Ephemeral chalk lines bring the ghost of a historic wetland into view
at the edge of Flushing Bay
Flushing Bay Kayak and Canoe Launch, Marina Road, Corona, New York
chalk and water
120 yards x 15 yards
In conjunction with NYC H2O and Guardians of Flushing Bay
Missing Waters creates a memory of the original wetland edge of Flushing Bay. This area, now paved and lifted above the tide range, used to be a living tidal wetland. This painting gives people a way to see and walk over the missing presence of the historic waterway. Missing Waters kindles an understanding that the landscape we see today looked very different before urbanization.
The hydrology of the water is drawn on the pavement with short-lasting blue chalk lines. The painting is done with a group of volunteers who learn about hydrological patterns like meanders, laminar flows, and vortices. Project participants also study historical maps to see where the waters once flowed.
This project was created during the Covid-19 pandemic in October 2020. People had a chance to work together outdoors, on a beautiful warm fall day, following strict social distancing that the huge scale of the drawing made possible.
Just as historical waters are now absent, rising waters are once again changing the contours of Flushing Bay. Where human industry has paved and altered the shoreline, the climate crisis is highlighting the precarious nature of that "line."
Stacy has created many projects with NYC H20, bringing the meandering ghosts of historic streams to the surface of the grid of the city in Manhattan and Brooklyn, NY.