Neighborhoods

Must-See Gowanus

by Andrew Rosenberg, 01/28/2014

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  • Life on the Canal
    Contaminated soon after its mid-1800s construction as a drain for area marshlands and a conduit for commerce, the canal lengthened a creek that, according to Dutch settlers, held oysters the "size of dinner plates" that were "the best in the country." A few folks have dedicated themselves to bringing life­­—shellfish included—back to the canal and turning around its unsavory reputation. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club was founded in 1999 as an offshoot of a group that worked to repair the flushing pump for the canal, which was named a Superfund site in 2010. Coveting direct contact with the waters they've helped clean, the club takes canoes out for pleasure paddles and sunset skims; you can join them May through October. Daily memberships are available for Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons if you don't want to pay the annual fee; either way, a bit of experience is recommended. Besides exercise, a paddle around will give you an eye-opening perspective on your surroundings. They operate out of a riverbank container at the canal terminus of 2nd Street but are seeking a more permanent boathouse. 

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