The Story of Forgotten Waters As They Embrace Daylight:

What does it mean to be buried and tucked away? To be forgotten even though you are right there, to be replaced by a new system that suits another. Believe it or not, we human beings are not the only ones to have had parts of ourselves hidden away to better fit the mold. We have done this to our waterways. We have cemented over them and forgotten that they were a part of our topography. Even though they still benefit us, we have forgotten their names. Take Sunswick Creek, an original marker of where Astoria ended, which has been forgotten by its inhabitants. Even though it is right under our feet, powering our water source and our sewage, we don’t know its name or the impact it once had on our environment.

Daylight seeks to remind New York City communities that there is water right under our feet. We will be bringing to light these bodies of water and the environmental impact they once had. Many of these bodies of water lead back to the East Estuary, which is currently a dumping ground. We will be working with the Astoria community to limit and prevent future dumping. They will be able to create effective change through petitions and guides for contacting their local politicians. Alongside these causes, we are exploring themes such as purpose, empowerment, replacement, restoration and daylighting. 

Daylighting is the act of resurfacing bodies of water to restore a part of our ecology. We have achieved a metaphorical daylighting through performance, such as dance and storytelling. We plan to continue leading groups of community members throughout the five boroughs and beyond to explore these forgotten bodies of water. Participants will leave with a deeper connection to their environment and specifically, the bodies of water that are hidden, yet still active in their neighborhoods. 

We will bring awareness to the following bodies of water: 

Written by: Jenna Belabed and Chris Bisram