Operate water robots and canoe on the Gowanus Canal for free tomorrow

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The race between man and robot will be taken very literally tomorrow. Photo via The Gowanus Dredgers

As Brooklyn becomes ever cleaner and more gentrified, our putrid, polluted, or otherwise filthy remnants become more and more hilariously beloved. That Coney Island is a dirty, sand-wasteland of cigarette butts and glass shards? How old-school. That the subway is full of track rats fighting one another to death over the remnants of our fast food? How entertaining, how endearing. That the Gowanus is a Superfund site full of black mayonnaise and people occasionally dare ride vessels upon its murky surface? Tres Brooklyn.

The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club are a volunteer organization who have been unabashedly enjoying their backyard canal, despite its health risks, since 1999. A quirky group of local boating enthusiasts and advocates for the Gowanus’ revitalization, the group has logged thousands of trips on the Canal. They offer their facilities and vessels free of charge to those daring enough to come along for a ride.

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Photo via The Gowanus Dredgers
Photo via The Gowanus Dredgers

Tomorrow, The Dredgers are hosting a free robot invasion of the Gowanus in honor of City of Water Day, an annual celebration now in its tenth year celebrating the city’s waterways. The invasion will be, “A Dredgers event where young and old become Captains of miniature boats and marine robots to remotely explore above and below the Gowanus waters,” according to a very enthusiastic email The Dredgers sent out. The event, hosted by NYU School of Engineering’s Brooklyn Atlantis, is free, although The Dredgers will happily accept any donations.

The event will take place on 2nd St. and the Canal on the Lightstone Esplanade (the wraparound deck for the area’s new luxury rental building, 365 Bond St.) from 1 – 4pm tomorrow, July 15. You’ll have the option of operating water robots or, from 1 – 5pm, canoeing. In the words of The Dredgers, “E-cars are cool but have you ever been a boat Captain?”

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