Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Secrets of the Deep, The Bottom of the Harbor

Read "Secrets of the Deep," a terrific piece in New York Magazine by Christopher Bonanos, that combines beautiful maps of the lower Hudson and the upper and lower bays with a lot of additional reporting. Bonanos writes:

This first GPS-era picture comes from the team at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who have methodically swept the lower Hudson with state-of-the-art sonar. LDEO’s Dr. Frank Nitsche stitched together their data, along with several other researchers’ work, into this elegant color-keyed map, which we’ve supplemented by talking with sea captains, historians, and the divers pictured above. There’s a whole other city down there.

It's fascinating and it drove me to the bookshelf to take out Joseph Mitchell's "The Bottom of the Harbor," a great piece published in The New Yorker in 1951 (you can find it online if you subscribe to The New Yorker or it's in Mitchell's book Up in the Old Hotel). Both pieces talk abviously about the bad stuff -- there was a lot of it in 1951 and there's still a lot, although porbably less, in 2009 -- but they also talk about the good, the weird and the fascinating.


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