Whole F(l)oods: Site Of Future Gowanus Organic Supermarket Submerged During Hurricane Sandy
Future site of Gowanus Whole Foods Store photo credit: Urban Divers via Martin Bisi
The same site during Hurricane Sandyrendering of future Gowanus Whole Foods(credit: Whole Foods)
Whole Foods' future store on Third Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus may soon be offering the company's products "without the standard array of modern toxic and persistent chemicals" but in case of a Hurricane like Sandy, those apples and oranges will have lots of nasty stuff on it.
That's because the store is right smack in the middle of a flood zone and right next to the Gowanus Canal. During Sandy, at the end of October, the future site of the Gowanus Whole Foods was entirely under water. (See photo above)
As per the EPA, that flood water had incredible amounts of bacteria as well as traces of petroleum and gasoline. Luckily, the truly dangerous toxins at the bottom of the canal were left undisturbed.
Had the Whole Foods store already been open, it is safe to say that it would have had to be entirely gutted, much like Fairway in Red Hook, or so many homes and businesses along the canal.
Keep in mind that Sandy was not even considered a major rain event and let's remember that it doesn't take a hurricane to cause flooding in Gowanus.
The flooding probably did not surprise Whole Foods executives. After all, the company used the fact that the Gowanus "property is in a Flood Zone A and has a high water table and would need extensive waterproofing and additional measures to resist hydrostatic pressure" as one of the hardships to get a zoning variance from NYC's Board Of Standarts And Appeals.
I suppose we should be lucky that Whole Foods did not go forward with their original plan, which called for a below-ground building.
I swear, one can't come up with this stuff even if one tried....
I would like to thank the Urban Divers and Martin Bisi for the use of their photo.