12. One of the Earliest Known Concrete Buildings in New York City is on the Gowanus

Before the Whole Foods in Gowanus was built, a handsome building stood alone, left over from the concrete industry that came before. The Coignet building was the showcase for a new material, now known as concrete that took the building industry by storm, starting with the 1867 Exposition Universelle de Paris. Industrialists in America started the Coignet Stone Company and created the Coignet building as both office and a “flagship prototype,” writes Alexiou in Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal.

What’s just as interesting is that this imitation sandstone has been incorporated not only in residential and commercial buildings in New York City, but also in its most renown landmarks. Alexiou sites the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleft Ridge Span in Prospect Park and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral as some of the most notable.

Next, read about the many secrets of Prospect Park.

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