Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goin' To Gowanus

Yesterday was a nice day, warm and sunny. A perfect day to head over to the Gowanus Canal and take a few pictures. I headed up Smith Street, our local Restaurant Row, until I got to the Gowanus Yacht Club. It doesn't open until later in the day and is several blocks away from the Gowanus Canal.

Gowanas Yacht Club

I headed east on President Street and strolled down a ovely tree lined street.

Quite A Pretty Neighborhood

That tree lined street only runs for a couple of blocks though, and then it dead-ends at a parking lot and storage yard for Verizon trucks. This blocks access to the Gowanus Canal at this point. In fact, there are very few places where you can actually get to the Gowanus Canal.

The Dead End

There are several bridges across the canal though for both pedestrians and automobiles. These pretty much provide the only vantage points to take pictures unless you want to risk getting caught trespassing.

The Other Side Of The Dead End

There are a few boats moored in the canal.

Hardy Souls

Looks Like It Could Be A Nice Pedestrian Walk

But, as you can see, the canal is pretty much solidly lined with storage yards, vacant lots, and various manufacturing concerns.

Not Too Attractive

Right In The Heart Of Booming Brooklyn, Too

Sheet Metal And Concertina Wire

A Perfect Place For A Park

Potentially Prime Waterfront Just Used For Storage

Graffiti And Decay

Oh, a bit of trivia. Did you know that graffiti is from the Italian graffio, which means "a scratch"?

More Urban Decay

Grain Silos Or Cement Storage?

Such A Waste

A Cafe On That Point Would Be Nice

Pristine Waters

This Gowanus Canal was originally completed in 1869 and was the result of dredging the existing Gowanus Creek. Even though it is relatively short, it did provide access to and from New York Harbor. As a result the Gowanus Canal was a hub for Brooklyn's maritime and commercial shipping activity. Factories, warehouses, tanneries, coal stores, and manufactured gas refineries sprang up as a result of its construction.

Of course the Gowanus Canal no longer serves its original purpose, but the old manufacturing nature of the neigborhood remains and the canal is now more of an eyesore than anything else. A smelly eyesore with a lot of potential and an endless topic of political debate as to its future.