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These 5 Gowanus buildings are officially city landmarks

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Preservationists have pushed to protect the sites for years

The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company building locally known as The Batcave.
Max Touhey

Five Gowanus properties received coveted landmark status from the city Tuesday, after a campaign of advocacy from local preservationists.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously voted to protect the soon-to-be revitalized Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company building known as the Batcave, the Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel Pumping Station and Gate House, the Montauk Paint Manufacturing Company Building, the ASPCA Brooklyn Office, Shelter and Garage, and part of the former Somers Bros. Tinware Factory building. Each brick structure, built between 1884 and 1913, represents a striking example of the neighborhood’s legacy of industrial development, according to the commission.

“I think we’ve selected five really architecturally and historically significant standout properties in the area that reflect the history of the [neighborhood],” said LPC Chair Sarah Carroll during Tuesday’s votes.

The push to preserve the buildings, whose halls have hosted decades of neighborhood history, comes after years of advocacy by local groups including the Gowanus Landmarking Coalition, Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, and the Park Slope Civic Council. “These buildings represent and illustrate the Gowanus corridor’s authentic industrial past,” Linda Mariano, a co-founder of the landmarking coalition, said in a statement.

City Council member Brad Lander also urged the city to preserve neighborhood gems in advance of a city-led rezoning set to transform Gowanus into a hot bed of development.

“Landmarking these structures will help us to retain and enhance the arts and industry that have long shaped this neighborhood, one important element of our work together toward a more inclusive, sustainable, vibrant, and mixed-use future in Gowanus,” Lander said in a statement.

Tuesdays votes are undoubtedly a victory for preserving the neighborhood’s history, but more structures must be protected before the neighborhood rezoning advances, charge locals. LPC has pledged to continue its review of 29 suggested landmarks compiled by area preservationists, but the city panel has yet to signal if it is seriously eyeing any other sites in the neighborhood.

“It is our hope that many more historic buildings in Gowanus will be landmarked, as they are certainly worthy,” said Mariano.