Phillip Lopate describes the shape of Manhattan Island as‘a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere’. This feeling of being tethered to the land, unable to get to sea, was a feature of New York life for much of the twentieth century. New York was an island without a coast. The West Side piers that once welcomed the Lusitania spent most of the twentieth century crumbling or behind barbed wire, while the East Side’s coves and points were cut off from pedestrians by six lanes of the Robert Moses-designed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. It wasn’t much easier to reach the shores of Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, either: with a few exceptions, they were largely reserved for municipal or industrial use, and easiest to see from the Staten Island Ferry (en route to the borough with the most beaches). Now, slowly, the city is reclaiming its shoreline, with some spectacular results.

Florida (Hurricane Andrew) by George Boorujy


BODY OF WATER: Lower New York Bay

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Editors' Statement

As the title of George Boorujy’s piece, Florida (Hurricane Andrew), underscores, we do not usually expect to see deer in New York City, let alone in the waterways of New York. And yet, in October 2011, three deer were found, frantic, at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Brooklyn, the first seen in the borough in many years. Naturally strong swimmers, they likely made their way over from Staten Island, but the circumstances of their journey are suspect: one of deer’s hind legs were bound with twine. Team UNY had no idea upon first encountering George’s show-stopping drawing at PPOW gallery this summer that we would soon have cause to publish it, but if we’ve learned anything in our two years at the helm of Underwater New York, it is that NYC’s waters work in mysterious ways.

George Boorujy was born and raised in New Jersey. Intending to pursue a career as a biologist, he ended up with a BFA from the University of Miami in 1996. This gateway degree predictably led to a MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2002. He has exhibited widely, was a 2010 NYFA fellow in painting, and was a 2009-10 Smack Mellon resident. He is represented by P.P.O.W. Gallery in New York, and lives and works on the far western tip of Long Island. With all those other artists. Visit his website to see more of his work.