Joseph Alexiou

A journalist and history buff, Joseph Alexiou is writing a book about the Gowanus Canal. He is the author of Paris for Dummies and contributing author to Frommer’s Paris 2012 and has written for New York, the New York Press,  New York ObserverGothamist and Paper Magazine.  He is a former associate editor at Out magazine and has a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. 


Ate Atema

Ate Atema is the Managing Principal of Atema Architecture, an award-winning New York-based architectural practice, and Flow Collaborative, an international team he formed to work on large-scale projects integrating architecture, ecology and infrastructure. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University. Ate worked at Frank Gehry Associates while in graduate school on the project teams for the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, the "Fred and Ginger" office building in Prague, and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. After his years in Los Angeles, Ate moved back to New York and worked at Asfour/Guzy Architects, focusing on residential and commercial interior projects. He was a Senior Architect at Bennett Lowry for three years, managing retail projects both in New York and internationally for clients including DKNY, CK Calvin Klein, and Anne Klein, before opening his own office in 1998.

Blind Ear Music

Blind Ear Music

Blind Ear is a collective of composers and musicians who present interactive concerts combining new music with cutting-edge technology. Blind Ear is founded on the belief that composing is a living, ever-changing art form, and that composers should have the ability to shape and control their music during a performance. Combined with our confidence in new technology to regenerate our art, Blind Ear has created a unique software program that makes it possible for composers and musicians to interact in real-time. Our reimagined concert experience replaces music stands with laptops and musicians' parts for loops that appear on their screens. By blending improvisation, electronics, and traditional composition, Blind Ear produces concerts that offer an ever-changing soundscape and strives to create a direct communication between composers, musicians, and collaborators.


Monica Byrne

Monica Byrne is Co-Founder of ReStore Red Hook, the organization founded days after Sandy, whose mission was to get every community based small business in Red Hook reopened again. ReStore raised over 600,000.00, when virtually no other aid was available to small businesses. ReStore directly re-granted it out to 65 small businesses in the community, affecting over 400 employees. ReStore Red Hook was the only locally based organization to directly re-grant 100% of the funds raised to those damaged and affected by Super Storm Sandy. Monica is also the Creative Director and Chef Partner of Roquette, a small Red Hook based Catering and Events company, that includes Home/Made, a Red Hook Wine Bar, and Atelier Roquette, a community based Events Space.

Calloway's Salon

Calloway's Salon

William Popp is a graduate of Skidmore College and can currently be found at The McKittrick Hotel in NYC as a principal performer in the hit show Sleep No More. His original character, Calloway, conducts his own one man show monthly. Over the past few years in NYC, William has performed in operas such as Monodramas and can also be seen on the upcoming season of FX's The Americans.



Eymund Diegel

Eymund Diegel is the chair of Public Laboratory, a citizen science group partnered with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy's Grassroots Aerial Photography program, where local citizen's insights help improve Google Earth and City mapping of the neighborhood. As a Gowanus resident, he also helps out at the Hall of the Gowanus, a community historic research resource. Trained as an urban planner with a focus on watershed and environmental planning, he works with other local residents who have been tying digital cameras to kites and balloons to map and reconstruct the Gowanus Canal's "ghost stream" network. He will be talking about historical change and how balloon mapped "grassroots" plant and puddle patterns were used to successfully locate buried urban streams. His dialogue will explore how these ghosts of the past can become the revitalized spirit of the new Gowanus Canal.


Marlene Donnelly

Marlene Donnelly is a founding member of Friends & Resident of Greater Gowanus, FROGG--a citizen's action group carrying out teamwork on Gowanus issues. FROGG is responsible for the continued existence of the “Green Building” hosting this event. FROGG ran the SuperfundMe campaign, helping bring the Superfund cleanup effort to Gowanus. FROGG has hosted Gowanustours including tours for the Sierra Club and US State Department Foreign Visitors. FROGG is sponsoring the historic preservation work for the Gowanus Listing to the National Registry of Historic Places as an Urban Industrial Site. Marlene works with her husband, Benjamin Ellis, an architect. Their studio, located in Gowanus, has done projects across Brooklyn focusing on sound building stewardship. Along with their four children they are active in the community, including the CobbleHill CSA, St Paul's Church, AYSO and Brooklyn Irish Dance. Marlene holds a BA from Beloit College and Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute.

