Mission and Overview
Underwater New York is a digital journal of writing, art, and music inspired by the waterways that surround New York City and the objects submerged within them. By providing a prompt and platform for new creative work, and facilitating opportunities to engage with each other and the city itself, our mission is to help our audience envision the city in a new way, through the landscape of its sixth borough—its waterways.
Since our founding in 2009, we have published the work of more than 150 contributors, hosted events and excursions in all five boroughs, and collaborated with partners ranging from small galleries to established museums and institutions, bringing our arts, literary, and waterfront engagement programming to diverse audiences across New York City. Our project has been featured in the New York Times, Atlas Obscura, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Live Science, WFUV, and elsewhere. Through our digital journal and our programmatic events, we seek to foster community, collaboration, creativity and diversity.
Underwater New York is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). It is a fiscally sponsored project of the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).
Artists and storytellers have long drawn inspiration from New York's cityscape, but under the waters that define our islands is another landscape entirely, every bit as gritty and urgent, as lonely and cluttered, as deadly, nonsequitous, singular and Siren as the City itself. Underwater New York invites you to dive in.
We curate a list of objects lost and found, sunk and surfaced in the waterways surrounding New York City. These object range from the whimsical (a runaway giraffe, a fleet of ice cream trucks, mysterious white goo) to the historical (the steamship Princess Anne, the remnants of Coney Island’s Dreamland), to the environmental and political—much of what washes up is trash, and much of our coastline can end up underwater with storms like Hurricane Sandy.
The objects on our list have been discovered by divers and scientists, detectives and engineers, environmentalists and everyday city-dwellers. Underwater New York publishes the stories that these objects evoke, in whatever form the stories take. What interests us is work as inspired as the waters are littered, work that takes us somewhere, makes us laugh, moves or surprises us, unmoors us, makes us think. Above all, Underwater New York is a work in progress, and we encourage submissions in any genre. 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, a periodic update on featured stories, notification of upcoming events, and invitations to excursions exploring our city’s shores.
Nicki Pombier Berger, Founding Editor: Nicki is an oral historian, educator, and interdisciplinary artist. She teaches at The New School for Drama, 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. More about her work beyond Underwater New York can be found here.
Helen Georgas, Editor: Helen is a reference librarian and writer. She has a Bachelor of Science from McGill University, a Master's of Information Studies from the University of Toronto, and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Prior to moving to New York, she lived in Montreal, Athens, Toronto, and Chicago. Her academic articles have been published in portal: Libraries and the Academy, and College & Research Libraries, among other journals. She is also currently at work on a novel and 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 Brooklyn-based writer, editor and teacher. 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 non-fiction have appeared in Guernica, Fence, Image, The Atlas Review, Hyperallergic, Underwater New York and elsewhere. You can find 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.