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Get to know Gowanus

Sprawling, chill, and canal-retentive. Gowanus has worn many hats through the six centuries since its first mill turned a wheel—Revolutionary War battlefield, manufacturing hub, and hipster artful hipster haven—though nothing has come to define it more than its singular manmade waterway, which follows the loose course of its predecessor creek to a Red Hook outflow. Industry long prospered on the Gowanus Canal, transforming the sunken meadows between higher-grounded Park Slope and Carroll Gardens into a bustling manufacturing hub; much of the brownstone that built those surrounding neighborhoods, in fact, was barged right in. While the superfund stream, affectionately nicknamed the “Lavender Lake” for its purplish sheen, became a longtime pain point locally, the progressing clean-up will ensure these inland waters define a positive future for the neighborhood that grew along its bulkhead. Did we mention the new developments, Michelin-starred restaurants, and multiple subway stops?
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Commerce & Culture

Where else has shuffleboard courts, a casket factory, and Brooklyn’s first Whole Foods (replete with a rooftop farm)? Gowanus has a raw, laid-back authenticity that feels farther in mind than distance from much of the city, along with the sense of humor prerequisite for a place of persistent urban legends—reiterated by beer labels, ice cream flavors, and comic books alike. Keep a close eye under the drawbridges and you might catch the Gowanus Dredgers, a conservancy-minded canoe club, taking paddlers on guided tours. Lately, the area's abundant loft space has proved magnetic for creative exploits: Gowanus boasts one of the most vibrant artist communities anywhere in New York City, and Gowanus Open Studios, held each fall, welcomes the public to view the work of hundreds who paint, draw, sculpt, and snap here. It’s also a craft beer epicenter, with nearly a half-dozen breweries—and even more taprooms—in just the few square blocks between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

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