View Full Version : Red Hook, Brooklyn

January 17th, 2003, 09:56 PM
The view of downtown Manhattan (http://www.wirednewyork.com/manhattan/default.htm) from Beard Street Pier in Red Hook in March of 2002.


Red Hook Stores, the Civil War-era warehouse at 480-500 Brunt Street.


The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA) (http://www.brooklynrail.com) is a non-profit organization dedicated to returning trolleys to the streets of Brooklyn, NY.

The BHRA museum and trolley barn is located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on the historic Beard Street Piers (circa 1870). BHRA currently has a fleet of 16 trolleys (15 PCC trolleys and a trolley car from 1897).


Statue of Liberty (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/default.htm) and Staten Island Ferry. The view from Beard Street Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn.


At the Warehouse Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in May of 2001.


Warehouse Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn.


January 18th, 2003, 12:06 AM
Cool pictures of vintage buildings!

August 10th, 2003, 07:02 AM
A Breached Trolley Rebirth
By Joshua Robin
Staff Writer

Clang, clang, clunk went the Brooklyn trolley.

A year after the borough toasted a plan to roll street cars on the Red Hook waterfront, the projectis dead, halted by red ink and legal controversy.

Once roundly praised for merging nostalgia with mass transit for far-flung Brooklynites, the trolley fell victim to a cash shortfall amid infighting, rivalry among trolley groups, charges of greed, and a struggle that even broke up best friends.

Bob Diamond, the force behind the quixotic venture, now faces a swarm of problems of his own, not the least of which is a possible $1,000 fine for trespassing into a manhole, as well as how to dispose of 16 trolley cars he bought.

"I think we've hit the rock bottom right now," said Diamond, the 43-year-old Brooklyn Heights trolley fan who for the past 12 years labored to bring street cars back to Brooklyn after a 43-year absence.

A rival railcar group, meanwhile, which recently splintered from Diamond's Brooklyn Historical Railway Association is proposing to build a separate line on the other side of the Gowanus Expressway, using tracks near Borough Hall last used in 1930.

To succeed, the group will need to avoid the same mistakes that prompted its founders to quit Diamond's line.

"His way did not seem to work out. We hope our way does," said co-founder Arthur Melnick of Midwood.

The group Diamond founded in 1993 once had federal and city officials dishing out hundreds of thousands in seed money, but in the end, he managed to lay track on only two streets at the tip of Red Hook's gentrifying peninsula.

Those who followed the sputtering end of the trolley plan say two factors caused the failure.

First, Diamond, who also manages a New Jersey apartment building, didn't do enough private fund-raising to supplement the $310,000 in public funds he got, said Tom Cocola, a spokesman for the city Department of Transportation. In June, the agency revoked its consent to allow him to build the line.

"We stand that at this point in time, Mr. Diamond hasn't shown us the ability to get private money, to raise private money," Cocola said.

Second, according to Diamond's critics, his distrust and unwillingness to delegate power among his volunteers cost him.

By Diamond's own admission, he fired his second-in-command, Greg Castillo, who was also his childhood best friend, and watched passively as other volunteers deserted him.

"Everybody was viewed as a potential enemy," said one former volunteer, who did not want to be named. He said Diamond once even asked him to sign a loyalty oath, but never followed through.

Diamond acknowledged his shortfall in fund-raising, but pointed out that he raised about $500,000 in grants and private funds. It still wasn't enough, because unlike his competitors' plan, he had to lay his own tracks. He said he spent the private money to purchase insurance and to buy and restore 16 trolley cars, cars he now seeks to sell.

Diamond also dismisses complaints from those who fled the organization, saying his management style became necessary when volunteers became "greedy," — thinking the project could make money.

"I think I wasn't controlling enough," Diamond insisted.

Told that, Jan Lorenzen, a former volunteer who founded the new trolley organization with Melnick last year, said money was never the motivation. "We do this because we like trolleys," Lorenzen said.

Despite the downward trajectory of Diamond's streetcar project, its founder maintains his nonchalant, folksy manner — even as he faces legal hurdles and duels with the city officials and former allies who left him.

Last Wednesday, Diamond was given a $1,000 city ticket for removing a manhole cover on Atlantic Avenue, attempting to visit an old subway tunnel where he hoped the Red Hook trolley would eventually run en route to Downtown Brooklyn.

"I was really insulted when they told me I looked like a terrorist," Diamond said, vowing to fight the ticket.

In another brush with the law, Diamond is refusing city orders to remove tracks laid down along Conover and Reed streets in Red Hook.

"For BHRA to dismantle the project based on 'orders' from CDOT [the city Department of Transportation] may in fact be tantamount to destruction of public property, and open BHRA personnel to criminal prosecution or other civil liability," Diamond argued in an open letter posted on his Web site.

Meanwhile, the 16 trolley cars Diamond bought now sit in storage at a Red Hook warehouse and at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Diamond wants to sell them and use the proceeds to revive his dream.

Greg O'Connell, who is converting the property where five of the cars are stored into a Fairway supermarket and lot, has sued Diamond to force the removal of the trolleys, but the two men are negotiating to resolve the problem.

Diamond, meanwhile, has filed claims against the city's Department of Transportation, alleging that when city crews trucked away old rail tracks in May, workers took not only equipment bought with tax dollars — but also $616,000 worth of equipment belonging to the organization, including some that Diamond said he bought with his own money.

Cocola denied those charges. "I guess he's doing all he can to spice up the story," he wrote in an e-mail.

While Diamond's project is kaput for now, he hasn't abandoned the dream of bringing trolley cars back to Brooklyn (a place that, after all, inspired the Dodgers — shorthand for Trolley Dodgers.)

As for the rival trolley project — which Diamond dismisses as a "copy cat" of his own — that group is proposing two main trolley lines, saying they would cost $15 million to build.

Cocola, of the Department of Transportation, said the agency would consider any proposals submitted. To date, none has been.

One of the proposed lines, the Park Line, would hug the Brooklyn waterfront south of the Brooklyn Bridge along a route that travels through a planned city park. The other, the Street Line, would haul riders along routes from Borough Hall along Washington Street to the trendy neighborhood dubbed DUMBO — or "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."

"Not only can they serve as a tourist thing. They can also be practical," said Lorenzen, of Williamsburg, whose day job is working on airplane interiors.

Added Borough President Marty Markowitz: "Trolleys make just as much sense today as they did 100 years ago."

Copyright © Newsday, Inc.

August 10th, 2003, 11:05 AM
I wonder how much Red Hook will change when Ikea opens their store there in 2005.


August 11th, 2003, 10:33 AM
Hopefully, it'll fail. *They are pushing hard, though. *Sick of chains - Ikea, Home Depot, etc, bulding on valuable waterfont land. *It's unacceptable. This can be in any damn location.

August 20th, 2003, 05:09 AM
August 20, 2003

No Red Barn, but That's a Farm in Red Hook


In the middle of a large, empty playground, just down the street from a strip of engineering businesses and industrial parts manufacturers in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a farm is beginning to take shape on top of the buckling pavement. It is not yet much to look at: just a few raised beds amid the weeds sprouting between the cracks in the ground.

But the farmers — a group of teenagers organized by a nonprofit group called Added Value — have already planted baby lettuce and late-season greens, which they will sell later at the Red Hook Farmers' Market and to neighborhood restaurants and shops, or donate to food pantries and soup kitchens. Through the program, now in its third year, the students have been planting and harvesting Japanese eggplant, pattypan squash and sugar-snap peas on a quarter-acre in Far Rockaway, Queens, and at a smaller garden on Wolcott Street in Red Hook.

But the playground, until recently populated mainly by men flying toy helicopters, the occasional resident practicing tai chi and people using drugs, offered the program space to realize even greater ambitions. The lot, nearly two acres bounded by Sigourney, Otsego, Halleck and Columbia Streets, will be home to one of the largest farms in the city and will allow the group to expand into composting, hydroponics and even fish farming.

The spot, near a huge public housing complex, industrial warehouses and a car pound, is far from bucolic, though it is maintained by the Parks Department. But it was enough to bring a program co-director, Ian Marvy, 30, to tears when he saw it about two years ago.

Michael Hurwitz, 30, the other program director, said Mr. Marvy told him, "Oh, my God, this is our future."

Near the end of last week, even as the city sputtered through the paroxysms of the blackout, that future was becoming present. One bed, measuring 8 feet by 128 feet and 10 inches high, had already been built and a few teenagers were filling it with soil from a huge pile in a corner. A few other teenagers were fighting off biting flies to work with John Ameroso, an educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension who is a consultant to the project, on building a second bed. Denia Cuello, 14, was dancing across a 2-by-8 piece of lumber placed over the soil to compact it. The group is behind schedule in filling field green and herb orders for 360, a nearby French bistro, Mr. Marvy said, so they cannot wait for gravity to compact the soil.

"I am not going to be a farmer when I grow up," said Denia, who lives in the nearby Red Hook Houses, bounding off the bed. "They got to do so many things." Even so, she said, she has found that she likes to build things, and she especially likes earning her own money for clothes and sneakers. "When I need something, I don't have to ask my mother."

The program pays participants, who work 16 hours a week, $250 or $350 a month, depending on seniority.

Although Mr. Hurwitz and Mr. Marvy, who met while working at the Red Hook Youth Court, started the program in part to create job opportunities for low-income city teenagers, their farming efforts are about much more, they say. The city has a rich tradition in community gardening, but Mr. Marvy and Mr. Hurwitz were quick to distinguish their program as having its roots in the urban agriculture movement, which, they say, is different.

Urban agriculture focuses on growing food for a variety of reasons. For Mr. Hurwitz and Mr. Marvy, those reasons are to provide affordable, high-quality food to low-income areas that do not have regular access to items like ruby chard or red mustard. The program also focuses on teaching job skills, communication and leadership to young people.

"We wanted to create entrepreneurial opportunities for kids," said Mr. Hurwitz, who has a background in social work. "Every drug dealer I ever worked with was a better entrepreneur than I am."

Mr. Marvy and Mr. Hurwitz plan to build 30 beds, and turn half of them over to neighborhood schools, centers for the elderly and Just Food, another nonprofit group that promotes urban farming. There are plans for a greenhouse so they can grow year-round, including plants for the city's parks. The two men also plan to start a vermiculture program, using worms to help turn waste into worm castings, a high-quality growing material that they can package and sell.

For the teenagers, the program offers, at first, a job. Jose Felix, 18, has been in the program since it began. "It's good to get paid and learn a lot at the same time," he said. "It's better than working in a fast-food job where you're not learning very much and you're not getting paid enough."

