The Real Deal New York

Gowanus Canal houseboats draw attention from EPA

May 16, 2011 11:42AM

Waterfront residences are a costly perk in New York, but not for a group of houseboat dwellers along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The New York Post reported that the mostly “hipster 20-somethings” who live by the toxic waterway pay no rent for their homes, other than a fee to the city for the right to park along the docks. However, while the residents have avoided city regulation for some time, a recent Environmental Protection Agency study shows they have another obstacle to dodge: the water itself. The EPA, which organized a $500 million cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, found it to be a “cancer-causing cesspool” and warned boaters not to fall in. That’s the shortcoming in an otherwise enviable lifestyle, which the Post said includes late-night parties and sunbathing on decks. But with the publicity of the report comes concern that the residents could be forced elsewhere soon. One city official told the paper that the city wouldn’t allow houseboats on the Gowanus and could face fines. [Post]

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