10 responses

  1. Stephen
    December 17, 2012

    Cool, I had no idea what was in Gowanus. Looks like a place to explore next time I visit Brooklyn.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      December 30, 2012

      Gowanus is definitely worth a visit– it’s interesting to see the transition from industrial zone to “up and coming” residential area.

      Reply

  2. Christian
    December 18, 2012

    Oh, this tour looks really fun! Great photo ops for sure.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      December 30, 2012

      Totally! Much of the tour was outside and we made several stops at different points at the canal. There were great photo ops 🙂

      Reply

  3. Bicultural Mama
    December 18, 2012

    Had no idea there were tours for Gowanus. Pretty cool!

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      December 30, 2012

      I know! Gowanus wasn’t really on my radar before the tour, but I’m glad I went. Now I know about the history of the area and the issues facing current residents. So informative!

      Reply

  4. Traveling Ted
    December 18, 2012

    Interesting parallels between the Gowanus Canal and the Chicago River. Our sewage system, I mean Chicago River also is pretty disgusting and they have changed the flowage a couple of times. Fortunately, it is getting better thanks to a mandate from the EPA.

    Sounds like an interesting tour. Very cool the dude followed up with email questions. Love the pic of you and Charu.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      December 30, 2012

      Wow- sounds like you have a similar situation in Chicago. I was totally impressed that the Gowanus tour guide, Dom, followed up with an email. He is a wealth of information and very happy to share his knowledge with participants 🙂

      Reply

  5. Dom Gervasi
    December 20, 2012

    The Gowanus Canal is a fascinating phenomenon especially if you go back to its origins as a creek. Since the Dutch, it has been an object of industry. Where they created mill ponds for grist mills, today we mix concrete there for NYC construction projects including the new World Trade Center. Some want it filled in and some would prefer that it serve as a place of recreation and as a view for waterfront property.

    The Gowanus originally flowed out to Gowanus Bay and NY Harbor (the surrounding elevated land forming a basin through which water flowed out). Then water was pulled through it and out to Buttermilk Channel. After several decades, the direction changed back in line with its natural flow. This back and forth flow doesn’t account for the complexities of our combined storm and sewage systems and the treatment of raw sewage flowing into it.

    There are five operational drawbridges that cross the Gowanus Canal and one bridge that serves as an overpass over what was a basin branching off the main canal. Basins act as small artificial harbors that, in this case, were meant for tug boats and barges. So, technically six bridges cross it.

    I am very curious about the potential for innovative solutions for recycling bio-solids and toxic waste. These are the kinds of waste materials that most of us would prefer to overlook and yet they are a grim reality. I haven’t seen serious proposals for filling in the canal and feel that this ought to be considered too. Essentially, the entire waterfront of Brooklyn has been dramatically transformed with landfill and there were certainly other bodies of water (like Coney Island Creek) that have been filled in. This is not to say that I’m for this – I’m just curious. Even if it’s filled the contaminated soil surrounding the canal is a whole other issue.

    Yours Truly,
    Dom, Made in Brooklyn Tours

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      December 30, 2012

      Hi Dom! Thanks for the additional info on Gowanus and for the informative tour. It was great seeing how the neighborhood is defined by and dealing with the Canal. Meeting the local artisans was a highlight of the tour!

      Reply

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