Underwater New York is a platform for creative work inspired by the waterways of New York City. We publish bi-annual themed issues and host excursions, events, and an artist residency in order to illuminate the surprising stories along the city’s edge. We value amateur knowledge, diverse points of view, and generous collective effort. Our partners range from small galleries and curatorial groups to established museums and institutions. As we bring our arts, literary, and waterfront programming to diverse audiences across New York City, we seek to foster creative engagement with place.
In 2009, New York Magazine reported on the “other city” that lies below the surface of our waterways and harbors. The magazine identified a dead giraffe, a fleet of ice cream trucks, the steamship Princess Anne, mysterious white goo—a terrain as gritty and urgent as the visible landscape. Taking this piece as an invitation, we began to curate a list of the lively materials lost and found, sunk and surfaced in the waterways of New York City. Reported by divers and scientists, detectives and engineers, environmentalists and citizens, this rich organic and inorganic matter is vital to our city’s diversity and creative life. Our list serves as a prompt for many of the stories we publish or produce, and we share it in the spirit of collaboration, inviting you to work with our waterways. We are interested in stories and art that cross disciplinary boundaries, recover overlooked or forgotten histories, or unmoor us from present predicaments. We like views from the edge and deep dives. Visit our submissions page to learn more.
Contact us at submissions (at) underwaternewyork (dot) com with questions, suggestions, ideas, or possible collaborations.
Subscribe to our SURFACED newsletter for periodic stories featured on our site and invitations to our events and excursions.
Nicki Pombier Berger, Founding Editor: Nicki is an oral historian, writer and educator. She teaches at The New School and Columbia University, and has an MA in Oral History from Columbia University, an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Bachelor of Science in the Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is an organizing member of Works on Water. More about her work beyond Underwater New York can be found here.
Helen Georgas, Editor: Helen is a librarian, editor, writer, and associate professor at Brooklyn College (CUNY). Her academic research has been published in numerous journals and recent nonfiction has appeared in Lady Science and The Brooklyn Rail. She served as literary co-editor of Silent Beaches, Untold Stories: New York City’s Forgotten Waterfront (Damiani) and is currently at work on a short story collection.
Nicole Haroutunian, Editor: Nicole works as a museum educator and teaching artist. She is the author of the short story collection Speed Dreaming (Little A, 2015). Her writing has appeared in Joyland, Post Road, Tin House's Open Bar, HOW Journal, Newtown Literary, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and elsewhere. She is also co-founder of the reading series Halfway There. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Woodside, Queens, on a street that was once a stream.
Nicole Miller, Editor: Nicole is a writer, editor, and teacher living in Brooklyn. She earned an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has received residencies from the Milton Center at Seattle Pacific University, the Wassaic Project, and the Marble House Project. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, Fence, Hyperallergic, Catapult, Art in America, frieze, and elsewhere. You can read her work here.
Underwater New York gives special thanks to Dan Selzer for ongoing A/V and design support, to Jill Peterson for help with our website, to Adrian Kinloch for designing our logo and original site, to Ben Greenman and Chris Bonanos for inspiration, and to Eric Fetherston for four years of server service, and for emailing Nicki the article that started it all.