The Gowanus Canal - North

Butler Street

The "headwaters" of the Gowanus Canal are a pumping station built in 1911 to pump seawater through a tunnel that brings water from Buttermilk Channel in upper New York Bay to the west and creates a waterflow out of the canal into Gowanus Bay. The facility features a single 7-foot-diameter propeller driven by a 600 horsepower (500 kW) electric motor that can move 200 million gallons of water per day.

Gowanus Canal Pumping Station (Butler St side)
11/19/2008 02:59 PM
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station (Butler St side)
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station
11/19/2008 02:56 PM
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station
11/19/2008 02:56 PM
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station
Looking south at the Gowanus Canal from the pumping station
11/19/2008 02:57 PM
Looking south at the Gowanus Canal from the pumping station
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station (Douglass St side)
11/19/2008 03:02 PM
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station (Douglass St side)
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station
11/19/2008 03:03 PM
Gowanus Canal Pumping Station
Swirling water from the pumping station
11/19/2008 03:03 PM
Swirling water from the pumping station

Across the street from the pumping station is the Brooklyn chapter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Note the unused horse trough in front of the building "Presented to the ASPCA by Edith Bowdoin 1913" that is similar to a pair of troughs she placed in Central Park and Flushing.

Brooklyn ASPCA - 233 Butler St
11/19/2008 02:57 PM
Brooklyn ASPCA - 233 Butler St
Brooklyn ASPCA
11/19/2008 02:58 PM
Brooklyn ASPCA
Bowdoin horse trough
11/19/2008 02:57 PM
Bowdoin horse trough
Brooklyn ASPCA (Rogers Memorial)
11/19/2008 02:58 PM
Brooklyn ASPCA (Rogers Memorial)

Just to the northeast of the pumping station is Wyckoff Gardens, a 527-unit NYC housing authority development that opened on December 31, 1966.

Wyckoff Gardens - Baltic at Nevins St
11/19/2008 02:07 PM
Wyckoff Gardens - Baltic at Nevins St
Wyckoff Gardens
11/19/2008 02:07 PM
Wyckoff Gardens
Wyckoff Gardens
11/19/2008 02:07 PM
Wyckoff Gardens

Douglass Street

Douglass St dead end into gate at Gowanus Canal
11/19/2008 03:03 PM
Douglass St dead end into gate at Gowanus Canal
Douglass St
11/19/2008 03:04 PM
Douglass St
Various states of row houses on Douglass St
11/19/2008 03:11 PM
Various states of row houses on Douglass St
Round tower south of Carroll St
11/19/2008 03:12 PM
Round tower south of Carroll St
Live lobster trucks - Nevins at Baltic Sts
11/19/2008 02:08 PM
Live lobster trucks - Nevins at Baltic Sts
Live lobster trucks
11/19/2008 02:09 PM
Live lobster trucks
Live lobster trucks
11/19/2008 02:09 PM
Live lobster trucks
Scranton Lehigh Coal Co - Nevins at Douglass St
11/19/2008 02:11 PM
Scranton Lehigh Coal Co - Nevins at Douglass St
Nevins St north of Douglass
11/19/2008 02:11 PM
Nevins St north of Douglass
Thomas Greene Playground
11/19/2008 02:11 PM
Thomas Greene Playground
Gowanus Houses looming in the distance
11/19/2008 02:12 PM
Gowanus Houses looming in the distance
C-Town and old residential building - Bond at Douglass Sts
11/19/2008 02:54 PM
C-Town and old residential building - Bond at Douglass Sts
Old row house on Douglass St
11/19/2008 02:56 PM
Old row house on Douglass St

Degraw Street

Gowanus Canal looking north from east bank at Degraw St
11/19/2008 02:14 PM
Gowanus Canal looking north from east bank at Degraw St
Dead convertible - Custom Auto Upholstery - Degraw St
11/19/2008 02:14 PM
Dead convertible - Custom Auto Upholstery - Degraw St
Gowanus Canal looking south from east bank at Degraw St
11/19/2008 02:14 PM
Gowanus Canal looking south from east bank at Degraw St
Birdhouses on east bank at Degraw St
11/19/2008 02:15 PM
Birdhouses on east bank at Degraw St
All City Storage - Bond at Degraw Sts
11/19/2008 02:53 PM
All City Storage - Bond at Degraw Sts
All City Storage
11/19/2008 02:53 PM
All City Storage
All City Storage
11/19/2008 02:54 PM
All City Storage
Degraw Street dead end into the west bank of the Gowanus Canal
11/19/2008 02:53 PM
Degraw Street dead end into the west bank of the Gowanus Canal

Sackett Street

Sergio Allegretti began a coal and ice company in 1937 that later branched out into distribution of heating oil as the Bayside Fuel Oil Corp. His sons Victor Allegretti and Alfred Alfredo Allegretti (1935-2001) later took over the family business, which became Bayside Fuel Oil Depot Corporation and opened this oil terminal on the west bank of the Gowanus Canal between Sackett and Union Streets in 1865. Allegretti hated the delays caused by tides and shipping, but stayed at the location because of its proximity to customers. In 1984, the company acquired a second depot at Shore Parkway and moved its headquarters there. In 1996 and 1997 they acquired the Smith Street (further south on the canal), Grand Street and North 12th Street terminals. In January of 2008, the NY Post reported that the company was exploring options for joining the gentrification of the area by cleaning up the Sackett St. site and building glass residential towers for the wealthy and powerful.