But taking part in the program has also given him other opportunities. Recently, he traveled to Costa Rica for a youth conference, which he said opened his eyes to the advantages he has in the United States.

"The youth in Costa Rica were basically doing things their parents were supposed to be doing," he said, adding that the boys had jobs at 14 and young girls were having babies. "You can just do so much more here."

Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, said he had approved the project because it was an adaptive reuse of a site that was being used. "And it's a community-oriented, environmentally appropriate project with economic development possibilities."

It involves plants, young people and environmental education, making it a perfect Parks Department project, Mr. Benepe said.

But even as urban agriculture should be encouraged, he said, it seems unlikely to spread far and wide in the city because land is so valuable and there are so many pressures to develop the little that is vacant. Much of what exists are demonstration farms with historic backgrounds, like the Queens County Farm Museum, or community vegetable plots.

At the same time, Mr. Benepe said, it was especially critical in the city to strengthen the connection between people and the food they eat.

"Most of us are so removed from agriculture, from where food comes from," he said, "just having people understand that vegetables grow on vines or out of shrubs and that it's possible to grow tasty vegetables without pesticides or herbicides" is important.

Then, too, the city has a history of children's farm gardens, like one that existed at the turn of the 20th century in DeWitt Clinton Park in Hell's Kitchen. There, Mr. Benepe said, in what was not considered one of the city's finer neighborhoods, children learned about agriculture and economics. "That's a predecessor of what's going to be happening here."

Last week, all that was very much in evidence. Mr. Marvy was describing his vision of a place where young people could learn math and science through farming, while eight of the participants were bustling about in the heat, readying beds, watering plants and ferrying dirt.

As Jose passed a bed where Nastassia Gore, 14, had been planting baby greens, he asked Mr. Hurwitz if they were mizuna, a feathery Asian green.

They were not, but were green mustard, which is related.

"I am thoroughly impressed that you knew that it was a cousin of a mizuna plant," Mr. Hurwitz said. Jose shrugged and moved on.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

January 10th, 2004, 12:28 AM
January 10, 2004


The Trolley Guy's Last Ride (All 12 Feet of It)


Bob Diamond, with trolleys in a garage in Red Hook, has been trying for two decades to return trolley service to Brooklyn, but his efforts appear to have been in vain.

IN a darkened bay at Red Hook's watery edge, the trolley guy of Brooklyn steps over the bits and pieces of his grand vision to board his magnificent vessel. Come on, he says, in that weary-whiny voice of his. "I'll take you on the world's shortest trolley ride."

He turns on the lights, rings the bell — ding, ding — and an 1897 trolley of mahogany and oak lurches six feet and stops. He walks to the rear, rings the bell — ding, ding — and the trolley lurches six feet back. That's it; 12 feet. Ride over.

The last stop returns Bob Diamond, the trolley guy, to his cluttered world. In this cold and cavernous bay, from which he is about to be evicted, you will find old trolley fare boxes; books about electromechanical devices of the 1930's; pneumatically powered door engines; a BB gun to scare away pigeons and rats; heavy-duty machine tools; and ever-accumulating piles of spare trolley parts.

Rising from this mess are two meticulously restored, but stranded, trolleys: the brown 1897 model, once used by the king of Norway, and a green-and-silver 1951 Pullman that once cruised along Boston's green line. And beside them always, Mr. Diamond: a rumpled shrug of a man who was married once for two days; whose dinner most nights is three hot dogs, cheese fries and an iced tea at Nathan's; and who is now the only person in New York with 16 trolleys and nowhere to put them.

Mr. Diamond, 44, wheezes out the approximation of a laugh. "I'm laughing but I should be crying," he says. "It must be post-traumatic stress."

This man was once the adopted darling of city officials, proponents of Red Hook revitalization, and anyone else who nursed an ache for the way things used to be in Brooklyn. More than just an electrical engineer, he was a Flatbush visionary — an asset of the city.

He earned his place as a bona fide Brooklyn character more than two decades ago by discovering a forgotten railroad tunnel beneath Atlantic Avenue. He created the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association and enlisted a band of volunteers to restore the tunnel and lead tours. Soon they were launched on the odd but honorable mission of returning trolleys to Brooklyn for the first time since the mid-50's.

Piece by piece, they built their fleet. The Norwegian trolley, on permanent loan from a Staten Island man. Three Pullman cars from Boston that Mr. Diamond managed to buy for $9 — plus $10,000 shipping. A switching locomotive that he recovered from a New Jersey soybean field for $8,000. A dozen more trolley cars from Ohio that cost $10,000 to buy and $50,000 to ship from Buffalo.

In 1994, Mr. Diamond and his group moved their operation to this bay in a 19th century warehouse at the end of Van Brunt Street. Their efforts attracted the attention of local and federal officials who saw the charm and the need for light-rail service that would link isolated Red Hook to the rest of the borough.

With the help of the city's Department of Transportation, Mr. Diamond's group received $286,000 in federal money to lay a few hundred feet of trolley line in Red Hook. Who knew? Maybe it would someday lead to the development of light-rail service all the way to downtown Brooklyn.

The volunteers lovingly laid the track, polished the trolleys and worked out the intricate electrical system needed to activate service. Mr. Diamond estimates that he spent more than $100,000 of his own money — earned in part by managing a New Jersey apartment complex — on sundry items, including several thousand dollars for jackhammer rentals. "It's still on my credit card," he says.

Everything seemed to be on track. In 1999, that glorious Norwegian trolley glided out of its darkened bay, looped around the warehouse, and went a few hundred feet down a track; soon, tourists were paying to take the short waterfront ride. Then city transportation officials gave permission to Mr. Diamond's group to lay track on Conover Street, the hope being that a trolley would one day lead to a bus stop a half-mile away.

Mr. Diamond may have been a visionary, but his single-mindedness caused problems. City officials grumble that he wasn't doing any fund-raising; he counters that his contribution came in sweat equity. As for allegations that he did not want to share responsibility for the trolleys, Mr. Diamond says that he was worried about a "takeover group" within his core of volunteers.

"When I didn't like them trying to take it over, they said I didn't want to share responsibility," he says. "I wasn't going to turn it over, especially after I sunk in 20 years of my own time and money."

In August 2001, the bulkhead along the pier outside his trolley bay gave way, damaging the track and auguring a larger collapse.

The two trolleys inside had nowhere to go. Volunteers left to create their own trolley group. And the disagreements with city officials became so contentious that in early 2002 they announced that they would no longer support the spending of federal money on Mr. Diamond's dream project.

Mr. Diamond now had five stranded trolleys in Red Hook, including the two in the bay; 11 stranded trolleys and a locomotive at the Brooklyn Navy Yard; a half-built track on a city street — and an ever-diminishing number of supporters.

He accused a former volunteer of breaking into the bay one night and downloading his plans from a computer; nonsense, the former volunteer says. He charged that a city transportation official was related to one of his competitors; not true, a spokesman for the city agency says. He also accused the Department of Transportation of having him tailed and even arrested; ridiculous, the spokesman says.

A few weeks ago, Greg O'Connell — the owner of the warehouse who describes himself as a believer in Mr. Diamond's vision — sent an eviction notice to Mr. Diamond and his organization. The group had been using the warehouse space, rent-free, for nearly a decade.

"We've been left with no other choice," Mr. O'Connell says. "There are other nonprofits. We get many calls to use that space from people who could make a real contribution to the neighborhood."

"Bob's difficult sometimes to work with," Mr. O'Connell adds. "He's unique."

Then, a couple of weeks ago, as Mr. Diamond watched, the city ripped up the tracks that had been laid by volunteers along Conover Street; his dream had become a hazard. Tom Cocola, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, says that Mr. Diamond had been notified several times that the tracks had to be removed.

"We were excited to jumpstart the trolley initiative," Mr. Cocola said in an e-mail message. "But promises made by Mr. Diamond were not met, so we decided that — in a time where the city has experienced budget difficulties — it would not be prudent to waste any more taxpayers' money on this project, no matter how noble it appeared on paper."

Mr. Diamond says that he has no idea what to do, and no more money to spend on his vision. He continues to level charges that all his former supporters have betrayed him and may be conspiring to take his trolleys from him.

"What a huge waste of time and money," he says. "It's sort of like being dressed up with no place to go."

For now, there is just him, and a young volunteer named Donald. They sit in the back of this Red Hook bay, hunched around a portable heater, watching a black-and-white television, while all about them lay pieces of trolley.

After taking the 1897 trolley for its 12-foot ride, Mr. Diamond climbs aboard the sleek Pullman to point out the attention given to its restoration, down to the row of incandescent bull's-eye lights. He turns on the air compressors, and begins to open and close the door. For a little while, at least, this stranded trolley sounds as though it is breathing.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 10th, 2004, 08:08 AM
What a forlorn photo.

January 13th, 2004, 06:49 PM
What a forlorn article.

"that weary-whiny voice of his"

"whose dinner most nights is three hot dogs, cheese fries and an iced tea"

"wheezes out the approximation of a laugh"

"They sit in the back of this Red Hook bay, hunched around a portable heater, watching a black-and-white television"

Some of that stuff is just mean. Shame on you NY Times.

This is sad. This would have been pretty cool. Not an essential project perhaps, but a real treat.

January 22nd, 2004, 12:45 PM
New York Newsday

Red Hook: The Next Murano?

By Vera Haller

January 21, 2004, 11:27 AM EST

Although tourists do not throng to its shores by the boatload to buy glass-blown trinkets as they do in Murano, comparisons can be drawn between Red Hook and the Italian glassmaking center.

Like Murano, an island near Venice, Red Hook, too, is on the water -- a peninsula jutting into the New York Harbor.

And like Murano, Red Hook is home to a cluster of glassblowers and artisans who engrave, bend and color glass.

Some 14 glass or glass-related businesses are located in the neighborhood, according to Phaedra Thomas, director of the Red Hook and Gowanus programs for the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp.

Affordability of studio space and industrial zoning that allows them to operate the ovens needed to melt glass were some of the reasons that first drew the glass companies to Red Hook.

"They also consider themselves kindred spirits with the other artists and artisans," such as the many woodworkers who also have settled in Red Hook, Thomas said.

It was a search for more space in 1989 that led Charles Flickinger to leave Williamsburg and relocate his glass-bending shop, Flickinger Glassworks, to Pier 41 in Red Hook.

