So last weekend you were probably bee boppin around Gowanus and might have seen a big red balloon floating in the sky near the Canal. As usual whenever you see a big red balloon you thought two things:

1) 99 Luftballons (99 Red Balloons) – the song by that band you can never remember the name of!

and…

2) Le ballon rouge (The Red Ballon) – the 1956 movie by Albert Lamorisse that you fell asleep watching in film class and failed to ever watch all the way through, even though it’s only like 30+ minutes long.

Neither of which have anything to do with the balloon you saw in the sky.

The floating red balloon you possible saw is for an ongoing mapping project being conducted by the Public Laboratory, local residents, and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Low Altitude Mapping Program with the help of Gowanus Dredger’s canoes…aka a whole lot of Gowanus nerds! The data is being collected by all these sciency types for a Proteus Gowanus Over My Dead Body Expedition map and the Conservancy’s Gowanus ReLeaf Expedition aerial review. The team used a Red Balloon from Grassroots Mapping filled helium donated by Liberty Industrial Gases.

The Googlesque images taken shows the here and now of Gowanus, Brooklyn from above!

Check out a few of these aerial shots that show Thomas Greene Park Pool, Bayside Fuel Depot, the Canal, Bond St, President St, the controversial Royal Palms Shuffleboard rooftop, and a few of balloonist enjoying themselves.

(images provided by Eymund Diegel)

In addition to the fun shots above another round of photographs, found here , were specifically taken for the Gowanus Canal Conservancy to show Canal edge vegetation, new plantings, and street end sites that local residents would like converted to parks. The images also show the greenery the Conservancy has added near the Gowanus Canal and their outdoor office known as the Salt Lot. It probably shows other sciency stuff too like water levels and icky things like pollution.

Also, a group of photos for Proteus Gowanus were taken in the search for one of Gowanus’s biggest secrets. Supposedly hiding under a large slap of concrete maybe 250 plus dead bodies! The bodies are possible of a Maryland Regiment killed in the first battle of the American Revolutionary War, the 1776 Battle for Brooklyn aka the Battle for Long Island. The image shows 8th Street and 3rd Avenue from above. In it you see someone laying on the ground for scale and a large amount of concrete that has what appears to be cracks making patterns. The theory, listed  under one of the images on Proteus Gowanus’s flickr page, is that if there is a mass grave…

expansion cracks in the concrete would run north south, contrary to the logical northeast to southeast layout of the lot and steel reinforcing grid’s expansion joints.”

The images alludes to such cracks and truly might be the final resting place for America’s first soldiers to be lost in battle. Further studies of the images and from other historical documents may force the excavation of this particular lot in Gowanus in the future.

The mapping program is ongoing and previous birds eye view photos are available on the Proteus Gowanus flickrGowanus Canal Conservancy’s flickr pages and Mapknitter.org.