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"Preparing For A Tow" - by Dusan Kadlec

Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Print and Giclee Canvas

Print Image Size: 30" x 20" ---- $250

Giclee Canvas: 36" x 24" ------- $1200

Large Giclee Canvas: 60" x 40" -- $3600

Print Edition Size: 950 signed & numbered

Giclee Edition Size: 350 signed & numbered

Large Giclee Edition Size: 25 signed & numbered

When these editions are sold out, they will only be available on our secondary market--call then for current price and availability -- 800-237-6077

PREPARING FOR A TOW ON THE GOWANUS CANAL - BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CIRCA 1887

The venerable history of Gowanus Canal dates back to 1639 when Dutch settlers established the town of Gowanus on a small tidal creek named after the chief of Brooklyn's Canarsee tribe - Gouwane. It was near here in 1776 that the first engagement between England and the United States of America took place during the War of Independence. The Battle of Brooklyn or The Battle of Long Island as it is sometimes called turned out to be the largest battle ever fought in that struggle.

Two early tidal mills are known to have operated in the area, but it was not until the mid nineteenth century that the waterway really began to flourish as a center for shipping and commerce. As part of it's efforts to improve navigation in New York city and to help accommodate a surge in development in South Brooklyn, the New York State Legislature authorized construction of the Gowanus Canal in 1849. The small tidal creek was enlarged by railroad owner Edwin C. Litchfield, and after it's completion in the late 1860's, the two mile long canal became a very active waterway indeed. Supporting a thriving manufacturing district which included lumber yards and shipbuilding as well as spawning the residential development of nearby Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.

In this bustling 1887 view looking northeast toward Gowanus Creek, a square-rigger sits high on the water with her cargo of raw timber safely delivered to one of the many yards that operated on the canal during this time. Her crew is busy with last minute preparations for the return tow out to Gowanus Bay and New York Harbor beyond. Left unfurled to take advantage of a midday breeze to dry, her sails might need to be quickly furled again if the breeze freshens any in the tight waterway before she is underway. Near the waterline at the bow, another last minute essential is visible where open ports used for handling timber and lumber cargo have yet to be secured by her crew.

While the area surrounding the canal reached it's heyday in the early twentieth century, continued abuse of the canal as a dumping area for industrial waste was to have a detrimental impact on the canal and the local community over time. Current efforts to reverse these impacts though, including a recent Army Corps and E.P.A. pilot project announcement for cleanup, are helping to revive this almost forgotten waterway. As a result of these efforts the Gowanus Canal today is slowly but surely showing signs of life once again.

 

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