The floating boom across the canal just north of the Fuel Oil Depot is there to catch floating garbage that flows into the canal from storm overflow drains.

1960's era Gulf Oil sign - Bayside Fuel Oil Depot
11/19/2008 02:26 PM
1960's era Gulf Oil sign - Bayside Fuel Oil Depot
Looking north up the Gowanus Canal from the Union St. Bridge
11/19/2008 02:26 PM
Looking north up the Gowanus Canal from the Union St. Bridge
Bayside Fuel Oil Depot
11/19/2008 02:27 PM
Bayside Fuel Oil Depot
Bayside Accurate Meter Corp. - Bond at Sackett Sts
11/19/2008 02:52 PM
Bayside Accurate Meter Corp. - Bond at Sackett Sts
Nevins St north of Sackett
11/19/2008 02:17 PM
Nevins St north of Sackett
Artists in Residence - 280 Nevins
11/19/2008 02:18 PM
Artists in Residence - 280 Nevins
Alley off Nevins St
11/19/2008 02:18 PM
Alley off Nevins St
Proteus Gowanus - gallery and reading room - 543 Union St
11/19/2008 02:20 PM
Proteus Gowanus - gallery and reading room - 543 Union St
National Packing Box Factory (artist lofts?) - Union @ Nevins
11/19/2008 02:21 PM
National Packing Box Factory (artist lofts?) - Union @ Nevins

Union Street

The Union Street Bridge (NYC BIN #2240270) is a double-leaf Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge that opened in 1904. The bridge carries two 17-foot-wide eastbound landes and two six-foot-wide sidewalks over the Gowanus Canal. It replaced a narrow 17-foot-wide pipe truss swing bridge and was built under the same contract with the replacement Third and Ninth Street Bridges.

Looking west toward the Union St. Bridge
11/19/2008 02:22 PM
Looking west toward the Union St. Bridge
Union St Bridge deck viewed from the southeast
11/19/2008 02:23 PM
Union St Bridge deck viewed from the southeast
Union St Bridge viewed from the south
11/19/2008 02:32 PM
Union St Bridge viewed from the south
Maritime themed flagpole - Union at Nevins St
11/19/2008 02:28 PM
Maritime themed flagpole - Union at Nevins St
Green building - Bond at Union Sts
11/19/2008 02:50 PM
Green building - Bond at Union Sts
Green building
11/19/2008 02:50 PM
Green building
Residential building - Bond at Union Sts
11/19/2008 02:51 PM
Residential building - Bond at Union Sts
Bond St north of Union
11/19/2008 02:51 PM
Bond St north of Union
Bond St north of Union
11/19/2008 02:51 PM
Bond St north of Union

President Street

Crusader Candle - Nevins at President St
11/19/2008 02:29 PM
Crusader Candle - Nevins at President St
Old row houses off Carroll St at Nevins
11/19/2008 02:30 PM
Old row houses off Carroll St at Nevins
Gallagher and Company - 426 President at Bond
11/19/2008 02:49 PM
Gallagher and Company - 426 President at Bond

The Satori Condos at 340 Bond (btw President and Carroll Sts) are a pleasant example of about the best you can expect from gentrification. Tastefully in context with the other low-rise historic buildings in the neighborhood, it is more than can be expected from the steroidal luxury glass towers that will probably rise along the canal at some point.

Satori Condos
11/19/2008 02:40 PM
Satori Condos
Satori Condos
11/19/2008 02:48 PM
Satori Condos
Satori Condos
11/19/2008 02:48 PM
Satori Condos

Carroll Street Bridge

The Carroll Street Bridge (NYC BIN #2240260) opened in 1889 and is a very rare example of a retractile drawbridge in which the main span is slid back on rails diagonally to clear passage through the canal. It is also notable as a rare surviving example of a kingpost truss - in this case constructed with plate girders. The bridge was designed by engineers at the Brooklyn Department of Public Works and built by the New Jersey Steel and Iron Company (Trenton Iron Works), a subsidiary of the firm of Cooper, Hewitt and Co. The bridge is trapezoidal in shape with a 17-foot roadway and 4-foot sidewalks. The span is 63 feet with a total bridge length of 107 feet. The channel it clears is 38 feet wide.

