It started off as a simple idea to promote Earth Day—swim the one of the most polluted bodies of
Mr. Swain’s original plan was to swim all 1.8 miles of the canal, which was added to the Superfund National Priorities List in 2010 to maintain the contamination of the
Upon arriving at the his original entrance point on Butler Street Mr. Swain learned that his original plans were to be changed after the owner of the property scheduled to be used as the launch site changed their mind, according to the NYPD.
After relocating a block down to Degraw Street, the NYPD once again informed Mr. Swain that he couldn’t get into the
“The problem is that there was nowhere that we could figure out down there that works for everybody including the city, there’s a lot of different issues with property ownership and liability, decontaminating and all that kind of stuff,” Mr. Swain told press before embarking on the big swim. “There was a layer of issue that we didn’t know about because we were dealing with the private land owners and we didn’t know the city would have an issue with that.”
Following a few phone calls, Mr. Swain finally got the approval from Bayside Oil Depot, saying he could end his swim by decontaminating his body on their land with bleach
In the end, however, Mr. Swain didn’t even make it that far.
Before diving into the murky
With increasing fears about the weather warnings and the tides, Mr. Swain agreed with the NYPD to stop his swim at the Gowanus Whole Foods, completing about two thirds of a mile.
“I want to make it clear, no one is telling me to stop,” Mr. Swain told reporters on the bank of the canal. “I promise someday I am going to swim the entire Gowanus Canal.”
The City promised to organize another day for him to swim the full length of the canal.