Well, this is highly unusual, but it IS Friday: a dolphin is currently stranded in the Gowanus Canal at Union Street & Nevins Street. Red Hook Lobster tweeted, "I just saw a dolphin in the Gowanus canal near Union Street. Poor dolphin."
Andy Newman of the NY Times adds: "Whoa! Dolphin swimming around in Gowanus Canal near Union St bridge. Cops say seems fine but rescuers en route. As are we." There are a handful of dolphin sightings around the city every year, but suffice to say, it would be highly unusual for a dolphin to end up in the Gowanus Canal. Not much other information is known at this point, but you can be assured we will update once we know more.
Update: Emilie Ruscoe is at the scene for Gothamist, and she tells us there are ambulances and some cops at the canal currently. "The dolphin is surfacing to breathe really irregularly and its breathing sounds shallow," she says, adding that the water is so murky "you can't see it when it's more than a foot below the surface."
Other witnesses there noted that the dolphin seems to be tangled in something, and there's "black silt floating up around it." According to police at the scene, they are still formulating a plan of action right now—they're decided whether they can ease it back down the canal where it came in from, or if they'll need to take it out somehow.
You can watch a livestream of the rescue below, via NBC:
Update: Police are currently trying to lower a boat into the water to try to guide the dolphin out. For the record, a minke whale nicknamed "Sludgie" was spotted swimming in the Gowanus in 2007, and a harp seal was also spotted in the Gowanus in the early '00s.
Update: Locals have been crowding around to watch the scene unfold. Jerry, a worker in the area who lives in Staten Island, told us: "I feel bad for him. The water's contaminated. I hope he comes out alright. That's dirty water. Very disgusting water. The water's supposed to go all the way around and go back into the ocean, but they're working on the other end so it doesn't go out, so it stays here."
Joe, who does live in the neighborhood, told us parts of the canal are still frozen: "It got here disoriented and injured. This morning this was all frozen. That was early, 11 o'clock. I didn't see the dolphin then. I came by at 12:30."
Update: "What's this poor dolphin doing here? It's a pity," Linda Mariano, who represents Friends and Residents of The Greater Gowanus, told us. She complained about the toxic state of the canal: "This is worse than living in a fifth world area. This is completely disgusting. And you know who's completely responsible, because they haven't been responsible? The city and the state."
— Tim Fleischer (@TimFleischer7) January 25, 2013
Update: Julika Wocial from The Riverhead Foundation addressed the media on the current state of the dolphin, which she identified as a common dolphin—she said that the decision has been made to "observe the dolphin" through at least one, possibly more, tide cycles. She said they likely wouldn't send someone into the canal "in the middle of the night," which implies they're planning on acting before then if they feel they need to.
She didn't comment on how the toxic state of the Gownus might affect the dolphin. She characterized its behavior as distressed, but she added that she had only seen the head of the dolphin emerging from the water, and hasn't been able to examine it up close. The police boat is still at the scene, but the cops in lifejackets stopped doing anything when she started to make her announcement.
The NYPD add that they "are waiting for the next high tide at 7:10 p.m. to see if the dolphin can free itself, and will standby to assist Riverhead Foundation personnel when and if they decide it may be necessary to enter the water in the morning to aid the dolphin as the tide recedes."
Update: Parents have been stopping by with their kids who just got out of school to take a look at the dolphin, but it's quite far away from the bridge now, and most people are leaving the area. Cops say there will be a continued police presence through this evening, with a few officers on either side of the canal. Riverhead is leaving before high tide, but will return to assess the situation in the morning.
Update: Brandon Rosenblum captured the video below of the dolphin in the canal, plus some of the photos above:
Update: Very sad final update: the dolphin trapped in the canal has died.