Love that dirty water: The Gowanus Canal’s Hamilton Avenue Bridge

Eye On Real Estate

March 23, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gritty urban vistas abound on the Gowanus Canal, like this one near the Hamilton Avenue Bridge. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Tainted Love.

That song by Soft Cell could serve as the sound track for a visit to the Gowanus Canal.

Just about everybody in Brooklym is enamored of the dangerously dirty waterway, and rightfully so.

Yes, yes, we know — it’s so famously filthy that it’s a federal Superfund cleanup site. Perversely, that’s part of the canal’s mystique.

If it weren’t so utterly polluted, we wouldn’t get to use expressions like “black mayonnaise” — which is what the ten-foot layer of coal tar, other industrial toxins and sewage at the bottom of the canal is called.

The poisonous waterway that wends its way through Gowanus (the neighborhood), Carroll Gardens and Red Hook down to Gowanus Bay offers vistas that are part urban decay, part upscale development and 100 percent mesmerizing.

And the five bridges that span the Gowanus Canal contribute to its picturesqueness.

The one with the biggest wow factor is, of course, the Carroll Street Bridge, which was built in 1888 and 1889, and is made of wooden planks. It has been an individual city landmark since 1987.

The other bridges are pretty great, too. We just photographed all five of them and some surrounding real estate so you can see for yourselves.

Here’s a look at the one that’s closest to Gowanus Bay, the Hamilton Avenue Bridge:

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The Hamilton Avenue Bridge shelters in the shadow of the elevated part of the Gowanus Expressway.

When we stand on one side of the bridge, we see green canal water flowing past the Gowanus Pathmark Supermarket parking lot and a cement plant.

From the other side of the bridge there’s a glimpse of Red Hook, where huge red barges are tied up in the canal behind a city Department of Sanitation asphalt plant.

And there’s an old-fashioned red-brick warehouse with a partially caved-in roof on the canal’s shoreline. City Buildings Department records indicate that in 2014, a Full Vacate Order was issued for  this building, whose address is 595 Smith St.

According to city Finance Department records, in 2007 two LLCs jointly purchased a package of four Smith Street buildings including this property for a total of $14.5 million.

One LLC’s address was the office of the Chetrit Group — a development firm that later co-purchased Brooklyn Heights’ Hotel Bossert. The other LLC’s address was in care of Crown Acquisitions, the Chera family’s firm, which owns important New York City retail properties.

In 2008 and 2009, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) reconstructed the Hamilton Avenue Bridge, which was originally built in 1942.

It’s a “bascule bridge” — a type of drawbridge — with two parallel leaves, one for the northbound roadway and one for the southbound roadway, according to a DOT fact sheet.



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