Gowanus: An Adult Playground

Gowanus: An Adult Playground

Brooklyn's first Whole Foods is on the shores of the Gowanus Canal, an EPA-designated a Superfund Site. Gowanus is a neighborhood full of contradictions, and the locals love it that way. In a city where space is a commodity, this spacious nabe seems to have it in excess, offering up indoor arenas, splendid bath houses and massive restaurants. It seems like every day, creative entrepreneurs are opening someplace new. Throw on your Gowanus Swim Team T-shirt and get ready to play.


photo: @royalpalms

The Royal Palms is the shuffleboard extravaganza that you didn’t know you needed. Walk in to a mammoth 17,000 square foot warehouse, pay $40 for your lane and get ready to play. “They say shuffleboard takes 2 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master,” says their website. That means it’s the perfect game for a group of newbies who just want an activity while they drink their cocktails. Each new player will get a lesson from a Royal Palms staff member, and will be ready to start pushing biscuits in no time at all. The drink menu includes a seasonal beer list and cocktails including Mai Tais and Singapore Slings. If you’re hungry look for the rotating schedule of food trucks that change nightly. Keep in mind that no one under 21 is allowed in, even if it’s a baby sleeping in a stroller. Royal Palms, 514 Union St., Gowanus.

photo: @kickaxethrowing

If you’re the type of person that fluctuates between loving NYC and wishing you lived in the woods upstate, then you’ll be happy to know about the only indoor axe throwing facility. Kick Axe offers the chance to throw an axe across a room safely without cleaving open any major arteries. The “axeperts” will teach you and your crew the basics in about ten to fifteen minutes, and then you’ll compete with your friends under the supervision of someone who works there. It’s like darts, but with axes. This might be the closest you’ll get to the catharsis of rural life. It’s $35 per person for a 75-minute experience. Kick Axe, 622 Degraw St., Gowanus.

photo: @gothamarchery

If you want to quiet your inner mind while strengthening your eye hand coordination, there is no better place to do it than Brooklyn’s only full time archery arena, Gotham Archery. Anyone 10 years of age or older looking to conjure up their inner Katniss Everdeen, can take a 45-minute introductory class for $40 (or $35 if booked online) which includes instruction and equipment. Certified safety instructors are on hand to prevent injuries, and with 43 lanes in 7,500 square feet, there’s space to really let the arrows fly. After you hit your first bullseye, you’ll realize this may just be the new hobby that you’ve been looking for. Gotham Archery, 480 Baltic St., Gowanus.

photo: @citywellbrooklyn

Imagine if your basement apartment and backyard was transformed into an oasis complete with a steam, sauna and hot tub. At cityWell you can visualize just that, with every bit of a ground floor apartment renovated into a serene space and outdoor tranquil terrace. Inside there are treatment rooms for massage and scrubs, and a small steam room. But out in the yard, lies the quintessentially Brooklyn vibes, that customers return for. In a city where most don’t have a bathtub big enough (or clean enough) to sit in, here is a hot tub, a sauna and outdoor shower. With an online reservation system, you’ll never have to worry about the spa being crowded. Plus, unlike most pricy luxury spas, this one has community hours where for only $20, one can soak their stresses away without paying more than a light lunch. Advance reservations are a must. cityWell - 496 President St., Gowanus.



photo: @littleneck_nyc

The Gowanus dining scene is ripe with unique dining experiences. Insa (328 Douglass St.) provides some of the best karaoke and Korean food in the city. Rooms can be rented out for large groups or the song loving double date. The food can be ordered at the table or in the rooms and is delectable. Grilled pork belly, superior dumplings and noodles will fill your belly, while the creative cocktails will give you courage to sing your heart out. If you thought that Freek’s Mill (285 Nevins St.) has always been in the neighborhood, you would be half right. Paying homage to the original Freek’s Mill that sat on the banks of the Gowanus in the 1700s, this restaurant serves up small plates of vegetable heavy delights and craft cocktails. Runner & Stone (285 Third Ave.) is the quintessential neighborhood spot serving unbelievable baked goods and warming foods, like soups and tuna melts prepared by a Per Se alum. The name refers to the two stones (the runner and the base) that were used to grind grain in a traditional mill, and embodies their emphasis on quality baking. It might seem ironic to enjoy bottom feeder shellfish on the banks of one of the dirtiest canals in the country. Yet, Littleneck (288 Third Ave.) shucks oysters, mussels and clams as fresh as a New England seaside town. Lobster rolls, shrimp toasts or garlicky brandade are also on offer if you’re not in the mood for the Franklin Tower of raw fish. Oaxaca is one of the most innovative regions of Mexico with rich chocolate mole sauces, criollo corn and chapulines (grasshoppers.) Claro (284 Third Ave.) takes the cuisine and elevates it with organic meats, house made cheese and sausages, and hand-ground masa. Also of note: everything on the menu is gluten free. 


photo: @gowanussouvenirshop

Gowanus Souvenir Shop has done a great job of monetizing the irony of the Gowanus neighborhood. With their classic Gowanus Swim Team t-shirts, postcards, and “Gowanus is Superfun” hats, the store has the best of local talent creatively building on the vibe of the neighborhood. Inspired by the 2007 event of when a 15-foot minke whale got trapped in the canal, designer Chloë Beck created the Sludgie the Whale pin in her honor. But beyond the kitsch, the store sells beautiful handcrafted wares that makes it a go-to gift store for any occasion. Gowanus Souvenir Shop, 567 Union St., Gowanus. For a shopping experience akin to your favorite Pinterest pages, Knot + Bow offers curated party supplies and paper products with a modern touch. A “Birthday in a Bag” has everything you need for an impromptu festive celebration including balloons, candles, confetti, party horn and a card. Wrapping paper that is too pretty to tear open, charming blank notebooks and original cards are displayed in this tiny storefront. Now you just need a reason to celebrate. Knot and Bow, 253 3rd Avenue, Gowanus. Taking handcraft to another level, The Cut Brooklyn is a workshop and knife show open Wednesdays and Fridays. The care and attention that goes into making each individual knife one at a time is apparent, and each piece comes with a lifetime warranty. The knives have been an insider secret to the pros, but are perfect for the home chef as well. The Cut, 461 Third Avenue, Gowanus.

Brooklyn, We Gram Hard