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May 30, 2011

Surfing Safari on Burlington's Booth Street

Skim-Surf-3-6224 As a portent of the end of the world (coming October 2011 or maybe sometime in 2012), we've had some intense weather thrown at us recently. While we haven't had to deal with such epic natural disasters as the tsunami in Japan or the recent tornadoes in Missouri, which half flattened the town of Joplin, we have had near Biblical amounts of water tossed on us. Thanks to record-breaking rainfall and heavy winter snowpack, Lake Champlain consumed its shores, roads along normally calm rivers became submerged and poor Barre was all but washed away.

For the many homeowners and businesses, including so many local farms, piecing things back together in the aftermath of the flooding, the water is nothing to joke about. But after last Thursday's downpour, some folks couldn't help but make something fun out of a bad situation.

Booth Street, in the Old North End, has been on the city's repaving list. Last week, road crews stripped off the pavement and pulled up the storm grates so the road could be regraded. Before the crews could put the new asphalt down, Mother Nature unleashed yet another watery fury and Booth Street quickly became a lake. With no drains, the water had nowhere to go and pooled along the block-long street that abuts Pomeroy Park.

For residents, it quickly became apparent that nothing could be done to prevent the pooling, so they might as well enjoy it. Kids brought out their floaties, college-aged folks hopped on their skim boards and at least one person tried to kayak the length of the street.

Photographer Peter Wadsworth, who lives on the street, documented the makeshift lake activities in an incredible series of pictures. He set up some strobe lights and snapped away. Here's a taste of what the neighborhood got up to. Visit the website to see more of Wadsworth's amazing Booth St. photos. 

Skim-Surf-3-6244I'm sure that water is totally not filthy.  

Skim-Surf-3-6264 The happy, sodden hood...


hooz the chick in the top pic? Righteous.

On the bright side:
Standing brown water is incredibly chock full of hazardous fecal bacteria and toxins like oil and grease. Make sure you take a shower.

fwiw, the area was flooded because the street was being repaved, hence the sewers were sealed. They were not overflowing and "chock full of hazardous fecal bacteria and toxins like oil and grease" was rain water falling on a fresh *dirt* road (not yet used by traffic), hence the mud.

But, you know, fear mongering via anonymous internet posts and is cool too. You have fun with that ;)

Not that it matters, but . . .

@ Peter:

Like the dirt that's been under a paved urban road for, oh, say, 90 years is clean? Like it didn't get contaminated from automobile use, etc., even before it was paved over? Like it doesn't have oil and grease and other contaminants in it?

Like the rainwater pooling on Booth Street didn't also contain water from nearby paved streets that DO clearly have oil and grease and other contaminants on them?

It was not my intention to fishmonger, er, fearmonger. Urban run-off is dirty. It rinses things like dog crap, dead animals, lead, and lawn chemicals out of the surrounding yards and streets. You can play in that if you want but please wash your hands before eating.

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