Susannah Drake

Susannah Drake

Susannah Drake is the founding principal of Dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture pllc. In 2013 she was awarded the AIA Young Architects Award, made a Fellow of the ASLA and her firm recognized as an Architectural League Emerging Voice. Susannah is a former President and Trustee of the New York ASLA, Trustee of the Van Alen Institute and studio professor at Cooper Union. She received numerous grants and awards for redesign of underutilized infrastructure corridors for storm water capture, climate resilience and park creation. Dlandstudio’s public projects include the QueensWay Greenway, the MOMA “New Urban Ground" Rising Currents Exhibit, and the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park. Susannah received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College in 1987 and Master in Architecture and Master in Landscape Architecture degrees from the Harvard University GSD. She is a registered architect and registered landscape architect.


Rachel Fershleiser

Rachel Fershleiser works on Tumblr's outreach team, specializing in publishing, nonprofit, and cultural organizations. Previously she was the Community Manager at Bookish and the Director of Public Programs at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, where she now serves on the board of directors. She is also the co-creator of Six-Word Memoirs and co-editor of the New York Times Bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning and three other books.


Proteus Gowanus

Founded in 2005 in a former box factory beside the Gowanus Canal, Proteus Gowanus develops exhibitions, public projects, publications and programs that link art to other disciplines and to the community. Run by a collaborative group of artists, writers, educators and workers in other disciplines, Proteus Gowanus acts as an interpreter of culture and place, deepening the community’s sense of context and connection. Proteus Gowanus’ many projects include: the Hall of the Gowanus, the only museum of the Gowanus Canal;  a yearlong exploration of the theme WATER in the wake of Hurricane Sandy; Battle Pass, a public art project that marked Battle of Brooklyn sites with installations and performances; Cricket Crawl, a public counting of crickets focusing on the Gowanus; Sewarama!, an exploration through art and science of local sewer systems; publication of The Social Vision of Alfred T.White, a book about the little-known Brooklyn social visionary.




Andrew Gustafson

Andrew Gustafson is a geographer, historical researcher, and New York City tour guide. He develops and leads tours for the Brooklyn-based company Turnstile Tours, and his projects have included the research and development of tours at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Army Terminal, as well as about Brooklyn's rich baseball history. Andrew earned his undergraduate degree in history and geography from Middlebury College, and he spent several years living in Russia, where he studied and worked as a translator and reporter. He also studied at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he was pursuing a PhD in geography, and his work on police practices and public space has been presented at conferences and published in academic journals.

Brad Lander

Brad Lander

Brad Lander is a New York City Council Member representing Brooklyn’s 39th District, and a leader on issues of affordable housing, livable communities, the environment, and public education. Named one of “Today's Social Justice Heroes” by The Nation magazine, Lander is co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, which fights for good jobs, equitable development, and investments in public schools, transportation, and the safety net. He has fought successfully to hold banks accountable to communities, to protect manufacturing jobs in NYC, and to stop tax breaks for millionaires and funding cuts to schools, firehouses, parks, libraries, and day care centers. His hard-hitting policy reports have led to concrete changes that benefit New Yorkers, from improved bus service to smaller class sizes.

Natalie Loney

Natalie Loney

Natalie Loney, a long-time Brooklyn resident, is EPA’s Community Involvement Coordinator for the Gowanus Canal Superfund site. Over her 21 year career with EPA, Ms. Loney has managed community involvement activities at over 50 superfund sites in New York and New Jersey. She has also been involved in outreach activities in St. Croix, USVI as well as emergency response outreach in New Orleans, Louisiana post-Hurricane Katrina. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering from City College of New York and a MBA in Industrial Marketing from Baruch College.


Joselin Linder

Joselin Linder is an author and writer. Her books include The Gamification Revolution, The Good Girl's Guide to Living in Sin and The Best Life List. She has contributed to NPR programs This American Life and Morning Edition. She blogs about her genetic disease, the family gene at the center of it, and the fascinating, frustrating and sometimes hilarious journey she has been on to scientifically name it at joselinlinder.com. She lives with her husband and two dogs in the best borough, Brooklyn.


