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A lot of Gowanus' charm comes from its architecture, and the ability to stroll between massive brick buildings, speculating about the people who spent time there back when factories were a big deal, and Brooklyn was a real hub for beer manufacturing. Maybe nothing represents this better than the Old American Can Factory, originally built in 1885 and lovingly restored in the past 10 years as a home for small, creative companies. Since people here are generally in their offices working, it doesn't exactly work to wander around poking your head into different studios. It is, however, the home of Rooftop Films, who still use the building's roof as one of their screening venues, giving you a place to sit, watch a movie you wouldn't see anywhere else, and let all the barbecue you just ate slowly absorb itself into your system.
Unfortunately, Proteus Gowanus, one of the neighborhood's best galleries, has already closed its doors for the summer, but there's also Littlefield, a reliably lovely (and naturally lit) place to browse work by hyper-local artists. And then there's the canal itself. Even if you're not bold enough to sign up for one of the canoeing trips the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club hosts every weekend, you can still take a lower stakes walk around the waterway. It'll work fine if you improvise it, but since the canal became a Superfund site, the EPA has come up with a pretty great walking tour of the area, which should take you a little over an hour (and presumably help you work your appetite up for more pie and barbecue).
Rooftop Films, 232 3rd Ave.
Littlefield, 622 Degraw St.
Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club