One of New York's strangest and grossest waterways!
Designed by Major David Douglas in 1849, the Gowanus Canal was created as a passageway for commercial ships going to Upper New York Bay. As a result of the canal, the surrounding area became quite industrial, with new refineries, warehouses, and factories being built. Many of the original buildings are still there today, and while some still serve their original purpose, others have been transformed into artist studios, retail stores, and private residences.
Many of the artists in the area are part of The Gowanus Artists and work with groups like FROGG (Friends, Residents of Greater Gowanus), and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy trying to clean the Gowanus and prevent large corporations from spoiling the area. They host open studios every year as well as collaborative art exhibits and other community programs. It was recently revealed that a water sample taken from the Canal contained gonorrhea, so community groups definitely have their work cut out for them!
The water of the canal is pretty gross and filled with pathogens — the most in NY Harbor, but many organizations are attempting to clean it and re purpose some the surrounding land. Until then, the Gowanus and the neighborhoods around it are pretty interesting to wander through. Just don’t go in the water.
[Resubmitted for NYCG]