In 1989, my wife and I moved to New York City and immediately realized we could not afford to live in Manhattan. We began looking in the outer boroughs and quickly settled on Brooklyn. My wife's sister first mentioned Cobble Hill to us as a solid Italian neighborhood just beginning its moves toward gentrification and renewal. We thought it would be a short stay until we finally crossed the river to Manhattan. It never happened. We stayed in Brooklyn for over 30 years, falling in love with its history and elegance.
Early in my Brooklyn life, I discovered the Gowanus Canal, a fetid body of water, situated in the middle of the highest priced real estate in the borough. Now a Superfund site, the waterway is undergoing a cleanup plan that is estimated to cost over $1.5 billion. I have watched the banks of the Gowanus go from a deserted, decrepit industrial zone to high-rise luxury condos, just during the pandemic.
But over the years, it has provided me a unique subject to photograph. The oil on its surface became my abstract collection, its abandoned, decaying past provided a look into a Brooklyn life that has passed into memory. Like ISBRANDTSEN, my remembrance of what was the largest maritime shipping company from the United States to the Mediterranean from the 1950s to the 1970s. Their collapsed pier is one of my favorite images, beautiful as a 30"x 40" in 1/8" acrylic on your wall.