Love that dirty water: The Gowanus Canal’s Ninth Street Bridge

Eye On Real Estate

March 23, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Well I Love That Dirty Water. (Remember the Standells' song?) Here's the Gowanus Canal seen from the Ninth Street 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 Brooklyn is enamored of the dangerously dirty waterway, and rightfully so.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

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 Ninth Street Bridge, which is near the Smith-Ninth Streets subway station:

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When we stand on the Ninth Street Bridge in Gowanus, we get a look at stunning Downtown Brooklyn towers both new (like AVA DoBro) and old (the landmarked former Williamsburgh Savings Bank), on the horizon just beyond the waters of the canal.

Closer at hand, on the Gowanus Canal’s shoreline, there’s an eye-catching complex of workshops, painted bright red, that includes the New York Art Foundry.

When we stand in the workshops’ parking lot, we notice a reflection in the canal waters of a colorful mural by artist Ruth Hofheimer, which is on the opposite shoreline at the end of Huntington Street.  

The Ninth Street Bridge, built in the second half of the 1990s, is a “vertical lift bridge,” a city Department of Transportation fact sheet about the Gowanus Canal’s bridges indicates. That means it is raised vertically to allow boats to pass beneath it. The new span was a replacement for a deteriorating bridge that had been built in 1903.

A plaque commemorating the new bridge’s construction has the year 2000 as its date.



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