Ah, our local Superfund site.
I walk over this bridge spanning the Gowanus Canal a minimum of twice a week. It is hard not to linger, and peer down in morbid interest at the detritus floating just under its murky surface. There are many urban legends about it, like the one where the robber jumped in to escape police pursuit, and never reemerged, nor was the body found. All sorts of loathsome chemicals lurk here, and in summer its fetid scent speeds the passerby.
Yet there is an odd industrial beauty too, a reminder of unfettered irresponsibility, of a refusal to look toward the future. There is no outlet to this canal, so waste has accumulated for well over a century. There has been talk to redevelop it and make it into a sort of Camden Locks area. Time will tell.