At a Glance
Looking out from the F train as it rises above ground, you get a bird's-eye view of Gowanus. From this vantage point, you can see the canal clearly cutting through the heart of the neighborhood and spreading out from it are lots teeming with scrap metal, concrete mixing plants and lumber yards. The highly polluted canal is the stuff of urban legend, purported to be the home of three-eyed fish, dumped bodies and toxic sediment. In 2009, the EPA deemed the canal a Superfund clean up site and at the same time, the area surrounding the waterway was rezoned to allow for residential development. You can now clearly see evidence of those changes - cranes, glassy towers rising and the roof of the new Whole Foods clad with shining solar panels. Yes, the unavoidable realities of an active industrial neighborhood remain, but the area is increasingly becoming an unusual mix of old-school, deep-seated Brooklyn pride and new-wave Brooklyn hipsters.
Gowanus has an edgy, isolated feel, but its side streets and aging warehouses are brimming with effortlessly cool local artists and makers.
Heart of the Neighborhood
The canal is vital to the neighborhood and in recent years many bars and restaurants have cropped up along its banks, creating a very low-key, very Brooklyn going-out scene.
The history of the Gowanus Canal is full of lore. The backwater is a rumored mob dumping ground, a verified dolphin habitat and the site of a recreational canoeing club.
The combination of its aging industrial feel and its unconventional cultural scene makes Gowanus one of Brooklyn's coolest, under-the-radar neighborhoods.
For years, the Gowanus canal was a dumping ground for toxins and is now a Superfund site. Also, Gowanus severely lacks trees and green space and since it still thrums with heavy industry, many find the neighborhood gritty.
By the Numbers
Historically, Gowanus was predominantly an industrial neighborhood and had little in sales or rental inventory. The few listings that were available usually were way below the borough-wide median given the neighborhood's environment. Recent rezoning, however, has paved the way for the proliferation of new developments, which are boosting up prices.
Food & Drink
If your friend is telling you about a great new restaurant in Brooklyn, chances are it’s in Gowanus. The neighborhood has become a popular destination for upscale, unpretentious dining in Brooklyn.
Runner & StoneCafes, Bakeries, American (New)
The fresh bread and pastas at Runner & Stone are insanely popular. It's a great date night spot - just be sure to make a reservation.
The PinesAmerican (New), Desserts, Cocktail Bars
Equal parts gastropub, beer garden and cozy, casual Brooklyn dining, the Pines is a fun spot known for inventive small plates and cocktails.
LittleneckSeafood, Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch
You'll find the best of Brooklyn and Maine dining here. That means fresh takes on clams, mussels and other classic New England fare.