Gowanus Travel Guide
  • Photo: Mary Robnett


A former center of industrial and shipping activity and home to the stevedores who worked the waterfront, Gowanus has become known for its innovative maker spaces, cool bars and restaurants, experimental performance venues, and funky design shops. Bordered by the long-established neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens to the northwest and Park Slope to the northeast, Gowanus and its spacious warehouses, many of which had been abandoned by the 1970s, began attracting artists and creative businesses during that decade, though redevelopment didn't really begin to gain momentum until the early 2000s. Brooklyn Boulders lures a community of rock climbers and gives a West Coast feel to the neighborhood. Make no mistake, Gowanus is still up-and-coming: empty lots and the polluted Gowanus Canal, an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site, present challenges. However, walk along 3rd or 4th Avenue or Union Street and you’ll soon run across a coffee bar, cocktail den, or offbeat shop worth investigating, plus casket companies.


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