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If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it–

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Today was the first day that I didn’t speak to any one at all. I was drawing through Williamsburg by myself and even though I passed many people, no one asked what I was doing. This might have been because people are pretty jaded about all of the truly massive construction going on down at the waterfront (I hope they are building in flood protection). So I had a lot of time to consider what the project means if no one asks me what I am doing. There is the outside chance that someone will see the blue chalk line and google it, coming across my site that way, or maybe someone who knows about the project will cross the line and tell their friends about it. But since I cannot rely on that happening I considered more my actions in the street. I covered quite a lot of ground on Saturday, traveling from South 5th up around Manhattan Avenue, then down through the North Brooklyn Industrial Zone to Greenpoint Avenue where it meets Newtown Creek (near the huge egg-shaped digesters and the new Newtown Creek Nature Walk).

And here’s what I realized, I may be the only person in New York who has walked the entire 10′ above sea level line - that crucial flood zone line - at least through Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. I wrote earlier about bearing witness. Well its true, now it is up to me to find ways to get out and talk about what I have seen. The places where the line passes through the scrap metal yards, where the line divides a neighborhood or submerges a park. I have lots and lots of pictures from the line, so what I thought would be useful would be to put together an online map of the line that has images from along the way. I have pretty good visual memory, so I am fairly certain I can map pretty close to exactly where all the images were taken. I can also include the stories I heard from the people I talked to along the way. That way I am sharing this wealth of knowledge that has built up in my head. Maybe I can even have other chances of sharing the information, of getting it out to as many people (particularly community groups, city agencies) as I can. A great thing about the project was that I really had *conversations* with people. I didn’t just hand over information and walk away, I stopped and talked and listened. And I heard some interesting stories along the way.

So if you want to sit down with me sometime and hear about all the people that I met, let me know, I am happy to share.

Comment from original post:

I grew up in New Jersey. There was, what I considered to be, an Urban Legend about people being able to siphon off gasoline from the top of the water in their flooded basements. After reading the link about the oil spill, and that it had existed for decades, I wonder how ‘legend’ that story was? I have read your blog with amazed interest. I for one an appreciative. This has been one amazing project. I am standing up, and applauding.

Comment by leslie — October 23, 2007

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