"We're probably the first glass business that moved to this neighborhood and quite a number have followed," he said. "I think I have the best office in New York, 30 feet from the water staring at the Verrazano Bridge."

With 12 employees, Flickinger Glassworks creates custom bent glass pieces for lighting, cabinetry and display cases by shaping sheet glass into steel molds.

The company provided the glass used for the refurbishment of the clock atop the information booth at Grand Central Terminal.

It was the presence of glass companies such as Flickinger that drew Tomas Tisch, a glass engraver, to his studio in the Beard Street warehouse, which like Pier 41 is owned by developer Greg O'Connell.

"People who love glass, who have a passion for glass, tend to stick together," Tisch said.

He said those in the glass community depended on each other to provide services. For example, if Flickinger had a client who wanted engraving on a piece of bent glass, he could easily send that work to Tisch.

"It's just like in an ancient city where all the coppersmiths were in one row and all the silversmiths were in another area and all the butchers were in another. I think that whole idea still holds true," Tisch said.

Tisch spoke with pride of his craft, which was passed on to him by his father and grandfather.

Using a simple machine with a spinning grinding stone and water to cool the surface, Tisch creates intricate designs on glass. Much of his work is restoration.

Downstairs in the same warehouse, another scene of old fashioned artisanry played out in the studio of Pier Glass, where Kevin Kutch and Mary Ellen Buxton were beginning work on a new glass creation.

Starting with a blob of molten glass taken out of a red-hot oven, they used a tube and hand-made metal tools – such as tongs and tweezers -- to blow, bend, shape and mold the glass.

They periodically returned the worked glass to the oven to be softened so more molding and shaping could be done. The final product was a delicate perfume bottle.

They also create high-end glass 'sculptures,' which are shown and sold in art galleries. Buxton said the couple's signature work usually included clear glass, a small amount of color and "multiple blown chambers."

Kutch is optimistic about the future of his business in Red Hook even though other artists and small business owners are apprehensive about development changes in the neighborhood.

Tisch worries that the neighborhood's quiet atmosphere will disappear if Ikea wins zoning approval to open one of its huge stores in Red Hook.

And Flickinger, noting rising rents, said he knew of two glass companies in Red Hook that have gone out of business in the past two years.

But Kutch and Buxton were hopeful their company would grow with the neighborhood.

Their studio faces yet another waterfront warehouse, also owned by O'Connell, that is being developed to house a Fairway supermarket. If all goes as planned, ferry service connecting Manhattan to Red Hook will open with a stop right at their doorstep.

In anticipation, the artists have set aside a portion of their studio for a future retail outlet. Their vision: boatloads of shoppers delivered to their shores to buy their glass-blown trinkets.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

Video - Inside a Glassblower's Studio (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/brooklyn/nyc-redhookvideo,0,7909635.realvideo?coll=nyc-topheadlines-right)

Photos - Red Hook Glassblowers (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/brooklyn/nyc-glasspromopix,0,6878377.photo?coll=nyc-topheadlines-right)

Red Hook: A Storied Past

By Vera Haller

January 21, 2004, 11:24 AM EST

Judith Dailey, 58, has fond memories of growing up in Red Hook when the Brooklyn neighborhood was still bustling with longshoremen and their families.

She remembers seeing movies at the Pioneer Theater, going fishing with her father, a dock worker at Todd Shipyards, and attending church bazaars in what was then an open field behind the convent at Visitation Place.

"The bazaars were like a mini-Coney Island with rides and games," reminisced Dailey, a teacher's assistant at Red Hook's P.S. 27. One man from the neighborhood gave out candy to all the children, she said.

She described a close-knit family and community life. Not only did she have her family, which was of Puerto Rican heritage and included seven brothers and sisters, but Dailey said neighbors also looked out for each other. "You didn't get away with a thing," she said. "Everybody knew everybody. It was such a sense of security."

Red Hook became an important shipping center in the mid 1800s with the opening of the Atlantic Basin, a wharf with warehouses used largely for the storage of grain.

During its shipping heyday -- from the 1850s until the 1950s -- Red Hook also had its tough side. Al Capone got his start as a petty criminal in the neighborhood before moving to Chicago in 1920. It reportedly was during Capone's days in Red Hook that he was wounded and was given his nickname "Scarface."

The dark side of life on Red Hook's docks was dramatized in the 1954 movie "On the Waterfront," starring Marlon Brando.

Dailey, who remains a Red Hook resident, remembers when the neighborhood began its downward spiral as shipyards, including Todd Shipyards where her father worked for 27 years, began closing.

According to the Encyclopedia of New York City, Red Hook's decline in the late 1950s and early 1960s was linked in part to the demise of so-called break-bulk shipping, when goods were packed in boxes and longshoremen physically unloaded them from ships.

This mode of moving goods was used less and less with the advance of container shipping, which involves placing cargo in large containers lifted off ships by cranes. The region's new container shipping hub shifted across the harbor along New Jersey's shores.

"Businesses moved out and people also moved. We lost a lot of families," Dailey said.

Red Hook's maritime history goes back much further than last century. The area was first settled by the Dutch in 1636, one of the earliest settlements in Brooklyn. The Dutch named the area Roode Hoek -- red for the color of its soil and hook for the way the peninsula curved into the harbor.

With the opening of the Atlantic Basin in the 1850s, Red Hook became one of the busiest shipping ports in the country. Brick rowhouses lined the residential areas and in 1936, the Red Hook Houses East -- a big public housing project -- was built to provide residences for dockworkers, many of whom where Italian, Irish and Puerto Rican immigrants.

The decline of the shipping industry was not the only reason Red Hook fell on hard times. The neigbhorhood was physically cut off from the rest of the city when the Gowanus Expressway was built in 1946. Later, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, whose Brooklyn entrance sits at the northern tip of Red Hook, did more to isolate the neighorood.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Red Hook earned a reputation as a crime-ridden, desolate place. Abandoned warehouses and empty lots abounded.

That is why Dailey welcomes any new businesses that want to settle in the neighborhood. She supports a controversial proposal to build a huge Ikea furniture store in the old New York Shipyards.

"I support Ikea because I remember what it was like when people were able to work in their community," she said.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

Red Hook Photo Tour (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/brooklyn/nyc-redhookgallery,0,1268720.photogallery?coll=nyc-topheadlines-right)

January 24th, 2004, 07:17 AM
Red Hook at a Glance (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/brooklyn/nyc-redhook.flash)

January 24th, 2004, 09:45 AM
From the Home Depot parking garage, the view across Gowanus Creek of the long abandoned Port of New York Authority granary.

April 18th, 2005, 11:49 AM
Is Red Hook real Estate that hot?



April 16, 2005 -- Barbara Corcoran has put her money where her mouth is - in Red Hook.

The founder of the giant real-estate group recently touted Red Hook as one of the hot neighborhoods in the country on "The View." And she's now in contract to pay $1.075 million for a three-story semi-attached brick house there.

The property at 293 Van Brunt St. was listed at $1.1 million. (Why pay asking?)

It has two apartments and a first-floor storefront.

Ms. Corcoran, who was not available for comment at press time, has already enriched the seller, who bought it a year ago for $400,000.

But Carver Farrell has had to work for his money. The designer/builder, who has done five renovations in Brooklyn in the past four years, says he planned a simple renovation.

But after he started work, he found more problems than he had bargained for. "We gutted it to a shell. After we discovered it was in such bad shape we rebuilt it from scratch," he says.

He ended up shoring up the foundation, putting on an entirely new roof, and adding new plumbing and electrical circuits.

As for Ms. Corcoran, she nearly missed the deal. Farrell had listed the house himself in the New York Times and on the Craigslist Web site. It was only after a bid fell through that Farrell gave the listing to the Corcoran Group.

If you want to bargain hunt alongside Barbara, be aware that Red Hook's prices have been climbing. The area, which lacks subway access, is luring buyers with the promise of a new Fairway and an IKEA.

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

January 19th, 2006, 11:05 AM
For Whom Will the Foghorn Blow?

By JOSEPH BERGER (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=JOSEPH BERGER&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=JOSEPH BERGER&inline=nyt-per) and CHARLES V. BAGLI (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=CHARLES V. BAGLI&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=CHARLES V. BAGLI&inline=nyt-per)
Published: January 19, 2006

Red Hook could've been a contender, just like Marlon Brando's character in "On the Waterfront," a film that immortalized the bleak, harsh atmosphere of the Brooklyn (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/brooklyn/?inline=nyt-geo) docks (even if it was filmed in Hoboken).

With acres of piers for hauling cargo, and sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, Red Hook should have become a leading industrial port or another charming Brooklyn village like nearby Carroll Gardens.


But a series of government miscalculations - like cutting the neighborhood off from the rest of Brooklyn with the Gowanus Expressway and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and shifts in the waterfront economy to containerized cargo - left the square-mile peninsula with forlorn blocks pocked by tumbledown houses, unkempt lots and hollow-eyed factories.

In recent years, however, Red Hook has become a vigorous place again, so much so that it is now a contested ground for apartment developers wanting to cash in on the views, artists and restaurateurs looking for cheap space, factories seeking a haven from gentrification elsewhere and old-line residents wanting to keep the old-time flavor.

Red Hook is poised to receive stores like Ikea and Fairway, million-dollar condominiums, humming factories and bustling docks, and even a pier for the 1,132-foot Queen Mary 2 and other cruise ships. Yet, its future is caught up in a battle royal.

A pier under construction in Red Hook is big enough to accommodate the Queen Mary 2. It is scheduled to open in the spring.

Developers want to convert waterfront warehouses and factories into apartments, even though the areas are zoned for manufacturing. But factory owners and cargo haulers fear that well-heeled apartment dwellers would not take kindly to their trucks barreling through Red Hook's narrow cobblestone streets or their middle-of-the-night foghorns and bright lights.

"You're going to be doing something they don't like, even if it's interfering with a guy barbecuing on the block," said Michael DiMarino, owner of Linda Tool and Die Corporation, a precision metal fabricator with clients like NASA and Boeing. "I don't blame him, but we were here first."

Many factions dread the prospect of big-box stores like Ikea, which plans to build a waterfront furniture emporium with 1,500 parking spaces by 2007.
Blue-collar businesses fear that Ikea's shoppers would clog Red Hook, stalling their trucks. Homeowners worry that Ikea would shatter the quiet.

