8. The ASPCA Memorial Building and Horse Trough, 233 Butler Street

The ASPCA Building in Gowanus, Brooklyn
Picture courtesy of The Gowanus Landmarking Coalition

With its granite horse trough standing in front (long ago filled in) and a carving over the doorway, the ASPCA Memorial Building tells the story of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, the oldest animal protection society in the Western Hemisphere. Originally focused on protecting horses from abuse, the ASPCA used to be located in a basement at 114 Lawrence Street, but Brooklynite philanthropists helped move the ASPCA to the building now standing on Butler St, between Bond and Nevins. You can actually enter it because there is a hidden music shop, Retrofret, in the back, well worth a visit.

The ASPCA Memorial Building was designed, in 1913, by the architectural firm Renwick, Aspinwall & Tucker. Successor to one of the most influential architects of the 19th century, James Renwick Jr., the firm is known for having designed some of Manhattan’s most famous skyscrapers, like the landmarked American Express Building at 65 Broadway. Today is it a New York City landmark and occupied by Public Records, a cafe and event space.