Brooklyn isn't exactly rolling out the welcome mat for some of its newest residents.
The words "Welcome to Venice Jerko" appeared recently in graffiti facing 365 Bond, the new luxury rental building on the Gowanus Canal. It appears on a wall that also features a work by the street artist Wolf Tits.
The message, accented with a jaunty blue heart, seems to taunt residents currently paying up to $7,200 a month for apartments with a view of the toxin-riddled canal, which is a Superfund site. The new building also includes affordable apartments for low-income tenants and is the first residential development built on the canal.
The graffiti could also be a reference to a houseboat called Jerko that was stationed on the canal starting in 2010. Outfitted with solar power and a rainwater harvesting system, Jerko was a "showspace for do-it-yourself sustainability experiments." The boat was one of a handful of inhabited vessels on the canal a few years ago.
A 2010 photo of Jerko, a houseboat that cruised the Gowanus Canal. Photo: Flickr/Nick Normal
The fate of Jerko was not immediately clear. Some of the boats ultimately sank and will be removed by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency during the Superfund cleanup.
The fast-changing neighborhood surrounding the waterway has often been called the Venice of Brooklyn, though some have also compared it to the Seine in Paris.
The graffiti can be seen from apartments with a view of the canal, as well as from the public seating at 365 Bond's waterfront esplanade, where a boat dock provides access to the canal.