Scouting Red Hook

I really don’t know Red Hook. I’ve been down once or twice before for shoots at the shipping docks, but I’ve always thought of it as a no-man’s-land. Among other reasons, there isn’t a subway anywhere in the area (the water taxi is the fastest option to the city), which pretty much kills it as a convenient place to live.

After spending a few hours here today though, I was blown away. The warehouses are spectacular, it’s right on the water, and there are tons of hidden treasures around every corner.


This warehouse, housing a Fairway Supermarket on the bottom level, is absolutely beautiful. The enormous windows all have huge shutters attached, and it’s really amazing up close.


Go around the side of the building to Van Brunt Street, and you find yourself surrounded on both sides with beautiful warehouses like this one.



I love the cast iron “8”, the stars, the balcony on the left, the heavy wooden shutters and the doors that have protected it from countless storms coming off the water behind the building. These are the type of things that developers deem ugly, or wasteful of space because they use brick instead of glass. I really, really hope these are still here in twenty years.

If you keep going down Van Brunt, you come to the Beard Street Promenade, which allows you to walk a section of the Brooklyn coast. Stretching out into the water is this building:


If you continue to your right, you’ll get a huge surprise:


How great is that? They have three old cable cars still attached to overhead powerlines. They’re rusting but beautiful in their decay. I can’t believe they haven’t been graffitied to death yet (probably not worth the water ferry fare).


I was heading out along Reed Street when I passed this house (can’t miss it, it’s like the only one on the block):


Owned by a fisherman? You be the judge:


Red Hook has surprises like this around every corner. Check out what was waiting as I came to Conover at Van Dyke:


It’s an enormous Time Warner satellite dish. It looks a bit smaller in this picture, but that dish is freakin’ huge up close.

Finally, I happened to pass by Valentino Park at the corner of Coffey and Ferris, a hidden treasure with probably one of the best land views of the Statue of Liberty from a pier you can walk out onto.



Sorry for the grain – if you can’t tell, it was pouring today, and the statue was shrouded in fog. The park offers a unique vantage point in which Lady Liberty is actually facing you. If you try to see her from the southern tip of Manhattan, you’ll find a less-than-desirable back/profile view.

On the other side of the pier, you can see a warehouse with a crumbling dock at the end. One of the reasons I like these bits of decay is because it signifies a part of the city that has been forgotten. This is a rarity in New York City, where everyone is constantly looking for the next property to tear down/renovate/improve, and it’s refreshing that there are still some things that go unnoticed.


On leaving the pier, I was treated to this on the rocky coastline:


And don’t forget to get a piece of key lime pie before you leave Red Hook!



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  1. Those trolleys were never in service in new york, and those overhead lines are from the 90’s, and those trains are from Boston. learn more here..

  2. I would love to live in a warehouse like that on the water, water taxi or no!

  3. Yeah, I had the same experience walking around Red Hook a few years ago, that place is awesomly filled with gems. I saw a few of the same ones you saw:

  4. You got me hooked to looking around the site.
    another comment FYI about the trams you found in Red Hook
    see the link:
    Bob Diamond discovered from archival research the tunnel under Atlantic Avenue, which I once got to see in person, going through a manhole in the middle of Atlantic Ave at Court Street.
    Bob’s dream was to bring back a restored fleet of electric cars
    to run between Red Hook and Dumbo. Hence the rusting cars,
    just too bad.

  5. I love the photographs. I would love to see those abandoned rail cars; where are they located? Keep up the good work!

  6. I was doing a bunch of Boards of Review this week – I asked each boy what they would do in that situation. I hope that one of thngis they are learning in Scouts is how to handle themselves in the woods (not get lost) and difficult situations (what to do if you do get lost). But it is hard for the parents. We have a lot of parents who have had a hard time accepting the transition from Cub Scouts (adult led and controlled – planned activities) to Boy Scouts (boy led and managed, with adult oversight – encourage independence). Of course _I_ don’t have that problem ;-(sPh

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