The Brooklyn community of Gowanus, centered around the Gowanus Canal, is largely made up of historic architecture directly related to the water route. Located between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, it is considered part of Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront. The canal itself is 2.5 miles long, 100 feet wide, and stretches from Gowanus Bay in New York Harbor to Douglass Street. Unlike other industrial areas of the city, Gowanus was never densely built up, and much open space remains today. The structures that surround the canal are generally six stories or fewer, lending a low-scale, 19th-century character. This area continues to be mixed-use manufacturing with peripheral residential enclaves.
Historically one of New York’s most contaminated waterways, the Gowanus Canal area was designated as a Superfund Site in 2010. To protect the historic character of the neighborhood the local community is currently working to place the Gowanus Canal Corridor on the National Register of Historic Places so that its urban industrial character is preserved.
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