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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

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MAY 2021 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

52. (New York’s Waterways)

Upon graduating from art school, a young artist attends a boat-building school in Northern California. When she moves to New York City a few years later she puts her newly-acquired nautical skills to use by building a small boat capable of circumnavigating Manhattan. Because of the strong tides, it takes her and a friend three days, camping along the way, to row around the island. At the end of the trip a vision comes to her of another project: The Tide and Current Taxi. To launch it, literally as well as metaphorically, she emails everyone she knows with a simple offer: “You tell me where you want to go and I’ll look at the tide and figure out the best time to get there.” For one week every summer over the next 15 years she ferries passengers, usually one at a time, to nearly every part of New York’s waterways, from the toxic Gowanus Canal where dead rats bob alongside her boat to a spectacularly collapsed pier on the West Side to a long-abandoned ferry from the 1930s left to rust on a nameless New Jersey river. Many of the trips take an entire day and the itineraries reflect the particular interests of her passengers/collaborators. When a pandemic strikes and the close quarters of her boat make social distancing impossible, she invites people to join her one at a time on Instagram as she rows with and against the currents and tides as they make their relentless courses up and down the Hudson River Estuary.

(Marie Lorenz)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

All Issues