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The Gowanus Canal runs through the heart of its namesake neighborhood. Once a gritty industrial area, Gowanus' former warehouses now house trendy music venues and coveted loft apartments. One-of-a-kind shops and bars line 3rd Avenue, and the neighborhood is home to everything from a shuffleboard club to a Whole Foods. Tucked in between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, Gowanus is a scrappy upstart forging a new identity. Its canal is in the process of revitalization, with new developments and green spaces slated for its once-industrial banks. The area is well-connected via the New York subway system, with the D, F, G, and R trains all stopping along 4th Avenue.

Gowanus real estate

Brooklyn Boulders entrance on Degraw St. in Gowanus” style=

From elegant brick townhouses to converted warehouse condos, Gowanus real estate runs the gamut of styles. An exciting period of regeneration is taking place alongside the Gowanus Canal, with plans in the works for a large mixed-use building and new park space. Many of the area's industrial warehouses are now attractive condos. These appeal to many types of buyers, with their floor-to-ceiling windows and lofty ceilings. Gowanus homes for sale include traditional wood-framed houses, complete with ornate wrought-iron railings, sprawling stoops, and sizable backyard space.  

Gowanus history

Brooklyn Fencing Center on Degraw St. in Gowanus” style=

Up until the mid-19th century, pastoral countryside, mills and farms surrounded the Gowanus Creek, and it was well known to Dutch settlers for its dinner plate-sized oysters. As the City of Brooklyn grew, officials converted it into a canal to promote local commerce. The Gowanus Canal grew from the base of the Gowanus Creek, with new bulkheads built up. Coal yards, shipyards, foundries, and other manufacturing powerhouses arrived in the area. The waterfront's industrial landscape consisted of mostly of factories. City planners designed the Flushing Tunnel to help clear the waterway, which didn't have a natural flushing action of its own.

More recently, intensive cleaning efforts have helped to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood into the desirable area it's become. Local groups like the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club show how far the canal has come, by canoeing in the water they've helped to clean.

Gowanus restaurants

Some Ample Hills Creamery on Union St. and Nevins St. in Gowanus” style=

Third Avenue is Gowanus' restaurant row, with its smattering of locavore cafes and old-fashioned Italian restaurants. Monte's and Two Toms are Italian eateries that have been in the neighborhood for generations, serving traditional brick-oven pizzas and slowly simmered red sauce. Bar Tano is another atmospheric Italian bistro. Its customers enjoy fig jam, gorgonzola, and prosciutto paninis under a stylish pressed tin ceiling.

Littleneck draws food-lovers from far and wide for its New England-style seafood menu and decor. The raw bar is the star of the show here. Visitors have their choice of namesake littleneck clams, oysters, and elegantly chilled lobster. Hot dishes are similarly tempting, such as Portuguese stew with chorizo or clams steamed with garlic and Narragansett beer. Runner & Stone sits just across the street, perfuming the air with the scent of flaky croissants and freshly baked pretzels.

Gowanus attractions

Pig Beach on Union St. in Gowanus” style=

The Morbid Anatomy Museum on Third Avenue draws the eye immediately to its black-painted exterior. Inside, you'll find a curious library of taxidermy and death-themed folk art. The permanent collection includes uncanny artworks and memorial montages. If you're inspired to create work of your own, insect shadowbox and mouse taxidermy workshops take place.  

Immerse yourself in Gowanus' thriving art scene by visiting its various galleries like Gowanus Loft, Trestle Gallery, and Site:Brooklyn. Hundreds of working artists throw open their doors once a year for the Annual Gowanus Open Studios event. Visitors can learn more about their processes and view works in progress.

Gowanus nightlife

There's a quirky selection of entertainment in Gowanus. One of the most talked-about nightspots is the Royal Palms, a Miami-styled country club with shuffleboard courts, bars, bingo, and a rotating food truck. Third Avenue features a row of cozy, low-key bars and pubs. Halyards hosts TV-themed events, live music, and trivia nights where you can mingle with neighbors over a round of Sazerac cocktails. Another local watering hole is Canal Bar, a welcoming dive with free popcorn and a pet-friendly policy.

Gowanus shopping

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que entrance on Union St. in Gowanus” style=

Many shops in Gowanus subscribe to the DIY ethic, giving residents a fiercely independent and innovative retail scene. For example, Big Reuse Brooklyn offers salvaged and surplus building materials, furniture and appliances just perfect for your next upcycling project. FIND home furnishings overlooks the canal. This unique shop is the go-to destination for Brooklynites in search of cut bell jar lighting fixtures or an antique Louis Philippe-style chest of drawers. You'll find everything you need to craft your own terrarium at Twig. This fresh burst of greenery in Gowanus' industrial landscape offers whimsical moss sculptures, delicate bonsai trees, and glass containers to house your next project.  

Brooklyn's first Whole Foods supermarket opened to much fanfare in 2013, but a host of specialist food shops and bakeries line Third and Fourth avenues. The neighborhood even has its very own pie shop, Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Seasonally influenced fillings burst with fresh fruit in the summer and you can try warming flavors like brown butter pumpkin and bittersweet chocolate pecan when the temperature starts to drop.

Gowanus events

Art galleries and performance spaces make Gowanus an ahead-of-the-curve cultural destination. The Bell House sits in one of Gowanus' industrial warehouse spaces, bringing big-name musical artists and comedians to the neighborhood. This sizeable venue hosts rock-and-rollers in its cavernous indoor event space, but also offers a tranquil sidewalk seating area, regular dance parties and poetry slams. Another lively event space is Littlefield, also located in a former warehouse. The conversion is sustainably designed, transforming a 1920s textile warehouse with materials like recycled rubber tires, cork and salvaged bowling alley lanes. Comedy nights, art shows, and diverse musical performances fill out its events calendar.

Clam Bar on the Canal!

"Be sure to visit Littleneck, the only place in Brooklyn where you can get New England style fried Ipswich clam rolls. Lots of raw bar and other seafood, too."
James Cornell
James                Cornell

What's In The Area: Gowanus

Driving Walking

Local tips and information for going out in the Gowanus from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.

All Gowanus tips




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