When I think of oysters,  glamorous appetizers, champagne and  the resulting amorous night ahead flood my mind.  When I think of urban canals, especially Gowanus in Brooklyn, I can literally smell the stench of sewage filled waterways.  In my experience dilapidated waterways and oysters are no match.  Good thing Kate Orff thought otherwise.

Gowanus Canal Brooklyn, New York

America’s leader in upcycling industrial wastelands (think High Line Park), fabulous New York City is the breeding ground for one more brilliant idea.  Known as “oyster-tecture”, Kate Orff,  founder and partner of Scape/Landscape Architecture , paired oysters and the dirty canal like Felix and Oscar and consequently has one huge hit on her hands.  The problem: a polluted bay. The solution: Oyster thrive while simultaneously  filtering  the dirtiest of waterways.  In fact, one oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day.  Imagine what an entire farm could do.


When Orff approached the locals and Port Authority with her plan to transform the canal into an oyster nursery, creating a clean and dynamic new form of ecological life, their response was, “why didn’t we think of this sooner?”

It’s the simple things (and solutions) in life that are sometimes the most worthwhile.  Savoring oysters from the Gulf Coast to France’s Atlantic, it’s nice to know they satiate my appetite for cleanliness too.