Yet residents of the housing projects, whose 8,000 tenants represent three-quarters of Red Hook's population, are eager for the 500 jobs Ikea is dangling.
Dorothy Shields, 74, the president of the Red Hook Houses East Tenants Association, who has taken a liking to Ikea's Swedish meatballs, supports the store because one of every four of the projects' tenants is unemployed.
"It's the jobs," she said. "I have so many people who needs jobs."

Artists and craftsmen trickling in from Dumbo and Williamsburg fear any change because they suspect they will end up priced out of another blossoming neighborhood. Madigan Shive, a 29-year-old cellist, moved from San Francisco into a rental house with three other artists.

"There's a good chance we could lose our house in the next year," she said. "If I lose this space, I don't know that I can stay in New York."

The neighborhood quarrel is embodied in two men, John McGettrick, co-president of the Red Hook Civic Association, and Gregory O'Connell, a former city detective turned millionaire developer and one of Red Hook's largest property owners.

Mr. O'Connell, who supports expanding blue-collar businesses, is a ubiquitous figure who uses the paper-strewn dashboard of his pickup as his desk and file cabinet. Mr. McGettrick, whose father slung cargo on the docks but who favors housing, manages an investigations agency.

The two antagonists tap into different elements of Red Hook history and are backed by rival civic groups. Mr. McGettrick contends the city hurt Red Hook in 1961 when it zoned as industrial numerous blocks in which frame or brick houses had always been mixed in. Homeowners could not expand and banks would not offer mortgages, and the result, he said, was abandonment and arson. "There is a desperate need to rebuild the population that was lost," Mr. McGettrick said.

John McGettrick, the co-president of the Red Hook Civic Association, favors more housing for the neighborhood.

Mr. O'Connell has revamped Civil War-era warehouses set on waterfront piers but filled them with blue-collar trades like wood and glass workers. Those tenants will be joined this spring by a Fairway, the grocery cornucopia, which is also on Manhattan's West Side and in Harlem.

Much of the tension has crystallized around a mammoth concrete warehouse at 160 Imlay Street that a Manhattan group bought in 2000 for $7.2 million and for which it received a zoning variance allowing conversion into 144 condominiums. Standing on the windswept sixth floor overlooking the harbor, with the building shrouded in netting, the developer, Bruce Batkin, said: "We're not here to rape and pillage. We're going to do something beautiful. How can we do something worse?"

But the project, supported by Mr. McGettrick, has been mired by stop-work orders resulting from a two-year-old lawsuit brought by opponents including more than 80 local businesses, as well as Mr. O'Connell.

"Imlay Street could be the tipping point that affects all the zoning in Red Hook," Mr. O'Connell said. "You pay $1 million for an apartment, you don't want to hear trucks loading or unloading early in the morning."

In court papers, the opponents contend that the city's Board of Standards and Appeals was improperly swayed into believing that the building could not attract industrial tenants. A lawyer described a meeting between a lobbyist for the owners and Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development, which the lawyer said resulted in a $100,000 gift to Mr. Doctoroff's favorite cause, NYC2012, the group that bid unsuccessfully for the 2012 Olympics.

In an interview, Mr. Doctoroff described the claim as "completely absurd," adding: "I'd isolated myself from the fund-raising effort. I didn't even know there was a contribution."

He described Red Hook as the city's "single most complex land-use issue" because it has potential in retailing, housing and manufacturing. "Every conceivable issue is wrapped up in this one community, which makes everything you do there very sensitive and very difficult," he said.

The outlook for industry in Red Hook is no longer bleak. According to Phaedra Thomas, executive director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, the number of industrial businesses has grown 60 percent since 1991, to 455, and jobs have increased 19 percent, to 5,000.

Waterfront activity has also rebounded. The Erie Basin Bargeport was vacant 15 years ago, but it now provides staging for 500 barges used for repairing bridges or shooting off Macy's Fourth of July fireworks.

Another pier operator, John Quadrozzi Jr., president of the Gowanus Industrial Park, has taken a 46-acre complex of grain silos and docks and uses it, in part, to unload hundreds of thousands of tons of Chilean salt for de-icing the city's streets. He says he opposes Ikea but is finding it hard to resist offers from megastores that want to move in nearby. "If I'm a salmon, I can only swim upstream so long," he said. "I get tired."

John Quadrozzi Jr., president of the Gowanus Industrial Park, says he can resist big-box offers for only so long.

Factory owners also fret when they see the kind of shops new to Red Hook sprouting on the commercial spine of Van Brunt Street: Baked, a SoHo-like bakery; 360, a French restaurant; and LeNell's, a specialty liquor store that sells 100 brands of bourbon.

Until now, the Bloomberg administration has encouraged residential and commercial development along the waterfront. The city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gave American Stevedoring Inc., which operates gantry cranes for moving large containers, only a short lease extension on Piers 8, 9 and 10 that expires in April 2007 and removed the company from Pier 6 and 11. Pier 7 is in litigation.

But a year ago, the administration, apparently responding to a reaction against rezoning to residential in Dumbo and Long Island City, mapped out 15 "industrial business zones" where rezoning would be forbidden. Such a move would protect companies like Linda Tool from speculative landlords who might raise rents and offer only short leases. What is not yet clear is how many factories would be vulnerable in a murky "ombudsman" zone, where the city could consider zoning changes for housing.

For developers like Joseph Sitt of Thor Equities, who eyes the waterfront ravenously, the problem is that his property is in the industrial zone. Last year, he paid $40 million to acquire the crumbling pier that holds the old Revere sugar plant.

He has told city officials that he is considering a residential project that would include a marina. The officials say he may retain Revere's steel funnel silo as a memento of the industrial past. In the coming weeks, Mr. Sitt will lobby the city to pull in the borders of the industrial zone so he can consider other uses.

Many old-timers want to see the neighborhood livened up with more apartment dwellers. Sue and Annette Amendola, two of the 10 children of an immigrant longshoreman who hauled bags of coffee on his back, live in the apartment where they were born in the 1940's and do not want the neighborhood moribund any longer.

Sunny Balzano, 71, a painter whose family has owned a bar on Conover Street since 1890, wants more housing, too, but worries that development that would attract big-box stores would also destroy the neighborhood's singular character. He remembers when the noon whistle blew for lunch and children had to escape the sidewalks because of the stampede of beefy dockworkers trying to grab lunch or a shot of whiskey at one of the 40 bars in the neighborhood.

"In the summer, you can hear the water lapping against the docks and the foghorns and the ships going by," he said. "But if you're going to have thousands of cars, the quality of life is about to change."

Bruce Batkin, a developer who is converting a concrete warehouse into 144 condominiums, says: "We're not here to rape and pillage. We're going to do something beautiful. How can we do something worse?"

Copyright 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

January 19th, 2006, 11:48 AM
I'd like to see this area remain a manufacturing zone, with industrial development encouraged - if for no other reason than it is not being done anywhere else.

January 19th, 2006, 12:36 PM
And definitely keep the big box stores OUT! Them and their parking lots. Brooklyn isn't suburbia.

January 19th, 2006, 01:45 PM
I'd like to see this area remain a manufacturing zone, with industrial development encouraged - if for no other reason than it is not being done anywhere else.

I'm on the other extreme. I think the city has waaaay too much land zoned industrial. I used to live in an industrial zone, which was largely vacant except for loft dwellers and a few scrap metal/auto parts places.

The city has far too much empty industrial space and too little residential space. I think they should keep areas like Sunset Park, East NY, Maspeth industrial and they should rezone Red Hook, Gowanus and East Williamsburg to allow residential.

January 19th, 2006, 01:48 PM
And definitely keep the big box stores OUT! Them and their parking lots. Brooklyn isn't suburbia.

No, bring the big boxes in. It's more sustainable to have big boxes in Brooklyn (where people will walk and take public transportation to the store) than to build way out in the burbs, where everyone drives.

I don't own a car, yet I patronize Target, Loews and Marshalls, all in Brooklyn and all convenient to public transportation. Sure seems more sensible than wasting fossil fuels on a trip out to Jersey.

January 19th, 2006, 01:53 PM
There is no real convenient line to Red Hook, if I remember from our real estate visits a year or so ago.....

Big box has problems with parking, as we have had to deal with with a HD going up in Queens (and yes, there are many more coming!).

Of all the larger markets that are lacking in the city, I think the one that is needed the most is a good sized supermarket/grocery store. Even the "Ultra-mega-super-giganto" ones that are there are nothing compared to the suburban bigguns.

maybe Wal-Mart will have some buisness sense and open up a THIRD store under it that deals with only produce/groceries and push it under a different name.

Political opposition is usually MUCH weaker to a subsidiary than to the main company. People find it harder to make the connection...

(I am not advocating this, but I am surprised they have not done it like they have with Sam's.....)

January 20th, 2006, 09:23 AM
The city has far too much empty industrial space and too little residential space.Red Hook is unique.

January 26th, 2006, 11:51 AM
Any of you guys have any idea how the new ship terminal is coming along, Have been told it should be ready for The Queen Mary 2 in April.

February 25th, 2006, 03:02 PM
I'm on the other extreme. I think the city has waaaay too much land zoned industrial. I used to live in an industrial zone, which was largely vacant except for loft dwellers and a few scrap metal/auto parts places.

The city has far too much empty industrial space and too little residential space. I think they should keep areas like Sunset Park, East NY, Maspeth industrial and they should rezone Red Hook, Gowanus and East Williamsburg to allow residential.
Not sure it has to be either/or. It can be both/and. Industrial areas can be great places to live for folks with certain inclinations, and industrial zones can benefit from a full-time population.

It's a potentially heady mix. But the folks who move in have to understand that living among factories isn't like living in the suburbs. If they don't like what they find they shouldn't buy in with the intent to change things later.

The government should recognize this by applying different environmental standards to different neighborhoods; it already does some of this with zoning. If a district needs to be noisy at certain times of night, that district should have a different noise ordinance. If dockworkers in a place should knock off work at 4am, there ought to be a local place open to sell them a beer. And so forth.

And to hell with the recently-arrived NIMBYs. They don't like it, they can sell their place to someone who does.

February 25th, 2006, 04:26 PM
I wonder how much Red Hook will change when Ikea opens their store there in 2005.

In addition to the site plan, there is an animated tour at this
weblink - http://www.ikearedhook.com/plan.asp - enjoy!

February 25th, 2006, 06:51 PM
Hope they don't let them paint those big old cranes that IKEA blue + yellow!

April 12th, 2006, 05:38 PM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Red Hook Fairway store opening soon
Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

A controversial supermarket, known for its 500 kinds of cheeses and for bringing down a city councilman, will soon open on the Red Hook waterfront.

