Muscota, Mosholu, Tibbetts Brook is a series of cyanotype prints on paper that combine historical narratives with embodied and locative mapping to uncover buried pasts while investigating ecological issues. Comprising renderings from historical maps this project considers the impact of urbanization on New York City water systems and the shorelines now inaccessible to city residents.
During a 2018 Works on Water residency on Governors Island and a 2020 Winter Workspace residency at Wave Hill, I developed Mosholu, a series of drawings and cyanotypes documenting Tibbetts Brook's diversion into the city's sewage system over a century ago. Formerly a resource for food and navigation, Tibbetts Brook originated in Yonkers and flowed to the present day Harlem River. Today, Tibbetts Brook is evident when it floods the Broadway corridor during heavy rains. This, along with combined sewer overflow, a 19th-century system of managing stormwater, contributes to the ongoing pollution of New York City's naturally occurring rivers and streams. The area around Tibbetts Brook, thought to be called Muscota, "place in the reeds," by the Munsee-speaking Lenape, was mislabeled as Mosholu by 18th-century cartographers.