Governor Pataki issued a $270,000 grant to create a revitalization plan in 2001 and then allocated $100,000 of capital funds in 2002 to implement a pilot project on the shoreline. In 2003, Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez allocated an additional $225,000 to create a comprehensive community development plan. With politicians making appearances at the canal, hopes were high for change.

In 2006, the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) declared the Gowanus Canal Historic District was eligible for the National and State Registers of Historic Places. The district’s potential archaeological locations include the sites of three tide mill complexes, at least four shipwrecks, two corridors of battle action from the Battle of Brooklyn during the Revolutionary War and two potential sites of soldier burials.

The Gowanus Canal was proposed for inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL) pursuant to the Superfund law at the request of NYSDEC in April 2009. The Environmental Protection Agency designated the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site on March 2, 2010.

All images are ©Mark D Phillips. Photos may be licensed and downloaded through our site.

Mark D Phillips' photographic collection documents his generational view of the Gowanus Canal from abandoned, industrial filth to the beginning of gentrification and the EPA's start to cleaning the Superfund site.

“I discovered the Gowanus Canal in 1989, an abandoned, desolate location in the heart of Brownstone Brooklyn. The more time I spent on its length, the more I came to love it,” said Phillips.

All images are ©Mark D Phillips. Photos may be licensed and downloaded through our site.