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Once rumored to be flammable and harbor three-eyed fish, the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn has cleaned up considerably over the past few years. What would have been unthinkable just five years ago may now be one of the most bucolic experiences one can have in Brooklyn. Since relatively few people have been clued into the feasibility of canoeing the Gowanus Canal, it’s something you can do in relative solitude. Here are five reasons you might consider canoeing the Gowanus Canal.

1. The Canal is Kind of Beautiful

The Gowanus Canal is not what you hear it is. It no longer reeks of refuse, and it offers a wealth   of stunning reflections of the beautiful neighborhood surrounding it. Spending a couple of hours in a canoe may not make the canal your favorite body of water, but it’s likely to help you develop some sort of appreciation for it.

2. Canoeing the Gowanus Canal is Free

Theoretically, you could take your own canoe out on the Gowanus Canal and still call it free. But the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club lends canoes to visitors at no cost, making canoeing the canal a rare free activity of its kind in New York.

3. It’s a Gateway to the New York Harbor

Home to Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, and the Statue of Liberty, the New York Harbor is a destination on most New York visitors’ to-see lists. Kill two birds with one stone by canoeing the short distance from the 2nd Street launch site to the New York Harbor and admiring the Statue of Liberty from your canoe.

4. Canoeing the Gowanus Canal is a Fun Workout

Canoeing the Gowanus Canal is like taking an active, self-guided tour. If you decide to indulge in Brooklyn pizza or a rich pastry following your time on the canoe, you’ll feel like you earned it.

5. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club is Awesome

Responsible for much of the Gowanus Canal’s cleanup and intent on further revitalization, the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club is committed to making the canal a source of joy and pleasure for canoers. By canoeing and sharing your experience, you can help the club raise awareness for its cause.

The Gowanus Canal is just a mile from NU Hotel Brooklyn. If you’re interested in escaping the hustle and bustle for a peaceful workout, drop by the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club’s launch site between 1pm and 5pm on a Saturday. Canoes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

image @365bondst