Gowanus, Long Island
Gowanus is a neighborhood located in the borough of Brooklyn, Long Island, New York. It is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6. Gowanus is situated between Red Hook and Caroll Gardens which bounded by Butler Street to the north, the neighborhood extends alongside and surrounds the Gowanus Canal, ending with the Gowanus Expressway to the south. Smith and Bond Street are usually considered the western boundaries, with Fourth Avenue as the eastern boundary. Individuals, families and entire communities get compressed under the juggernaut of persistent change. Much value is unseen, lost and beyond as the bright lights and glitter of the future mesmerizes the jackdaw that resides in every individual.
Gowanus Bay was the place of the first settlement by Dutch farmers in what is now Brooklyn in 1636. The area’s former and merged names include Gashouse District. In 1776, American troops retreating from the British during the Battle of Brooklyn, crossed the Gowanus Creek, located in Gowanus. The Gowanus area has been an active center of industrial activity since the 1870’s. After World War II, the neighborhood went out of fashion in terms of their shipping at the port of Red Hook and the job market in general began to decline. Major infrastructural projects in the neighborhood isolated Gowanus from families and homes that would earlier bring much of their custom here. The town was unable to react to the new environment and a degree of decay was predictable. There came a time when Gowanus lost much of its glory and became a deep hole of scarcity, unemployment, and desolation. However, during 1980’s and 1990’s, there are several larger buildings were successfully modified for smaller, industrial and creative users, which by the year 2000 was the largest growing segment within the industrial sector.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the neighborhood was largely home to immigrants, then arriving from Ireland, Italy, and Germany. The development of Gowanus Canal has been the fulcrum of the town's progress and growth. Shipping was very significant in the early part of the 20th century and the Canal brought heavy industries to the neighborhood. The factories created jobs and in turn, demand for housing and urban amenities. In fact, it also led to giving Gowanus an international character as people from all over Europe and some other parts of Asia poured in to the town in search of careers and for outlets for their skill sets. On the other hand, the Gowanus Canal is allegedly consider as Mafia dumping ground but there are currently several public and private sponsored programs now in development aiming to remediate the land around the canal as well as the canal itself. Housing projects including Wycoff Gardens and Gowanus Houses are the sites where majority of the neighborhood resident’s live, residential zoning is found near the eastern and western borders. These areas consist of mostly frame housing in contrast to the brownstone homes found in neighboring Park Slope but there are still few residents of Gowanus tend to say they live in the other neighborhoods that border it.