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Brooklyn TED Talk Coming Live From the Gowanus Canal

A boat navigates down the polluted Gowanus Canal on March 2, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images2010 Getty Images

Saturday marks the first-ever independent TEDx conference to be hosted in the Whole Foods–having Brooklyn neighborhood Gowanus, which tends to smell like human waste. The reason for the scent, as most New Yorkers know, is the infamous, dolphin-killing canal, home to the contaminated “black mayonnaise,” poop, and all kinds of STDs. But the borough’s final frontier will be breached tomorrow when a fearless diver from the Coney Island River Rats braves the water for the good of an ideas talk.

John D’Aquino’s inadvisable trip into the sludge will be broadcast live at the conference a few blocks away while his colleague gives a speech on diving. “I’m fascinated by places most people wouldn’t even think of going swimming,” he told the Daily News. “Whatever I see, that’s what other people will see. The quality of the water that day will dictate how it will look.” It will also be below freezing and possibly snowing.

D’Aquino, however, will stop short of touching the canal bed, where most of the grossness festers. “It’s more about showing the process of diving than it is about going to the bottom,” he said. He’s not crazy.

Brooklyn TED Talk Coming From Gowanus Canal