FDNY rescues jumper from noxious Gowanus Canal

EPA releases list of the Gowanus Canal’s ‘Dirty Seven’
The Brooklyn Paper / Bess Adler

Firefighters pulled a man out of the Gowanus Canal after he jumped into the notoriously polluted waterway on Friday.

The man leapt the short distance from the Third Street Bridge near Bond Street to the toxic bath below around 3:15 pm, before New York’s Bravest quickly plucked him from the fetid Superfund site and rushed him to Methodist Hospital for treatment, according to a Fire Department spokesman.

And although the Feds in charge of scrubbing the noxious canal recently declared part of it cleaner than it has been in 150 years, much of the channel’s floor is still covered by a thick layer of toxic sludge known as “black mayonnaise,” and its water is far from fully purged of such filth as feces and trace amounts of gonorrhoea.

A local daredevil — who over the years has slipped into a full-body wet suit to take laps through Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory to raise awareness of its tainted state — said anyone who takes an unprotected plunge into the canal could risk exposure to a plethora of chemicals and pollutants, not to mention hypothermia.

“He’s going to make contact with sewage, coal-tar residue, and whatever is melting in there from the streets — so dog s—, gas, oil, copper, and asbestos dust from everybody’s break pads,” said Christopher Swain. “I hope he’s okay.”

Indeed, not all creatures that found their way into the canal survived the experience — both a dolphin, and the beloved young Minke whale “Sludgie,” met their early ends after getting trapped in the channel.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixs[email protected]glocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.