I’m a tried and true Brooklyn Girl – born and raised in Canarsie, attended architecture school at Pratt Institute in Fort Greene. I’m always finding myself drawn back there, exploring different neighborhoods or looking for the next great shop or bakery – and will be sharing some of my favorite discoveries here with you.
First stop: Red Hook!
Red Hook is one of my favorite Brooklyn neighborhoods – and one of its oldest. Less than 10 years ago it was a mostly barren wasteland of crime and abandoned buildings. Indeed, for the first “new wave” of pioneers who moved in to escape rising costs (and lack of space) in Manhattan and other parts of New York, there was not much to be found here. No grocery stores, eateries or other amenities existed closer than a cab or subway ride away. But soon enough some intrepid souls began opening up shops and cafes to serve the growing number of people who were putting down roots here, and it is now a destination unlike any other in New York.
I love Red Hook – it has an unique profile that is both quiet and serene, with a hard, gritty edge. The low overall height of most of the buildings gives a sense of light and sky that is unusual for an industrial neighborhood and is enhanced by the ever present sense of water just a few blocks away (Red Hook’s waterfront boasts unparalleled views of Lower Manhattan, as well as the only full frontal view of the Statue of Liberty). The cobblestone streets and still-standing historic buildings add to an almost surreal sense of being somewhere far away, and the simple facades of the buildings and brownstones are a departure from the more ornate architecture found in nearby places like Cobble Hill and Prospect Park.
I always root for the underdog and love the mix of great food, compelling art and unusual boutiques that you’ll find in Red Hook . For more information, here are 2 interesting articles – one about the cycle of gentrification and another compiled by the business owners and residents who live and work in Red Hook.