Workers are scrambling to put the finishing touches on a 45,000-square-foot Fairway Market on Van Brunt St. slated to open as soon as the end of April.

The store, in a renovated Civil War-era warehouse, will be the first Fairway in Brooklyn. It also will be the biggest outpost of the mini-chain, which has stores on the upper West Side and in Harlem, and is known for gourmet food at competitive prices.

"I suspect that with this store, we'll have the three highest-volume grocery stores in New York City," said co-owner Howard Glickberg, whose grandfather opened the original Manhattan store in the 1940s. "We always make sure to have the lowest prices."

The project, which has roiled opponents in the secluded neighborhood, is more than a year behind schedule.

Glickberg blamed the delays on complications renovating the 150-year-old former coffee warehouse and on the investigation of former City Councilman Angel Rodriguez.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty in 2002 to trying to extort Red Hook developer Greg O'Connell in exchange for his support.

O'Connell, owner of the Fairway building, is a former cop who wore a wire to record Rodriguez. He has said he tried to keep the structure's historic details, such as its signature shutters and interior wood beams.

Opponents tried to sue to stop the project, arguing it was too big for the neighborhood and would clog its streets with traffic and trucks.

"We continue to be concerned about the size of the store," said Red Hook activist John McGettrick.

The new store will roast its own coffee, bake its own bagels and smoke its own fish. It also will have a cafe, a kosher section and a room dedicated to organic food. Glickberg and O'Connell hope to open a restaurant on the second floor.

The developers are renovating 45 luxury live/work apartments on the top three floors. They surround an open-air courtyard and have views of the harbor.

Shoppers outside Red Hook's only grocery store, Fine Fare, were skeptical that Fairway's prices would be lower, but they were eager to find out.

"We'll check it out," said Fay Hernandez. "[It's] just like the new restaurants that are opening here; they're very expensive."

April 12th, 2006, 06:03 PM
Sounds interesting.....

April 12th, 2006, 06:14 PM
Red Hook is the only truly deep water ocean port in the NY metropolitan area. The Port Authority has spent hundreds of millions of dollars blasting shipping canals to the Newark port, but it still is not deep enough for the new "super-tankers." Red Hook is. The decision to build up the Newark terminal and abandon the Red Hook terminal was a political one, not an economic one -- a decision that can still be reversed by smarter, more forward-thinking future policy-makers. To devote this space to grocery store parking lots is a tremendous waste.

April 12th, 2006, 08:31 PM
To devote this space to grocery store parking lots is a tremendous waste.
Store has a parking lot? That's bad.

All parking lots in any urban setting are a waste. Worse, they're a disruption of urban fabric and continuity. They're not an integral part of the city; they represent the absence of the city.

April 12th, 2006, 09:06 PM
Indeed, Ablarc.

Not to mention that it's pretty unlikely people will drive towards Manhattan to get groceries. Wouldn't it just be easier to drive away?

April 13th, 2006, 09:07 AM

A grocery store has more people coming in cars than other venues simply because people go there less often, and buy for a longer period.

I do think they should rethink the lot and maybe build a parking garage somewhere nearby and use the land for something nice like a park or something, but I will have to see the area first before I can judge something I have only heard about.

April 17th, 2006, 07:31 PM
Here's a couple of of photos of the new Fairway building before they started work on it, and after. And here's some more Red Hook photos; they're mostly industrial shots:


April 18th, 2006, 01:22 AM
Here's a couple of of photos of the new Fairway building before they started work on it, and after. And here's some more Red Hook photos; they're mostly industrial shots:


They actually did a nice job with it. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings is awesome.

May 1st, 2006, 01:00 PM
http://www.nypost.com/food/63060.htm OFF THE HOOK


April 30, 2006 -- IT'S hard to imagine that New Yorkers are willing to brave the subway and a bus ride for much, but the promise of great food in an up-and-coming neighborhood is a powerful motivator. And it goes a long way toward explaining the exodus to Brooklyn's final frontier: Red Hook.

To be sure, the migration has taken some time. One of the earliest areas in Brooklyn to be settled, Red Hook (originally Roode Hoek) was named by the Dutch in 1636 for its red clay soil and its hook-like protrusion into New York Harbor. By the 1850s, Red Hook was one of the busiest ports in the country, and later became the setting for Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge."

But Red Hook's gentrification has lagged behind other Brooklyn neighborhoods like DUMBO and Williamsburg. That is, until recently. Since 2003, this neighborhood has slowly been changing from blue-collar to bustling culinary destination.

The most recent (and delicious) reason to make the Red Hook trek is The Good Fork, a snug seasonal American with exposed brick walls and a nautically inspired curved-birch ceiling. It's owned by Ben Schneider (who built the place), and his wife, chef Sohui Kim, who honed her skills at Blue Hill and Annisa.

Like many business owners in Red Hook, Kim and Schneider live around the corner from their restaurant. "I fell in love with Red Hook because it had the feeling of a Midwestern industrial city with a seaside harbor," says Schneider. "It's this great odd ragtag community."

While the couple's goal was to open a neighborhood place, they're currently hosting Manhattan diners drawn by word of mouth. It's easy to fall in love with Kim's menu of dishes touched by her Korean heritage and crafted from local ingredients: plump pork and chive pot stickers ($5), pan-seared scallops with shrimp-scallion pancakes, asparagus and soy vinaigrette ($20), and steak and eggs "Korean-style" with kimchee rice topped with a fried egg ($17).

But before Kim and Schneider opened the Good Fork, they were loyal patrons of Red Hook's pioneer, Arnaud Erhart, who three years ago opened his cool French bistro 360.

A veteran of Balthazar and a longtime Red Hook resident, Erhart and his chef Rick Jakobson (Daniel, Bouley) scour greenmarkets for their daily three-course $25 prix fixe menu, which lately reflects spring with dishes like chilled sugar snap pea soup with mint and monkfish fricassee with fava beans, carrots, and snowpea greens, alongside classics like steak tartar and duck leg confit.

While the restaurant has been busy since it opened in May 2003, Erhart is looking forward to the mid-May opening of Fairway market. "Fairway is something that a lot of small businesses have been waiting for," says Erhart. "I think the people I am trying to target are very much the people Fairway is trying to target."

Indeed, the tipping point of the neighborhood may be the store - a 52,000-square-foot food market set in a restored Civil War-era building with reach-out-and-touch-the-Statue-of-Liberty views.

"Red Hook is a lost gem," says Howie Glickberg, co-owner of Fairway. "It was one of the few spots where we could get the space we needed, and we're helping the boom of Red Hook by creating 300 new jobs."

In addition to its line of gourmet foods, dry goods and produce, this Fairway will feature a kosher butcher, an in-house coffee roaster, a 5,000-square-foot room dedicated to organics and, eventually, a second-floor restaurant and café. To help New Yorkers get there, Fairway has contracted with New York Water Taxi for ferry service (tickets cost $5 each way), and will have parking for 400 cars.

While Fairway stocks its shelves, the community continues to thrive. Residents congregate at the Hope and Anchor, a local joint for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and karaoke) and meet for strong coffee and freshly frosted cupcakes at Baked, a sleek urban bakery. If the sweets give way to a need for something a bit stronger, there's LeNell's, a cozy wine and cocktail shop owned by LeNell Smothers, an Alabama transplant.

Smothers will teach you the ins and outs of bourbon (she has more than 100 in stock), show you how to make a proper mint julep, and take you through her collection of small-production wines.

"I wanted to create a cocktail haven for the home and professional bartender and a store featuring small family wineries," Smothers says. "But I also wanted to be in a neighborhood with a sense of community, where I could afford to own a home and have a business and get to know my customers."

A subway and bus ride away in Red Hook, she's found it all.

May 8th, 2006, 01:53 PM
Water Taxi heads to Fairway
By Ariella Cohen
The Brooklyn Papers

Who needs the highway to get to Fairway?

A new weekend ferry service to bring Manhattanites to the new market — and perhaps to sample Red Hook’s other attractions — began last weekend.

“I had no idea about this place, it’s really beautiful,” said ferry rider John Bedan.

The newly renovated New York Water Taxi terminal sits at the foot of Van Brunt Street — facing the soon-to-open gourmet emporium.

Passengers will be able to stop in Red Hook, or hop a ride to Brooklyn’s Fulton Ferry Landing, or to Lower Manhattan, 17 times each Saturday and Sunday — a tourist-friendly schedule created with an eye towards the market, as well as the city’s plans to connect the notoriously hard-to-reach waterfront neighborhood to future parks in Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights and Governor’s Island.

A receipt from Fairway — expected to open on May 17 — will earn ferry passengers a $3 discount. Operators are hoping it’s enough of a deal to lure Manhattan’s Fresh Direct shoppers to the converted Civil-War era warehouse store.

“My brother is always saying what a pain it is to get to Red Hook, but when he got off the ferry he was like, ‘That was easy,’” crowed Red Hook resident Katie Dixon. “It was 15 minutes door-to-door from his apartment in the financial district to Red Hook.”

Not only residents and tourists are impressed. Last month, the federal Small Business Administration awarded the Fairway site’s developer, Greg O’Connell, its “Small Business of the Year” award, citing his role in “turning Red Hook into New York’s hottest new neighborhood.”

The opening coincided with the second docking of the Queen Mary 2 at its pier at the foot of Pioneer Street. Some passengers were a little too enthusiastic.

“We got e-mails from cruise ship passengers who wanted to catch the ferry in Manhattan and take it to the dock at Red Hook,” said NY Water Taxi president Tom Fox. “But the walk is too long with baggage.”

This week, Ikea unveiled its plans for transporting shoppers to its big-box store on the waterfront — slated to open in the summer of 2008. In response to concerns about the traffic impact of its gigantic blue-and-yellow store, the Swedish furniture retailer said it will shuttle shoppers to the distant F and G train station at Smith and Ninth Street, and provide a non-stop ferry from their site to lower Manhattan.

Ikea’s ferry will be free — with the right shopping bag, of course.

May 8th, 2006, 02:53 PM
This week, Ikea unveiled its plans for transporting shoppers to its big-box store on the waterfront — slated to open in the summer of 2008 ... the Swedish furniture retailer said it will shuttle shoppers to the distant F and G train station at Smith and Ninth Street, and provide a non-stop ferry from their site to lower Manhattan.

Ikea’s ferry will be free — with the right shopping bag, of course.

Water taxi's are great idea -- although the return trip might make for some interesting crowding on board.

