining away for my supposed homoeroticism? You need help, my brother--take It from someone who knows. I forgive your lies. I won't keep returning to these threads to check on you. I must lead my own life and I'm disappointed each time I check to see if you've removed your Cloud of Forgetting. Just the same baiting, lies and mistaken assumptions about yourself as an "artist."

You do know you've never produced any fine art but sabotage, right? And so fine It has been.
Aug. 3, 2013, 11:33 am
Bohemian Goombah from Morgantown says:

Eyyiii buddy, whatever blows your hair back. I ain't the rabbi. L train to the Village. Take it all the way to the end. wink wink.
Aug. 3, 2013, 1:28 pm

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