7. The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Powerhouse, 322 3rd Avenue, 1902

The BRT Powerhouse in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Known by many as “The Bat Cave”, this massive 8-story building overlooking the canal was once a powerhouse for the equally massive Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT), and during the 1900s the building burned coal in order to supply electricity to the steam railroads, elevated railroads and streetcars of Brooklyn. During the early 2000s, the abandoned building became home to a community of squatters and acquired its name, “Bat Cave”. The original Romanesque Revival design of the building can still be seen in its red brick and bluestone trimmings.

Fortunately, this site is not at risk of demolition or long-term neglect anymore. The site was acquired in 2012 by the Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation, a nonprofit that runs an art and arts fabrication center. The project is designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. The building was designated an individual landmark in 2019.