Go-wan hear this: The five most Gowanus talks at TEDxGowanus

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Fans of Gowanus, your time has finally arrived. The TEDxGowanus conference will see people with big Gowanus-related ideas gather by the neighborhood’s notoriously disease-ridden waterway to share their thoughts in snappy spoken-word presentations. All tickets to attend have sold out, but you can still stream the event live online on Jan. 26. We have rounded up the five most Gownus-centric talks to keep an eye on.

Ate Atema

Architect Ate Atema will discuss innovative ways to channel freshwater into the Gowanus Canal, following on from his December 2012 TED talk, in which he proposed that in-street channels and pollutant-removing gardens could diminish sewer overflows. Atema’s “Street Creeks,” or sidewalk gutters, catch dirty water and keep it out of local waterways, and have already been tested for the canal on Third St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus.

Hans Hesselein

Hesselin, executive director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy — an organization that calls itself the “environmen­tal steward” for the Gowanus Canal — will call on local residents to start cleaning up their own public parks, and stop relying on park maintenance to keep their Brooklyn greens litter-free.

Pete Raho

“Artisan ambassador” Pete Raho makes fancy cutting boards out of industrial materials and hosts woodworking classes at his shop, Gowanus Furniture. He will talk about how the small-scale industry has exploded and created a new manufacturing sector in Gowanus — with ample job opportunities.

Marlene Donnely

Donnely, a member of “Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus” who researches and promotes the historical viability of the neighborhood, will outline what it would take for Gowanus to become the first urban industrial site on the “National Registry of Historic Places.” Such a designation would preserve the buildings, structures, places, and open spaces of Gowanus for adaptive re-use.

T.M. Rives

Did you know that early settlers named “Gowanes Creek” after Gowanes, leader of the local Canarsees tribe, centuries before the canal became one of the city’s major docking waterways? Rives, author of “Secret New York: an Unusual Guide,” will elaborate on how Native American culture has become lost in the city’s history.

TEDxGowanus will be broadcast live at, Jan. 26 from 12:15 pm.

Updated 10:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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