Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York City
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Gowanus is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, USA, situated roughly between Red Hook and Carroll Gardens on the west and Park Slope on the East. The neighborhood is marked by the elevated Smith-Ninth Street subway station and the Gowanus Expressway, both crossing the Gowanus Canal. The northern boundary of the neighborhood is Butler street, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the south and west, and Fourth Avenue (not so long ago, Fifth Avenue) to the east. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6.
In 1636, Gowanus Bay was the site of the first settlement by Dutch farmers in what is now Brooklyn.
In 1776, American troops retreating from the British during the Battle of Brooklyn, crossed the Gowanus Creek, located in Gowanus.
In the late 19th and early 20th century the area was largely home to immigrants, then arrviving from Ireland, Italy and Germany. The area consists of mostly frame housing in contrast to the brownstone homes found in neighboring Park Slope.
The Gowanus area has been an active center of industrial activity since the 1870's. It is zoned for light to mid-level manufacturing allowing for a broad range of essential industrial and related commercial use groups which make residential development in that area undesirable.
After World War II, with the decline of shipping at the port of Red Hook and the decrease of manufacturing around New York City in general, the vibrancy of industry in Gowanus began to change as larger industrial users continued to leave the city. However, during 1980's and 1990's, many larger buildings were successfully adapted for smaller, industrial and creative users, which by 2000 was the largest growing segment within the industrial sector.
Gowanus, one of the few remaining manufacturing neighborhoods in Brooklyn, is having a renaissance as it re-attracts new and vibrant small creative manufacturing businesses many owned by individuals who live in the adjoining residential neighborhoods and walk or bike to work. And, the demand for light-industrial space in Gowanus is on the rise as manufacturing districts in many other parts of the city are in the process of re-zoning or have already been re-zoned for residential use which has left innumerable businesses and individuals seeking available and affordable workspace elsewhere.
As for Gowanus' environmental condition, the water and much of the land along the Gowanus Canal have been severely polluted from a combination of CSO's (combined sewer outflows) along the canal designed to relieve sewage and storm water when the sewer treatment plant is overwhelmed as well as from decades of heavy industrial use. There currently are several public and privately sponsored programs in development aiming to remediate the land around the canal as well as the canal itself.
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