May 9th, 2006, 09:29 AM
Basicly, all of Red Hook is a disgusting and run down place. Not safe there at day, not safe there at night.

May 9th, 2006, 10:01 AM
Basicly, all of Red Hook is a disgusting and run down place. Not safe there at day, not safe there at night.

Tell us what you really think. :rolleyes:

May 11th, 2006, 10:40 PM
Red Hook is a sucky bad neighbrohood. People not from the area i expect to say 'oooh its a nice place, its not bad'. Forget that, if your not from the area dont speak of it. I lived on Columbia Street, seen how it changed. Nothing but roving gangs and has a high drug crime rate.

To everyone:

Red Hook is a BAD neighborhood. That, and South Brooklyn. It's run down, the water is absolutly disgusting and polluted.

May 11th, 2006, 10:58 PM
I lived on Columbia Street...
How long ago?

...seen how it changed.
For better or worse?

Nothing but roving gangs and has a high drug crime rate.
Nothing but?

May 12th, 2006, 08:51 PM
-about 7 months ago, recently moved to Astoria, Queens.


-more then half.

May 13th, 2006, 01:29 AM
Here is a family who seem to enjoy living in Red Hook...

An Unlikely Paradise, Right Around the Corner

Elizabeth and Mark Ehrhardt and
their children, Charlotte, 8, and
Jasper, 5. Through a lucky break,
they got to buy a house in Red
Hook. "There's a lot of kismet in
our lives," Mr. Ehrhardt said.

Published: May 14, 2006

MARK AND ELIZABETH EHRHARDT and their two children see bright stars in the night sky when they look out their windows deep in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

"When was the last time you did that in this city?" Mrs. Ehrhardt said on a recent morning, standing in her loftlike living room, her strawberry blond hair bubbling off her head. "Everywhere else, there's too much light. It amazed me when I first saw the stars."

Inhaling smoke from a Camel, Mr. Ehrhardt said: "There's a lot of kismet in our lives. We have plans and ambitions like anyone else, but so many of the good things that happen to us are by happenstance and coincidence."

For instance, there's the immaculately renovated, plain-Jane town house the family lives in with their dog, Cricket. It's just off Van Brunt Street, a few blocks up from a soon-to-open Fairway supermarket that's causing residents to bemoan the expected traffic at the same time they look forward to being able to buy organic vegetables and aged balsamic vinegar, items not traditionally associated with Red Hook.

This is the Ehrhardts' third year on the waterfront, and their Volkswagen Passat has the mileage to prove it, since this part of Brooklyn is a 30-minute walk to the nearest subway. Late last summer, the Ehrhardts were living in a rental around the corner, but they wanted more space.

Most mornings Mr. Ehrhardt, 39, would head to Movers Not Shakers, his moving company on Columbia Street. Mrs. Ehrhardt, 36, would then carve out time from taking care of Jasper, 5, and Charlotte, 8, to surf propertyshark.com and other Web sites for housing bargains. She didn't find any.

Often, when the couple were out taking Cricket for a walk, they would pass a certain dilapidated two-story town house nearby.

"We thought it was a cute little thing," said Mrs. Ehrhardt, who favors teal biker boots and outlandish coats, including a fake white fur that wouldn't look out of place on a Palm Beach doyenne visiting New York for the winter holidays.

One day the couple noticed that a construction crew was gutting the house, and they assumed they had missed out on buying it.

Then by chance, Scott Baker, a neighbor who keeps up with what's happening in the community, walked into LeNell's, the eccentric Red Hook liquor store that's known for stocking more varieties of bourbon than a Kentucky colonel ever heard of. He asked Tonya LeNell Smothers, the proprietor, if she knew anyone who deserved a good deal on a good house. She recommended the Ehrhardts, perhaps in part because Mr. Ehrhardt had recently given her a good price on moving a big piece of furniture.

It turned out the little house that Mrs. Ehrhardt thought was so cute was being renovated by the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council as a public service. The Ehrhardts applied for the privilege of buying it at cost: the $90,000 purchase price and more than $400,000 in renovations.

They learned last November that the house was theirs. It's not a fancy "brownstone Brooklyn original crown moldings" sort of place.

It has a stubby concrete stoop, and polyurethaned Home Depot style doors and kitchen cabinets that might look at home in a suburban apartment complex. The windows are small. The backyard is paved and lifeless except for some raised planting beds that Mr. Ehrhardt recently built from lumber salvaged from a house down the block.

But it is a private house that has been renovated from top to bottom. It has two stories with a large master suite, a bedroom for each child and a finished basement that will be the perfect place for teenage angst.

What's more, the parents feel a sense of community in the neighborhood, and the children, who go to elementary school in nearby Cobble Hill, can walk down to the beach and have seaweed fights with clear views of the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island and Lower Manhattan. On a recent day a neighbor brought kayaks to the beach and let all the children paddle around.

The house is an unlikely paradise for the Ehrhardts, who a few years ago hardly knew that Red Hook existed. They had both lived in Manhattan for years when, in the summer of 2001, they made plans to trade their cramped one-bedroom rental in Hell's Kitchen for a two-bedroom rental in a grand old brick and wrought-iron building in Cobble Hill.

Mr. Ehrhardt, who plays drums in a rock band called the Saloonatics NYC, feared that he would ache for the street life, excitement and crowds of Manhattan if the family moved across the river. But Mrs. Ehrhardt was weary of struggling around Manhattan with strollers and toddlers. She prevailed.

Then came Sept. 11. To safeguard a subway power station, the police closed the Ehrhardts' block of West 53rd Street, and this delayed their move until October. When they finally got to Brooklyn, their apartment near the East River looked out on plumes of smoke rather than the Twin Towers.

"Still, Brooklyn felt leafy and safe," Mrs. Ehrhardt said.

Her husband added, "It took me just 48 hours to open up to the trees, the space and the light — the sky was so big it was like being in Montana."

In the new apartment, their younger child staged a sleep strike when they tried to wean him. To lull him, Mr. Ehrhardt would pile him into the car and meander around. One night he ended up in a desolate neighborhood of low-rise houses and vast Civil War-era warehouses that seemed to border an endless expanse of water.

"It felt undiscovered," Mr. Ehrhardt said. He later realized that he was in Red Hook, and after exploring a bit more, he and his wife were so taken with it that they decided to relocate.

In 2004, Mrs. Ehrhardt, who has what she considers a healthy passion for real estate, found a most peculiar house. She describes it as a "shrunken raised ranch house" of the sort you can find in many suburbs. But it had been crammed into the backyard of a 19th-century tenement on Van Brunt Street.

Although the yard was concrete, not grass, and it had a view of a wall, the Ehrhardts thought it was a nice $1,800-a-month, 1,200-square-foot home.

When the landlords put the whole parcel on the market, the Ehrhardts realized their days were numbered.

Not long after that, they were the new owners of a well-priced house that they hadn't even known was for sale. And they're happy. "Red Hook is less planned than other neighborhoods," Mrs. Ehrhardt said. "Things don't always fit together perfectly here, which is comforting to me."

The Ehrhardts believe that they are living through a special time in Red Hook, with a lot of opposing forces, including cruise ship operators, Ikea and local families who like the status quo all battling to determine the future of the neighborhood. But they aren't too worried.

"It's still got a working-class mentality around here that I like, with glassblowers, carpenters and artists," Mrs. Ehrhardt said. "It's a place where you can be yourself."

Mark and Elizabeth Ehrhardt's
newly renovated house is not
a fancy "brownstone Brooklyn
original crown moldings" sort
of place, but they were able
to buy it at cost, for around

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

May 13th, 2006, 03:06 AM
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/05/14/realestate/14habi2JPG.jpgDamn. Red Hook roving gangs are getting younger and younger.:rolleyes:

May 13th, 2006, 07:44 AM
That's a relief. I have a close relation moving into Red Hook this very day.

We all know how trustworthy assurances of a place's safety have been at times past on this forum. This assurance seems genuine and plausible.

May 13th, 2006, 11:12 PM
That family oviously loves to live in a slum.


May 14th, 2006, 06:51 AM
Although it is far from the point when decline began (I lived nearby then), it has not gotten much worse in the short time you lived there.

It needs a lot of help, but conditions have improved over the recent past. It is on the way up, not down.

May 21st, 2006, 03:03 PM

On the waterfront…

A former Civil War-era warehouse in Red Hook has become home to a new 52,000-square-foot supermarket with high hopes of transforming the once-deserted riverside area into a thriving commercial corridor.

The grand opening of the borough’s first Fairway at 480-500 Van Brunt Street, was marked by a program of welcome and celebration by the close-knit community, much of which hailed the $25 million partnership between the store and local developer Greg O’Connell, which boasts a five-story building and spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, plus the Manhattan skyline.

O’Connell played happy host to a steady stream of shoppers and well-wishers, who poured in throughout the day – among them Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall and area firefighters from Ladder Company 202.

“We’re really thrilled to be coming to Red Hook and we think we can become an anchor to this community and bring about a renaissance in Red Hook,” said Dan Glickberg, a junior partner in the supermarket and great-grandson of Fairway Founder Nathan Glickberg.

Glickberg, who loaded a cart with items as he shopped at the store with his father, Howard, added that about 150 people from the immediate area had already been hired.

Nathan Glickberg opened the first Fairway in 1940 as fruit and vegetable shop at West 74th Street and Broadway where it still stands. The Brooklyn Fairway offers a large selection of high quality fish, meats, baked goods, fresh produce, cheeses, coffees, plus gourmet and organic foods, at lower prices than its competitors because of Fairway’s policy of buying directly from the farmers and producers.

The store is open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

May 29th, 2006, 04:51 PM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Red Hook drug trade $50M a yr.
Friday, May 26th, 2006

Red Hook drug dealers were making as much as $140,000 a day - $50 million a year - until an undercover sting brought them down this year, District Attorney Charles Hynes said yesterday. Despite the real estate boom in Red Hook and the opening of a new Fairway market and a cruise ship terminal, drug dealers were terrifying tenants of the Red Hook Houses.
"Despite all the changes, the residents were under siege by drug gangs," said Hynes, describing the booming drug business. "The numbers are astounding."

Flanked by Red Hook residents, Hynes announced a 374-count indictment against 143 people, saying he would seek maximum sentences of up to 25 years to life in prison for dealers who used minors to sell crack, heroin, marijuana and powdered cocaine.

"We're not going to tolerate people in our community to be treated as second-class citizens," he said. "They are the real victims.

"It's not going to be permitted for drug dealers to hold them captive."

