This was a weekday excursion this week. Monday afternoon to be precise, after a dentist’s appointment and a day of work on the new play and coming up with freelance pitches. Studies show green environs improve your mood and walks help you solve problems. Check and check.
Got to the beach for a late afternoon visit this weekend. Yes, I brought the latest draft of my play to read. No, I didn’t read it. But I made you this.
As much as I like Gowanus, sometimes I need to get away. Feeling a bit stuck this summer, so I have to find creative ways to get some vacation-state-of-mind. After an appointment in downtown Manhattan, I stepped outside and noticed: 1) It was a beautiful day and 2) I was right near the Staten Island Ferry (which is free). Just the act of going for the ride brightened my day. Sea air! Wind in the hair! A busker! Wildlife! So I made this one-minute vacation for you.
This block is home to the former National Packing Box Factory, a large brick building built in 1910 with remnants of the old signage still on the facade. We drew our inspiration from this building and a few distinct elements. There is an amazing series of fire escapes, bridges and a floating corrugated metal box suspended between this building and another in an alley. There is also a series of beautiful yellow doors leading to Cabinet, the arts and culture magazine headquarters. And lastly, lining the permitter of the building are wooden planters filled with well maintained plants. With these components as inspiration we crafted a yellow planter box, made from folded paper like a small little package, placed it on two wooden dowels so it hovers above the ground and filled it with dirt and a small succulent. We then brought it over to the alley and placed it next to the components we found inspiring. We documented this exercise and have turned the photos into a short animation.
After a brief hiatus, we are back with another entry in Mapping Gowanus.
Director and photographer Miska Draskoczy gives some background on his piece:
Douglass Street is the site of the recently reactivated Gowanus Flushing Tunnel which pumps water from the East River to the head of the canal in an effort to reduce stagnation and improve water quality. This new current stirs up quite a bit of gunk though, with putrid chemical slicks floating down and giving off nauseating fumes. My clip is a reflection on this somewhat questionable approach, as all water sources in the world are ultimately connected. The animation elements come from photos and video I shot on Douglass Street and nearby.
Check out more of Miska’s work (and if you aren’t familiar with his stunning Gowanus WIld photo series – you are in for a treat).