Carroll St Bridge deck - viewed from the northeast
11/19/2008 02:31 PM
Carroll St Bridge deck - viewed from the northeast
Carroll St Bridge - viewed from the southeast
11/19/2008 02:31 PM
Carroll St Bridge - viewed from the southeast
Carroll St Bridge - viewed from the southeast
11/19/2008 02:31 PM
Carroll St Bridge - viewed from the southeast
Carroll St Bridge east approach cobblestones
11/19/2008 02:32 PM
Carroll St Bridge east approach cobblestones
Carroll St Bridge deck - viewed from the southwest
11/19/2008 02:33 PM
Carroll St Bridge deck - viewed from the southwest
NY Landmarks Preservation historic sign
11/19/2008 02:33 PM
NY Landmarks Preservation historic sign
Deck viewed from the west
11/19/2008 02:33 PM
Deck viewed from the west
Retraction cable and pulleys
11/19/2008 02:34 PM
Retraction cable and pulleys
Retraction rails
11/19/2008 02:34 PM
Retraction rails
Kingpost truss
11/19/2008 02:34 PM
Kingpost truss
Replica walking speed warning sign
11/19/2008 02:34 PM
Replica walking speed warning sign
Southern kingpost
11/19/2008 02:35 PM
Southern kingpost
Northern kingpost
11/19/2008 02:35 PM
Northern kingpost
Gowanus canal looking south from the Carroll St Bridge
11/19/2008 02:35 PM
Gowanus canal looking south from the Carroll St Bridge
Northern wooden gate on east side
11/19/2008 02:35 PM
Northern wooden gate on east side
Southern wooden gate on east side
11/19/2008 02:35 PM
Southern wooden gate on east side
East approach to Carroll St Bridge viewed from the south at 1st St
11/19/2008 02:45 PM
East approach to Carroll St Bridge viewed from the south at 1st St
Storm sewer overflow drain to the southeast of the bridge
11/19/2008 02:35 PM
Storm sewer overflow drain to the southeast of the bridge
Boats docked  on the west bank between Carroll and Union Sts
11/19/2008 02:36 PM
Boats docked on the west bank between Carroll and Union Sts
West approach and attendant house for the Carroll St Bridge
11/19/2008 02:39 PM
West approach and attendant house for the Carroll St Bridge

First / Second Streets

Toll Brothers proposed a 450-unit luxury housing development that would sit on the two blocks bounded by Carroll Street on the north, Second Street on the south, Bond Street on the west and the canal on the east. More info on the controversies surrounding this development and the associated rezoning efforts are available from:

Looking north on Bond St from 1st St
11/19/2008 02:41 PM
Looking north on Bond St from 1st St
1st St dead end into the west bank of the Gowanus Canal
11/19/2008 02:41 PM
1st St dead end into the west bank of the Gowanus Canal
1st St west of the Gowanus Canal
11/19/2008 02:41 PM
1st St west of the Gowanus Canal
1st St west of the Gowanus Canal
11/19/2008 02:42 PM
1st St west of the Gowanus Canal

The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club have a canoe dock on the west bank of the canal at Second St.

2nd St Canoe launch
11/19/2008 03:13 PM
2nd St Canoe launch
2nd St Canoe launch
11/19/2008 03:13 PM
2nd St Canoe launch
2nd St Canoe launch
11/19/2008 03:13 PM
2nd St Canoe launch
The bend in the canal between 1st and Caroll Sts
11/19/2008 03:14 PM
The bend in the canal between 1st and Caroll Sts
Water at the canoe launch
11/19/2008 03:14 PM
Water at the canoe launch
Planter at the canoe launch
11/19/2008 03:15 PM
Planter at the canoe launch

The east bank of the canal between 2nd/3rd Sts is home to a majestic abandoned power plant, complete with some colorful commentary on development plans for the neighborhood. Immediately to the east of it is a former subway power substation at 340 3rd Ave which was the printing plant for the Jewish Press.

Power plant - 2nd Ave east of the canal
11/19/2008 02:43 PM
Power plant - 2nd Ave east of the canal
Power plant
11/19/2008 03:14 PM
Power plant
Power plant
11/19/2008 03:23 PM
Power plant
Power plant
12/18/2008 02:37 PM
Power plant
Power plant
12/18/2008 02:38 PM
Power plant
340 3rd Ave
12/18/2008 02:38 PM
340 3rd Ave
340 3rd Ave
12/18/2008 02:38 PM
340 3rd Ave
340 3rd Ave with old power plant to the west
12/18/2008 02:40 PM
340 3rd Ave with old power plant to the west

Third / Fourth Streets

The Third Street Bridge (NYC BIN #2240250) is a double-leaf Scherzer rolling lift bascule drawbridge that carries two 16-foot-wide traffic lanes of Third Street and two 6-foot-wide sidewalks over the Gowanus Canal. It opened in 1905 (built on the same contract as the Union and Ninth St bridges) and was extensively rehabilitated in 1986.

