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Brooklyn Week 2013: Photographer Finds Surprising Beauty In The Gowanus Canal

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As NY1's Brooklyn Week continues, fine art photographer Robert DeRosa, who has found an unusual muse in the Gowanus Canal, takes NY1 on a very special tour of the waterway and its bridges. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

There are five bridges over the Gowanus Canal. Robert DeRosa has photographed all of them, but the Carroll Street Bridge is his favorite.

"This is a landmark bridge in New York, one of the few. And there's a mechanism underneath the bridge that has wheels and tracks on it and it actually slides back diagonally to provide access to the canal. It was built about 1888, I think," DeRosa says.

It's hard to miss a sign on the bridge saying there is a $5 fine for speeding. Don't worry, though, it's just a historic relic, one of many interesting sights DeRosa has found on his adventures around Gowanus.

"Like that Kentile Floor sign -- Kentile Floors is no longer there but it retains a sense of the Brooklyn where I grew up," says DeRosa.

After a successful career in finance, DeRosa was laid off a few years ago. Instead of retiring, he decided to go back to school to study photography and get his master's degree at the School of Visual Arts. It led him to appreciate Brooklyn's changing landscape.

"All of the change that is going on in my life is reflected in the city that I grew up, and in the borough that I grew up on," DeRosa says. "It's constantly changing, and I love it. It keeps it stimulating, it keeps me alive, it keeps me young."

He is using that energy to get to the canal at sunrise most days, shooting everything from serene waterscapes to industry and even oil slicks.

At the Third Street Bridge, right at the point where it opens, one can feel it bounce a little bit as trucks go by. Yet despite the bumps along the way, DeRosa is inspired by the special and strange beauty along the Gowanus Canal, and continues to capture it even as it changes. For more information, visit www.DeRosaImages.com.

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