7. American Soldiers Would Bathe Naked in the Gowanus Canal

Gowanus Canal-Secrets-History-Kayaing-Industrial-Superfund Site-NYC-001Kayakers in the Gowanus Canal

As noted in an orderly book from a American colonel, Gowanus inhabitants complained in 1776 of naked soldiers, swimming in the Gowanus Creek “in the open View of the Women.” They didn’t bother to reclothe en route to their tents, “with a design to insult & wound the Modesty of Female Decency.” The soldiers in Brooklyn, which in 1776 were the most concentrated of the Continental Army, were also known to raid the oyster beds of the locals. Even today, New Yorkers kayak the Gowanus Canal as well as attempt swims.