The flourishing drug trade run by more than 150 dealers is four times the $12 million take estimated last month at a news conference by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly when he announced the massive Police Department-district attorney's office bust.

But residents were not so sure the benefits of the drug busts, though appreciated, would stand the test of time.

"There's a slight difference," said Andrea McKnight, 61, who described how she saw youths grow up in the houses and turn into drug dealers during her 37 years there.

"After a while, they stop looking at you. It's sad for us also," she added.

"I don't know if it's going to last. Drugs have always been there."

She and other residents described having to dodge gunfire and violence to avoid getting harmed in drug disputes, and having to bypass areas where drug deals were going down.

Hynes said the gangs divided the houses into 17 sections and 32 buildings to conduct business.

He said the dealers collectively decided who was allowed to sell drugs, where, the cost and how lower-level dealers would get paid.

Frances Brown, a patrol officer at the houses, said the area is much less dangerous since the arrests.

"It feels much better," she said.

capoeta cypher
June 11th, 2006, 11:20 PM
Here is a family who seem to enjoy living in Red Hook...
An Unlikely Paradise, Right Around the Corner

A lot of people like to live in their own neighborhoods, but do they get reported on the news about it? No. The only reason they are getting media attention on it is because they know that Red Hook is a bad area.

August 13th, 2006, 12:55 AM
Yale on Hook: Park and park

A vision for Red Hook designed by Yale architecture students E. Sean Bailey, Shelly Zhang and Jacob Reidel.

By Dana Rubinstein

The Brooklyn Papers

What do you get when you put the future of Red Hook into the hands of some of the Ivy League’s brightest young architects? A big parking lot.

Sadly, that’s what happened when a Yale professor asked his School of Architecture graduate students to plan the future of the historic neighborhood.

The CarPark plan — one of a handful of ideas drawn up by the students — calls for turning 143 acres of Red Hook into a parking lot and another 143 acres into a park (together, that comes to almost half of the neighborhood’s 680 acres). The plan would create an additional 31,021 parking spots, or 3.4 spots per dwelling unit.

The plan is one of a handful on display at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition’s Summer art show.

Those with a personal stake — rather than academic curiosity — in Red Hook were dumbfounded.

“Wow, is that what they’re teaching at Yale?” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6. “I can’t imagine worse public policy.”

Other student suggestions for the Hook included a theme park, a “naturalistic recreation park with camping,” an animal preserve, and big box stores spread evenly throughout the Hook, rather than congregated near the waterfront.

BWAC’s Summer art show (499 Van Brunt St., between Reed Street and the water) continues on weekends through Aug. 20, from 1 to 7 pm.

Professor Edward Mitchell and his students will be on hand on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 4 pm for an artists’ talk.

Copyright BrooklynPapers.com (http://www.brooklynpapers.com/index.html)

August 14th, 2006, 12:30 PM
http://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/2006/08/12/arts/12hook_CA0.600.jpg Drawing from Yale School of Architecture
Teams of Yale architecture students have envisioned the Red Hook shoreline as a center for ecotourism.


August 12, 2006
Yale Students Imagine the Future of Red Hook

The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, based in Red Hook, operates one of the rawest exhibition spaces in New York City: a corner of the Beard Street Warehouse, an 1869 complex of storehouses built of rough-cut schist on reclaimed marshland. The galleries have no air-conditioning or heating. Light enters through arched iron shutters and bounces off wooden ceiling beams and support columns. Electric fans provide feeble ventilation.

The space is a remnant of Red Hook’s long-faded status as one of the country’s busiest shipping centers. Settled by the Dutch in 1636, the area exploded with maritime activity after the completion of the Erie Canal, which established a connection between the New York harbor and the Midwest, in 1825. In the warehouse dock workers once carted raw sugar, spices, flax, hemp, jute, rubber, leather, dried fruit, seeds, coffee and cocoa.

But by the 1950’s, with the decline in grain traffic and the completion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which cut the neighborhood off from the rest of Brooklyn, Red Hook began a long demise, which has only recently been halted by gentrification.

A new show in the coalition’s gritty exhibition site tries to reimagine the future of Red Hook, taking account of the area’s waterfront location, on Upper New York Bay, and of trends in urban planning and architectural design. It is on view on weekends through Aug. 20 as part of the coalition’s summer show, “Food for ... a Feast for the Eyes.”

The Red Hook exhibition arose from a spring-semester studio class at the Yale School of Architecture that was organized around the theme of urbanism, but unlike other academic exercises, it focused on more than the merely theoretical.

Like other gentrifying neighborhoods, Red Hook is in the throes of rapid social and economic change. In April a terminal for giant luxury cruise ships opened on Pier 12, which had been part of the last remaining container-shipping terminal in Brooklyn. In May a 52,000-square-foot Fairway grocery store, with a 300-space parking lot, opened at the foot of Van Brunt Street. Ikea, the Swedish furniture company, plans to build its largest store there, on a 22-acre site that was once a shipyard and dry dock.

At the mouth of the Erie Basin, on a pier next to the warehouse’s pier, a developer wants to replace a long-shuttered sugar factory with loft-style apartments, offices and stores.

In 10 proposals the Yale students, who are entering the last year of a three-year master’s program in architecture, responded to those developments in varying ways. The results are on view in the form of computer renderings and paper models.

One team tried to disperse and integrate the big-box stores into the historic neighborhood, rather than reject them — although that was an option. In its proposal a doughnut-shaped Wal-Mart has a public square at its center, connected to the street by a colorful archway. Nearby, a giant self-storage building has a running track and a park on its roof, within view of the expressway overhead.

“Most people see these stores as a negative when they come into their neighborhoods,” said James Tate, 26, who developed that proposal with Harris Ford and Sini Kamppari. “By taking those types of stores and combining them with other kinds of large-scale public space — everything from parks to gardens — you could create a new form of public space, which could actually benefit the city.”

Another proposal envisions using new paving materials that allow vegetation to grow between the pavement’s squares, to create an adaptable landscape that could be used for sports fields, farmers’ markets and parking for 31,000 vehicles.

“There is a great potential for big-box stores to do good, to be a positive force in urban areas, to move from the fringe into a place in the urban fabric, as long as it’s handled in a sensitive manner,” said Neil Sondgeroth, 24, who designed the proposal with Weston Walker.

(Mr. Sondgeroth cited Le Corbusier as an inspiration, but he admitted that he was also influenced by his current part-time job in the hardware department of a sprawling Lowe’s home-improvement store on the outskirts of New Haven.)

Perhaps the most fantastic proposal conceives of Red Hook as a “self-contained world that operates on its own logic,” according to Jacob Reidel, 27, who collaborated with E. Sean Bailey and Shelley Zhang. The three were fascinated by model-railroad hobbyists, who create neatly ordered worlds.

“It’s not a far stretch to see those impulses guiding not just Robert Moses, but more contemporary planners as well,” Mr. Reidel said.

Their proposal would preserve a core of historic buildings but erect a thin “curtain” of high-rise buildings directly to their east. On the other side of the curtain, the Red Hook Houses — one of the city’s oldest and largest public housing projects, built in 1938 — would be reconfigured into suburban-style “bungalows” reminiscent of those in early streetcar suburbs. Farther east and south would be an “agricultural zone”: community gardening on a grand scale.

Edward Mitchell, who organized the exhibition, praised the students’ willingness to indulge in the implausible. “They have the advantage of being able to be visionary, and not getting caught up in the real-world stuff too early,” said Mr. Mitchell, an adjunct assistant professor of architecture at Yale. “The interesting part of any urban vision is it rarely gets built, but that vision may feed the thinking of the public over a longer term.”

The Bloomberg administration, which has been squabbling with the operator of the Red Hook container terminal over the city’s plans for redevelopment of the waterfront piers, seems to have taken no notice of the exhibition, but it has drawn some buzz — not all positive — since it opened on July 22.

The exhibition was featured on Curbed, a blog at www.curbed.com that focuses on real estate, prompting several residents to express alarm. “As an architect who lives in Red Hook, all I can say is ... please stop!!!” one person wrote on the Web site. Another asked: “Do they teach context in architecture school anymore? Or do they just teach people to pursue an egotistical vision no matter what the impact is on people?”

Steve McFarland, who runs a blog called B61 Productions, at www.b61productions.com, named for a bus line that serves Red Hook, said that the griping was understandable, because both longtime residents and urban pioneers feared being engulfed by big-box stores and the resulting traffic — or displaced by rising rents. “Nobody is taking into account the history of the place in their plans,” he said.

Others saw the show in a different light. Anna M. Hagen, a sculptor who lives in Ditmas Park and is a vice president of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, said the students’ proposals would have been preferable to what she sees as the haphazard development now taking place.

“If Yale had presented these drawings three years ago, and Red Hook had a possibility of choosing among them, it would have been a beautiful thing,” she said.

August 14th, 2006, 05:04 PM
Two articles on the same phenomenon. You'd never know it if you left out the names.

Were the two reporters looking at the same exhibit? Were they on the same planet? What was one of them smoking?

I don't have any trouble deciding which one to believe.

The other is yellow journalism.

September 30th, 2006, 12:05 PM
How is this a relaxing place? One of the worst ghettos in NYC and one of the ugliest areas of the city. I'd much rather be in Central Park relaxing by the lake. You wouldn't cath me walking through there much less sitting there waiting to get shot.


October 12th, 2006, 05:53 PM
Red Hook’s not so bad. A close relation lives there. He showed me around.

After I saw it, I advised him to get together a down payment so he could invest in a place with a lucrative future. Truth is, to my eye its present is even better than its future. Reason: you can still read so much of its past.

RED HOOK: a village in the city.

Almost a ghost town. When the port died, the longshoremen left:

On cobbled streets, brick rowhouses freshened with vinyl amid disused warehouses:
Working class taste.

Other houses departed, leaving gaps:

Artists arrived seeking cheap space. An artist’s stash:

Recycled junk, like Red Hook itself:

Best way to arrive is New York Water Taxi. Too bad it only runs to Red Hook on weekends:

A scene of tragic decay waits to greet you. Rusting streetcars and Civil War warehouse:

Appalachia in Brooklyn. Battered, beat up, crumbly, damaged, decayed, decrepit, dog eared, faded, fallen in, injured, marred, neglected, old, ramshackle, rickety, run-down, seedy, shabby, threadbare, tumble-down, unkempt.

But not: broken-down, crummy, decaying, dingy, impaired, ratty, raunchy, rinky-dink, ruined, ruinous, shaky, slummy, tacky, uncared for, unimproved, used up, worn-out.

