Cattails on high

I was walking down Furman Street, which parallels the new Brooklyn Bridge Park and is half shadowed by the howl of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Passing one of the few buildings left from the days of dockland glory, I looked up. (The building is a garage on the 1929 map, between the old Ward Line and Nippon Yusin Kaisha piers, detailed at the indispensable Forgotten New York blog.) On top of the one-story building were the unmistakable silhouettes of cattails. They looked positively sculptural, and my first thought was: is that art? There is so much art today that takes its inspiration from nature; I thought this was some kind of copy cattail art. It was, after all, a very cold March day, and most of last year’s cattails are looking pretty ragged by now. Plus, cattails are a wetlands species, which meant I really wanted to get a look at that roof. Luckily, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, vibrating from the BQE as always, overlooks the area. The cattails are the clump on the right.There are a number of genus Typha cattails in the world. The common domestic one is Typha latifolia, and it’s edible. Muskrats, for instance, love it. Muskrats by the way, have been known to show up in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

4 Responses to “Cattails on high”


  1. 1 Sara K. April 2, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Wonderful discovery! Nature will find a way.

  2. 2 Rachel April 2, 2011 at 11:07 am

    This is just beautiful. About eight years ago I was at a party on a rooftop in Williamsburg that had been transformed into a garden oasis complete with shallow pond, cattails and lily pads. Probably not so good for the roof, but it was one of the prettiest gardens I’ve ever seen. Wonder if it’s still there.

  3. 3 Mike B. April 3, 2011 at 12:35 am

    So, is that now a delineated wetland? Bizarre.


  1. 1 Shifting baselines « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on April 15, 2011 at 8:40 am

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