Hidden Waters of New York City:
A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams
in the Five Boroughs
by Sergey Kadinsky
W.W. Norton / Countryman, 352 pp.
Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore,
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high,
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the falling-back to the sea of the ebb-tide.
It avails not, time nor place -- distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d....
Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (1856)
Reviewed by Julian Cole Phillips
To Walt Whitman, the network of waterways that cross-hatched what is now New York City were a transcendental link between epochs. “These and all else were the same to me as they are to you,” he wrote. “What is it then, between us? What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us.”
By Benjamin Feldman
One afternoon this past winter, I and my new friend Bill drove over from his Jersey home to the northeast corner of Inwood, looking for something very special. We parked on 9th Avenue just north of 207th Street, next to the municipal bus garage. To the north, a fence blocked our way to the river bank, where Captain Moffat’s yard once stood. There’s no public access now to the rotting ghost-piles. But Bill and I peered through the chain link at the grimy water and the remnants of a pier under which he swam as a child as he reminisced about the water quality, even worse fifty years ago than today.
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