Dutch farmers settled Gowanus Bay in Brooklyn in 1636. The creeks and ponds of the Gowanus meadowlands were used to drive gristmills by the early settlers. During the Revolutionary War the area was the scene of fight during the Battle of Long Island. 

In the 1840s the City of Brooklyn decided to convert Gowanus Creek into a canal to serve as a transportation system to promote commerce and business growth in Brooklyn. Construction began in 1849 and was completed in 1869. The canal attracted foundries, shipyards, ink, paint, coal yards and manufacturing plants.

By 1870 the surrounding estuary and freshwater streams had been completely industrialized. Waste from these industries was discharged directly into the canal and adjacent waters. After WWII the decline of manufacturing around New York City prompted many industries based in the area to leave.

In recent years, the residential housing market in Brooklyn has heated up. Developers have been trying to get industrial zoning for the area changed to accommodate more housing. 

Community Bookstore is about a mile west of Gowanus Brooklyn. 6 minutes by car, 5 by bike or 17+ minutes by bus if you combine it with a short walk. If you want a pleasant walk, you’re just 19 minutes away.  We are located at 143 7th Ave. Brooklyn NY

Community Bookstore has been serving Brooklyn since 1971. It is many things to many people. A bookstore, yes, but also a community gathering place and cultural refuge. Our store is notable for a considered selection of new books, for our garden, and for our animals (one cat and one turtle, at present).

In 2013, we took over another neighborhood bookshop, renamed it Terrace Books, and stocked it with a mix of new, collectible and curated used books. But no cat. Community Bookstore’s Tiny, so famous he’s on the cover of a bestseller in Japan, refuses to share the spotlight!

Directions from Gowanus to Community Bookstore

Gowanus Map

Zip codes in Gowanus include 11231
(Click map to enlarge or obtain directions)