Writing New York: Posts from the Boroughs and Beyond — 2008-2011 Rotating Header Image

An Earth Day Event Dilemma

Saturday morning, I woke up at 8 a.m., which is unusual, got ready and left my house to go to the Gowanus Canal Earth Day event. Instead of the R train, I got on the N train, which is express and does not stop at Ninth Street in Brooklyn, the closet stop to the canal. So I had to get off and take the uptown train.

I finally got off the train at Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue and had to walk to Second Avenue. It was 10 am. When I walked all the way there, I saw what looked like a dead end and the area was so quiet I couldn’t spot anybody to ask for directions. I stood at the intersection looking  left to  right. After contemplating which way to go, I decided to go left. I walked one block and made another left as if going back to Fourth Avenue. Then I saw a man walking with a cane and I reluctantly asked him where the Gowanus Canal was located. He told me to walk to Third Avenue, make a right and walk three more blocks. For some reason I did not trust his directions and decided to ask another woman. She told me to walk past Second Avenue and there was the canal.

The address I had was 118 Second Avenue, entrance Ninth street and 12th Street. At this point I was on Second Avenue and Ninth Street but could not find the building number. I saw 117 and kept walking hoping to find 118 but no luck. The blocks kept getting longer and the sight of no person around me frightened me a little. The sun was hot and I walked slowly because I was running out of energy. I had skipped breakfast that morning.

I walked those long blocks until I found the canal but then the dilemma was that I didn’t see anything that looked like an event. I stood by it and watched the green water which made me a little dizzy. It was so quiet and peaceful; I just stood there, my eyes wondering around for about five minutes. I wondered whether that green water is healthy for the neighborhood.

I walked past the canal and finally started seeing people. At the end of that block, I made a right and walked one block, still no sight of an even and still no building number 118. I spotted a police car and wanted to go ask them for directions but unfortunately there was no officer in there so I sadly walked back to the canal, this time on the opposite side of where I was at first. I stood there again looking at the dirty water and somehow fascinated by it. I decided to walk back to Second Avenue and Ninth Street. When I got there, I saw a post office guy and thought “well this one got to know where 118 and Second avenue is!” When I asked him, he said, “That’s a Lowe’s store, walk straight and make a right at 12th Street.”

I made it to the Lowe’s store and the entrance said 118 Second Avenue and I said to myself finally. I walked in and asked one of the employees and he sent me to customer service. At customer service, the lady did not know what I was talking about when I asked, “Is there an Earth Day event here today?” She called the manager and she said “what is an earth day event?” I explained that in April people celebrate earth day and that I was told that there is one even here today. She made a phone call for me and said “the even is right by the canal.” I was disappointed because I had just came from the canal and I saw no even whatsoever but I decided to go back and this time I walked inside the Lowe’s parking lot. I went all the way to the end and I saw nothing. Heartbroken, I decided to go home because I was tired, hungry and sweaty and it was 11 a.m., one hour of walking around.

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