On January 25 2013 a common atlantic dolphin was trapped in the Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn, a federal Superfund site that is one of the most polluted waterways in the entire United States. Decisions were made by NYPD & marine mammal rescue not to attempt a rescue of the animal but to wait and observe. Throughout the day the dolphin would stay near people. By midday the NYPD dive rescue team and their zodiac departed the site. Late in the afternoon a man on a beat up bicycle showed up and decided to comfort the dolphin. Without saying a word he entered the water. I warned him about how polluted the water was but he smiled and said he'd dealt with worse, especially since Hurricane Sandy. The dolphin was extremely affectionate and responded to his touch. This lasted for quite awhile. The dolphin was bleeding from the dorsal fin and beneath its snout. It seemed to be comforted by the man.
The entire time the two stayed together. Eventually the man came out of the freezing water, got on his bicycle, and said he was going home to have a shower. The dolphin then headed up the canal and finally cleared the floats from the oil facility that had kept him penned in all day. But then he drifted to a group of onlookers taking photos in oily sludgy water where he stayed all evening, beneath the bridge on Union St, before dying around 6pm, as snow fell in the dark.