Kate Orff

Kate Orff is a landscape architect who thinks deeply about sustainable development, biodiversity and community-based change—and suggests some surprising and wonderful ways to make change through landscape. She’s a professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she’s a director of the Urban Landscape Lab. She’s the co-editor of the new book Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park, about the Gateway National Recreation Area, a vast and underused tract of land spreading across the coastline of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and New Jersey. She is principal of SCAPE, a landscape architecture and urban design office with projects ranging from a 1,000-square-foot pocket park in Brooklyn to a 100-acre environmental center in Greenville, SC, to a 1000-acre landfill regeneration project in Dublin, Ireland. 


Reggie Ossé

Reggie Ossé, known as Combat Jack, first rose to prominence in the Hip Hop industry as founding partner of Ossé and Woods where his clients included such legends as Jay-Z, Damon Dash, Sean "Diddy" Combs' Hitmen production team, along with producers, songwriters and artists who shaped the "golden era" sound of the 1990s. During his time as an attorney, Ossé managed to build relationship and develop a keen appreciation for the behind the scenes players who were instrumental in shaping what is now a part of mainstream pop culture. In addition, Ossé developed an intimate relationship with many who are considered movers and shakers of the music industry. After closing his practice, Ossé worked briefly as an executive at MTV, after which time he decided to change careers paths and began blogging under the name Combat Jack. Quickly developing a following attracted by his authenticity and riveting tales from the golden age of hip-hop, Ossé was named the managing editor of The Source, where he served for a year before dedicating himself full time to The Combat Jack Show and The Loudspeakers Network. Ossé is also the author of Bling: A History Hip-Hop X and his writing has appeared in The Source, Complex and XXL and Red Bull Music Academy's The Daily Note. As an active participant in social media, Billboard Magazine has named Ossé one of the "140 Music Writers To Follow On Twitter," Complex Magazine has named him "Top 25 Writers To Follow On Twitter." Ossé is also currently host of Complex TV's The Combat Jack TV Show in which he interviews artists in a television talk show format and has been called, by Complex the "Dick Cavett"of rap because of his unique interview skills.


Pete Raho

Pete Raho is the owner of Gowanus Furniture Co., and has lived and worked in Gowanus since 2008. He started Gowanus Furniture Co. in 2011 as a way to make a living creating (after having made one looking at spreadsheets). Since then, the company has developed into more than just a creative outlet, and has provided him a new way to envision small-scale manufacturing in an urban environment. Prior to starting Gowanus Furniture Co., Pete worked for over 7 years at Christie’s, the fine art auctioneers, and received his MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Coney Island River Rats

Coney Island River Rats

The Coney Island River Rats are a research dive team who employ their collective passion for New York, and specifically Coney Island, to explore the world of secrets, treasure and immense history that lies just beneath the surface of the waters surrounding this region.  

Our mission is to use our underwater research efforts to increase awareness and develop educational programs.


T.M. Rives

T.M. Rives is a writer and photographer from California. After traveling around various countries for years like a confused beast, he was eventually adopted by New York City. Rives suffers from finding pretty much everything at least medium-interesting. His 2012 book Secret New York: an Unusual Guide is a map of a parallel metropolis, one for the curious discoverer, filled with strange stories and strange people. A follow up, New York: Curious Activities, will be released next summer. 


Leah Selim

Leah Selim is a co-founder of Global Kitchen, a social enterprise that hosts immigrant-led cooking classes to promote cultural exchange and awareness through food. While working towards her Master’s in Food Systems at NYU, she became fascinated by how food, identity, environment and politics intersect, focusing her research on international food systems and sustainable agricultural practices. Leah currently works as an editorial consultant for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and holds a BA in English and Psychology from the University of Virginia.


Ed Woodham

For more than 25 years, Ed Woodham has been active in community art, education, and civic interventions in a variety of media and cultural contexts. An accomplished visual and performance artist, puppeteer, and curator, he is best known for founding and producing the annual Art in Odd Places festival which has become a fixture of the New York City Arts calendar and is beginning to enfranchise globally. He employs humor, irony, subtle detournement, and a striking visual style to encourage and provoke greater and deeper consideration and critical engagement with the urban environment.