Friday, April 20, 2007

Sludgie Was Not the First Gowanus Whale!!!

Did you think Sludgie, who died in Gowanus Bay on Wednesday evening, was the first Gowanus whale? We did. But we were wrong. A GL reader pointed us to information on the placeinhistory website from the Brooklyn Eagle in June 1952. That article said that a baby whale tried to move into the canal itself on an unidentified date in the 1940s or 1950s and got stuck at the pumping station:
Mike Harrigan, who has spent 29 years on harbor duty with the Police Department, really considers Gowanus a 'region of the dead,' like the River Styx of mythology. He should - he has picked up, he recollects, 'a couple of thousand dead bodies' while on duty there and on the now filled-in Wallabout Canal. The Canal vet also remembers when a baby whale tried to make the Canal his home and got stuck in the pumping station installed to move the Aroma de Gowanus along. He doesn't notice the olfactory impact of the Canal - thinks the Canal has cost him his sense of smell. - From the Brooklyn Eagle, June 22, 1952
No word on that whale's ultimate fate, except that we will note that Gowanus water quality today is like the contents of a bottle of Poland Spring compared to what it was in the 40s and 50s.

Related Posts:
Sludgie, We're Going to Miss You


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