September 29, 2016 / Brooklyn news / Sunset Park / The Greatest Story Ever

A-maize-ing! Corn growing on Gowanus Expressway

For reference: Corn in its natural habitat — Montana.
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There is more than a kernel of truth to this one.

Corn is likely growing on the Gowanus Expressway, a botanist from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden said. A lone stalk appears to have cropped up on the shoulder of the Staten Island-bound highway near 39th Street, according to photos taken on Sept. 21 and reviewed by experts. The elevated roadway that cuts through industrial Sunset Park may seem an odd place for the famously rural grain to grow, but hominy finds harmony amid gritty conditions, an expert said.

“Corn prefers deep and fertile soil, but it is possible that a stray plant could grow even in unlikely spaces, such as on the Gowanus Expressway,” said Melanie Sifton, vice-president of horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Still, the rustic flora may have gotten there by a means city slickers know well — littering, she said.

“If this plant is indeed corn, it could possibly have grown from a kernel or unpopped piece of popcorn that blew onto the road — or was even thrown from a car,” said Sifton.

Bay Ridgite Vladimir Vizner saw the vegetation while heading home from work and was so surprised he had to snap a picture, he said.

“I was shocked,” said Vizner. “It’s definitely not something you expect to see growing up there.”

Confused, Vizner posted the photo to Facebook saying that if anyone could confirm it was maize, he was all ears. Some farmer friends wrote back in the affirmative, he said.

Corn is not native to Brooklyn, though people have grown it here for generations. Lawmakers even tried to make the grain the state vegetable in 2011, though the measure was shucked.

The Gowanus Expressway greenery could even bear fruit, according to Sifton, but Vizner said he is not anxious to make a meal of the yield.

“Let me put it this way: When I fish in the area, I don’t eat the fish I catch — I throw them back in,” he said. “I have no desire to try that [corn].”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Botanist says:
That is not corn, it looks more like seaweed. Land kelp.
Sept. 29, 2016, 3:32 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I need to drive down there asap to harvest this corn for my next batch of asswine!
Sept. 29, 2016, 8:55 am
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
Corn is yellow, this is a green thing. Doesn't seem anything like corn.
Sept. 29, 2016, 2:48 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
There's been a few people who've had corn growing in their front yards (intentionally)-one specifically around 6th or 7th Ave in the 70's. No reason a bird couldn't have eaten some and dropped an errant kernel in their droppings along the way.
Sept. 29, 2016, 3:09 pm
Joshua from Bay Ridge says:
Some cycling activist will sue now the highway that the corn on it is a trap for cyclists and it's blocking cycling road. They want roads safe for everyone and the corn on it is just another example it's not safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MORE CONTROL!!!!
Sept. 30, 2016, 9:47 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I need to drive down there and harvest that corn for my special Halloween batch of chipotle pumpkin spice asswine.
Sept. 30, 2016, 1:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I just chugged all my corn infused asswine.
so hammered
Sept. 30, 2016, 2:45 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Sept. 30, 2016, 6:35 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
The NYC rats have evolved to the neolithic phase.
Sept. 30, 2016, 6:37 pm
Chica from Sunset Park says:
Dang-azz funky corn!
Oct. 1, 2016, 10:48 am
Mike from Staten Island says:
I am a NYC dot worker and I cut this plate out of the ground today and it was not corn .
Oct. 3, 2016, 8:52 pm

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