The Third St Bridge viewed from the northwest
11/19/2008 03:14 PM
The Third St Bridge viewed from the northwest
Third St Bridge viewed from the west
11/19/2008 03:19 PM
Third St Bridge viewed from the west
Third St Bridge
11/19/2008 03:20 PM
Third St Bridge
South side of Third St Bridge
11/19/2008 03:20 PM
South side of Third St Bridge
Southwest mechanism of Third St Bridge
11/19/2008 03:22 PM
Southwest mechanism of Third St Bridge
Third St Bridge viewed from the west
11/19/2008 03:23 PM
Third St Bridge viewed from the west
Walkup on Bond at Third St
11/19/2008 03:18 PM
Walkup on Bond at Third St
Foro Marble - 140 3rd St
11/19/2008 03:19 PM
Foro Marble - 140 3rd St
Foro Marble 140 3rd St
11/19/2008 03:22 PM
Foro Marble 140 3rd St
Looking north at the Gowanus Canal from the Third St Bridge
11/19/2008 03:23 PM
Looking north at the Gowanus Canal from the Third St Bridge
Looking south at the Gowanus Canal from the Third St Bridge
11/19/2008 03:24 PM
Looking south at the Gowanus Canal from the Third St Bridge
Truck alley off 3rd St east of 3rd Ave
12/18/2008 02:33 PM
Truck alley off 3rd St east of 3rd Ave
Warehouse on 4th St
11/19/2008 03:32 PM
Warehouse on 4th St
Where toilet paper comes from
11/19/2008 03:32 PM
Where toilet paper comes from
Brooklyn Fencing Center - 62 4th St
11/19/2008 03:33 PM
Brooklyn Fencing Center - 62 4th St
Warehouse on 4th St
11/19/2008 03:34 PM
Warehouse on 4th St
Kabir's Bakery - 19 4th St
11/19/2008 03:36 PM
Kabir's Bakery - 19 4th St
Smith at 5th St
11/19/2008 03:37 PM
Smith at 5th St

This Italianate building on the southwest corner of 3rd Ave and 3rd St was the headquarters of Edwin Litchfield's Brooklyn Improvement Company, which created the four basins off the canal between 4th and 8th street. The surrounding property to the south and west was cleared in 2007 for a Whole Foods store and possible residential development.

View from the northeast
12/18/2008 02:33 PM
View from the northeast
Bricked-in doorway on the north side
12/18/2008 02:35 PM
Bricked-in doorway on the north side
View from the southeast
12/18/2008 02:36 PM
View from the southeast
View from the southeast
12/18/2008 02:36 PM
View from the southeast
View from the east
12/18/2008 02:36 PM
View from the east

Just south of Third St, the canal curves to the west with the Fourth Street Basin extending to the east.

Fourth Street Basin
11/19/2008 03:25 PM
Fourth Street Basin
Fourth Street Basin
11/19/2008 03:29 PM
Fourth Street Basin
Warehouse - Bond at 4th St
11/19/2008 03:28 PM
Warehouse - Bond at 4th St
The Gowanus Canal curving to the west around 4th St
11/19/2008 03:29 PM
The Gowanus Canal curving to the west around 4th St
Cleared lot north of 4th St basin - Whole Foods site
12/18/2008 02:42 PM
Cleared lot north of 4th St basin - Whole Foods site
Cleared lot north of 4th St basin
12/18/2008 02:43 PM
Cleared lot north of 4th St basin
Cleared lot north of 4th St basin
12/18/2008 02:42 PM
Cleared lot north of 4th St basin
4th St basin
12/18/2008 02:42 PM
4th St basin
Dykes Lumber south of 4th St basin
12/18/2008 02:43 PM
Dykes Lumber south of 4th St basin
4th St basin
12/18/2008 02:43 PM
4th St basin

A short channel used to pass from the 4th St basin under a bridge on 3rd Ave to a basin east of 3rd Ave that was called the 5th St Basin. The basin was filled in sometime between 1953 and 1965. However, the bridge (NYC BIN 2240310), originally built in 1889 and extensively rebuilt 2007-2008, was left in place.

3rd Ave bridge - western walkway
12/18/2008 02:43 PM
3rd Ave bridge - western walkway
Warehouse on 3rd Ave north of old 5th St Basin (American Can Company?)
12/18/2008 02:44 PM
Warehouse on 3rd Ave north of old 5th St Basin (American Can Company?)
Loose fill in 5th St Basin on the east side of the 3rd Ave bridge
12/18/2008 02:45 PM
Loose fill in 5th St Basin on the east side of the 3rd Ave bridge