‘Welcome to Venice’ graffiti pops up near Gowanus luxury condos

GOWANUS, Brooklyn – It's been called the "Venice of Brooklyn." Now it has an unofficial welcome sign.

The graffiti popped up the Gowanus Canal across from two luxury apartment buildings where tenants pay more than $7,000 a month in rent.

"Gowanus' lifelong residents are pretty sarcastic and we don't really understand why luxury housing with some affordable units are being built on a toxic superfund site," Park Slope resident Marsha Kannry said. "So it's saying you wanna pay $5,000 in rent and have one moderate [priced] apartment in your complex - welcome to our superfund site, it's called Venice."

The message is signed "Love Jerko" - a likely reference to a houseboat that once called the canal home as it tried to get rid of sludge at the bottom.

It's leaving some to wonder whether the message is a shot at the luxury condos or the potential of the neighborhood.

"I think it  could go either way if it's a tongue-in-cheek message to the people who are gentrifying the neighborhood then it's obviously a reference. " Marna Chester, another Park Slope resident said. "It could also be a thank you given all the change that's happening."

It's not clear whether the sign is a welcome or an attempt to troll living at the new complexes -- either way they don't think the placement is a coincidence.

"In a way the change is what the excitement of New York City is all about," Chester said. "On the other hand it shakes my sense of stability."

While many lifelong residents say they look forward to riding their gondolas on the canal -- they just want to be part of the transition.

"We're not opposed to the thinking of what the Gowanus could look like and what it could be, but that there's an actual involvement," Kannry said.