The five buildings highlight Gowanus’ industrial past. On October 29, 2019, the Landmarks Preservation Committee unanimously voted to designate five buildings near the Gowanus Canal as individual landmarks. The five designated buildings are the Gowanus Flushing Tunnel Pumping Station and Gate House at 196 Butler Street, the Somers Brothers Tinware Factory (later American Can Company) at 238-246 3rd Street, Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT) Central Power Station Engine House at 153 2nd Street, Montauk Paint Manufacturing Company Building at 170 2nd Avenue and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Brooklyn Office, Shelter and Garage at 233 Butler Street.
Each building holds a connection to the Gowanus Canal’s long industrial history. These designations come in context of a potential Gowanus rezoning. Throughout the public hearing process, members of the public and the Landmarks Commissioners expressed pleasure at the extents of community outreach to not only preserve the area’s industrial history but also anticipate a continued use for the arts. To read Cityland’s prior coverage of the public hearing, click here. To read in detail about each building, read Cityland’s coverage of the calendaring here.
In a press release following the designation, Landmarks stated the designation of these buildings was part of a multi-agency effort to plan for Gowanus’ future. Landmarks credits working with City Planning, key stakeholders and the community for informing them during the planning process and for helping identify preservation opportunities in the neighborhood.
Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll stated that she was “thrilled the Commission voted to designate these five architecturally and historically significant buildings in Gowanus as individual landmarks. These buildings stand out in the neighborhood as tangible reminders of the rich history of the neighborhood and Gowanus Canal…Built between 1884 and 1813 for utilitarian purposes, for industry and manufacturing, these buildings are prominent within the neighborhood and have adapted over time in response to the changes in industrial activity and the neighborhood itself.”
Council Member Brad Lander, whose district contains the five landmarks, stated, “The buildings that the Landmark Preservation Commission voted to designate today are among the most striking examples of industrial development in Gowanus from a century ago. Landmarking these structures will help us retain and enhance the arts and industry that have long shaped this neighborhood.”
Historic Districts Council again enunciated that these designations are a great first step in preserving the historic Gowanus area.
By: Jason Rogovich (Jason Rogovich is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2019)