The graffiti-covered and abandoned MTA powerhouse known as the Gowanus Batcave is finally being cleaned out by the state, First and Court reported. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a remediation plan for the site, which housed factories for Nassau Sulfur Works and Smith and Shaw Mattress Materials and Paper Stock beginning in 1886.
Brooklyn Rapid Transit acquired the property to use as a powerhouse in 1904, and “under their ownership, it appears that coal was delivered by water and transported beneath the site via coal tunnel,” the state notes. It was later owned by the Williamsburg Power Plant Corp. and then the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which used it as an electrical substation and switching yard until 1996.
Plans include removing “grossly contaminated soil” and any soil that contains high levels of PCBs. The public comment period for the plan will last 45 days, from January 3 until February 17. Owner Joshua Rechnitz has said he wants to build art galleries and studio spaces on the site.