Behind Closed Doors, Offbeat Businesses Thrive Along the Gowanus Canal


The latest study out on Gowanus finds industrial and commercial businesses thriving there, even if all the activity isn’t always visible from the street. Food, film, arts, and artisanal manufacturing are the most popular categories, said DNAinfo, which reported ob the study.

The report found more than 420 businesses located there, accounting for about 3,500 jobs. “Many of the businesses are almost invisible because they’re hidden inside unmarked buildings that can look derelict at first glance,” said DNAinfo. “But the quiet exteriors mask interiors humming with entrepreneurial activity.”

Unsurprisingly, food was a biggie with 41 businesses, but amazingly, there are 27 film-related businesses located in the area. Some of the more unusual manufacturers include a neon sign maker, a glass blower, a caster of metal sculptures, dozens of art studios, an antique instrument repair shop, a soap maker, and a clothing designer.

The research was conducted by Starr Whitehouse and funded by New York State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, which identifies opportunities in environmentally contaminated areas. Part of the research included a door-to-door survey.

The number of jobs in the area increased 83 percent between 2002 and 2011, the report said. The study also mentioned a 2006 rezoning, which allows hotels, gyms, restaurants, and nightclubs in the area, all of which are coming in and may make it harder for industrial businesses to thrive there, the report said.

Film, Food and Artisanal Businesses Quietly Thriving in Gowanus [DNAinfo]
Photo by quiggyt4

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