6. Gowanus

by |
09/28/2011 4:00 AM |


Why You Should Move Here

Typically, neighborhood transformations transpire thus: newcomers move in, build shops and cultural spaces that enhance the quality of life, and then big bad developers push them out with giant condo towers and chain stores. But something funny happened in this formerly industrial neighborhood, which takes its name from the famously polluted canal it abuts: a Federal Superfund designation of the rancid waterway scared away most of the big money, leaving small businesspeople, artists and entrepreneurs to keep doing what they were doing, making for one of the artsiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn—with no real danger, at least in the short term, of big money coming to displace them.

What the Future Holds

A Whole Foods is set to open in the spring, on the corner of Third Avenue and Third Street. And the Smith-Ninth Street subway station should reopen around the same time, adding a touch of much-needed pleasantness to one corner of the gray, treeless area. And there are rumors of the department of city planning rezoning the area to allow for more residential development.

Where You’ll Find Us

Eating Chinese food at Michael and Ping’s. Attending a wacky theme party at the Bell House. Buying hops and yeast at Homebrew. Trying the classic cheesecake that Sammy Davis, Jr. once ate at the newly reopened Monte’s. Sipping whiskey at the dive-y Canal Bar.

Second Thoughts

That canal is not only polluted with decades of industrial waste—it’s also a site for sewer overflows, where the city releases raw sewage when rainstorms overload the system. During a heavy storm like Irene, the canal can rise over its banks into the streets, as though your neighbor shit in a bucket and dumped the bucket out the window. Also, as the memorable title of a Bored to Death episode last season put it, The Gowanus Canal Has Gonorrhea.

How Much

Average rent of a two-bedroom apartment: $1,600

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