Where else can you find Christmas lights strung across the street in August?
At once forlorn and funky.

Streetcars are exactly what subwayless Red Hook needs; its underpopulation can be partly explained by how hard it is to get to. One resident realized this, formed a small collection of PCCs, and even laid some track. But the regulators would have none of it. So here, picturesquely and tantalizingly, they rust on the pier where you arrive by water taxi:

October 12th, 2006, 05:54 PM
To keep them company, the adjacent Fairway supermarket has set out picnic tables where you can eat your deli fixins. Here on the ground floor of a Civil War warehouse is ensconced the biggest and best supermarket I’ve ever seen…and it’s in Red Hook!

Those streetcars arrived at the ferry dock on these tracks. They should be in use:

Also in Red Hook, you’ll find another form of transport:

And there’s even a small container port, last remnant of a once bustling waterfront:

Downtown Brooklyn skyline tantalizes. So near and yet so far…

Inauspicious surroundings for disembarkation:
Welcome to New York!

Van Brunt, the main street, is well equipped with trees and cobbles. You can tell the yuppies are arriving by looking at the cars:

Though other vehicles might make you think you’re in Durham:

Other yuppies sell things to their comrades:

October 12th, 2006, 05:57 PM
Gentrification caught in the act:

Some can afford to build themselves houses. Concrete block, double-height piano nobile, spiral stair, security fence and ramp in place of stoop:
Check out the plywood portico next door, and the industrial-grade graffiti.

Directly across the street, the look of prosperity comes all the way from Italy:

How more of it used to be before the big depopulation. It once so greatly resembled Hoboken that On the Waterfront –supposedly set in Red Hook—was actually filmed in Hoboken. Carpetbagger’s Benz:

Walled-up storefronts await re-opening:

Waiting for a building. Mr. Scarano, where are you?

View from the Red Hook ferry:

Red Hook with two skylines:
(Maybe really a skyline and a half.)

All in all: Red Hook is pretty nice. I'd live there. But I would need a car.

October 12th, 2006, 07:31 PM
Thanks for another wonderful photo tour, ablarc.

Did you happen to pass by this block? It was voted 8th best in New York City by Time Out NY:

8 Coffey Street between Conover and Ferris Streets, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook isn’t everybody’s thing, and that’s a huge part of what draws people here. The combination of community, sea air, the bustling waterfront and, in recent years, plenty of cool places to eat and drink offset the distance to the subway—especially if you call this stretch of Coffey Street home. The quaint townhouses are nestled amid peace and quiet (and birdsongs!), and the warehouse on the block adds to the industrial vibe without being grotty. Granted, life is easier here with a car (or at least a bike), but residents get a singular New York City flavor in a highly unusual setting. Bonus: +3 points for the amazing view, especially at the end of Coffey Street on Valentino Pier—where you’ll find people fishing, launching canoes and kayaks, or taking in fireworks, with Lady Liberty’s front side about as close as you’ll see it from land.

October 12th, 2006, 07:55 PM
Did you happen to pass by this block? It was voted 8th best in New York City by Time Out NY: 8 Coffey Street between Conover and Ferris Streets, Red Hook, Brooklyn
One side of this block is factories. It's like much of Red Hook: a highly refined but acquirable taste --like eating kidneys.

TimeOut cultivates that kind of worldliness.

October 13th, 2006, 01:32 PM
...plenty of cool places to eat and drink...
Filled to the brim with good vibes, Hope and Anchor dispenses vittles as warm and comforting as the surroundings they're served in. Whatever their provenance the customers all morph seamlessly into old shoes. You'll find geriatric hippies in grey ponytails, artists in animated conversation, and dudes in dreadlocks hunched over heaping breakfasts and overflowing lunch plates; a New York rendition of Alice's Restaurant.

October 13th, 2006, 02:00 PM
Light surface rail with connections to the subway system should do wonders for this area - and frankly, any neighborhood without good subway service in this city. The Westside of Manhattan is another one of those areas.

October 14th, 2006, 12:38 AM
Light surface rail with connections to the subway system should do wonders for this area
Well, that's what all those old PCC streetcars were all about. The guy who collected them tried for twenty years to get the city to allow him to run them as you describe. Brooklyn would have had its version of San Francisco's F-Line, the historic streetcars that rumble from Fisherman's Wharf via the Embarcadero and Market Street to the Castro.

Scroll down.

October 20th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Mickey Mouse plan
Critics rip Disneyesque theme park on Red Hook piers

By Ariella Cohen
The Brooklyn Papers

Elected officials from Washington to City Hall this week derided Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to turn the Red Hook and Cobble Hill waterfront into a maritime-themed tourist attraction as “Disney on the Waterfront.”

And one Red Hooker described the plan as “a pimping of the waterfront.”

“The history of maritime trade is as old as prostitution and it looks like the maritime trades are about to be prostituted,” said Tom Kerr, a resident of Beard Street.

The criticism is a reaction to city plans to oust the area’s remaing cargo business and transform the fenced-off working waterfront into a phantasmagoria of family-friendly attractions, housing and restaurants.

“This is part of a scheme for a New York with as few blue-collar jobs as possible,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Coney Island) at a public hearing last week on the plan’s environmental impact.

A spokesman for the company that operates the area’s last working cargo port sees Bloomberg’s plan as a plot against Democratic union jobs.

“It’s a dollars-for-developers scheme from a Republican administration with no interest in keeping good jobs in Brooklyn,” said Matt Yates, director of operations for American Stevedoring, which is facing eviction next March from the publicly owned piers.

The city Economic Development Corporation says it can create 3,000 new service sector jobs — and housing for 700 people — by evicting ASI and its several hundred full-time longshoremen.

The cranes operated by those dockworkers would disappear to also make way for a 250-room hotel on a currently inaccessible stretch of waterfront west of Columbia Street.

A smaller working port, with 100 jobs, would be retained.

Residents who testified at last week’s Community Board 6 hearing cautioned against rezoning the waterfront for residential development.

“There are other places to put housing,” said Dan Wiley, spokesman for Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Sunset Park).

Others complained that development would overcrowd schools and parks, taking a large toll on the quality of life in a neighborhood that is slowly regaining a residential population that vanished after World War II.

“We need the peaceful waterfront community and good schools that we have spent the last forever fighting for,” said Grace Seifman, who has lived in the neighborhood for nearly a decade. “We don’t need more housing blocking our views, another theme park or a South Street Seaport.”

But city planners promise that their theme park will be suited to the historic character of the dockyard community. One proposal, by PortSide NewYork, includes cafes, a maritime-themed shop and two salvaged, historic ships where students and tourists would learn about waterfront trade.

“There is space in Red Hook for a hinge between the world of recreation … and the world of work, because there is still a thriving industrial waterfront there,” said Elaine Carmichael, a planner on the project.

Meanwhile, ASI is trying to hold onto its working-port turf.

“I don’t know if the city is trying to kill maritime industry in Brooklyn, but this plan will certainly hurt it,” said Edward Kelly, president of the Maritime Association, which represents 400 maritime businesses, including ASI.

“It’s fairly obvious that forcing one of the last port operators to leave will do irreparable harm.”

October 21st, 2006, 02:34 AM
Well Port Newark, Port Elizabeth, and Port Jersey better get ready to make more room for more cranes, people, jobs, and ships.

October 22nd, 2006, 02:56 PM
Anyone have any pictures of this scheme?

The container port ain't much.

October 22nd, 2006, 04:39 PM
Recent articles from the NY Observer ...

Public Meeting for Piers (http://therealestate.observer.com/2006/10/public-meeting-for-piers.html)

Matthew Grace
October 12, 2006


The New York City Economic Development Corporation will hold a scoping meeting tonight at the Long Island College Hospital at 6 p.m. for the planned development on Piers 7 through 12 on the Carroll Gardens and Red Hook waterfront. The E.D.C. has some grand plans for the development -- from parks to housing and waterfront access.

Critics of the plan point out that it doesn't provide any additional housing in Red Hook -- instead it will generate more traffic, which is a bone of contention that Red Hookers have been pleading to the city about for months. (Readers of this blog will rememember our coverage of a Fairway-related traffic fatality earlier this year and the D.O.T.'s seeming complacency.)

It's a guaranteed packed house; emotions are sure to run high! Turn off that damn TV and show up. It's better than Lost!


On the Waterfront

therealestate.observer.com (http://therealestate.observer.com/2006/10/on-the-waterfront.html)
Matthew Grace
October 13, 2006


Representative Jerry Nadler came out swinging last night at the scoping meeting for the New York Economic Development Corporation's planned redevelopment for Piers 7 through 10 on the Carroll Gardens / Red Hook Waterfront. Mr. Nadler opposed the transformation of Pier 10 -- currently used for maritime shipping -- into a second cruise-ship terminal and 250-room hotel.

Citing the vulnerability of the Kill Van Kull -- which connects Newark Bay and the Upper New York Bay and is the principal access for container ships to the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the 15th-busiest port in the world -- Mr. Nadler said that the shipping operations must continue in Brooklyn. "The Kill Van Kull is too narrow and shallow for the [metropolitan] area to depend on it," Mr. Nadler said, noting that if by accident or terrorism a ship sunk in the narrow straight, the economy of the region would be seriously affected. The Red Hook piers would be needed if any traffic to New Jersey is disrupted.

Mr. Nadler also emphasized the importance of retaining blue-collar jobs in the area, calling the redevelopment a "mad vision of New York where there are as few blue-collar jobs as possible" to thunderous applause from the audience of area residents, business owners and union workers from the nearby docks.

Matt Yates, the director of American Group RHCT, echoed Mr. Nadler's sentiments, saying that the city is failing to fully appreciate the effects of a port closure. "This is a quick and dirty process where the Republican administration wants to wrest control of public property." The land is question is owned by the Port Authority, a state agency, and is leased out to American Stevedoring.

Shortly after Mr. Yates spoke, E.D.C. vice president Kate Ascher left the meeting--before area residents could address her.

The E.D.C.'s plan includes 350 units of housing on the west side of Columbia Street between Atlantic Avenue and Degraw Street. Reactions from area residents were mixed; while most agreed that more housing was desirable, there was concern that the units would be market-rate, and that current views from Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens would be blocked. Several speakers, including John McGettrick of the Red Hook Civic Association, noted that Red Hook, across the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to the south, is in desperate need of new housing and residential buildings should be developed there.

Other speakers at the meeting insisted that the E.D.C. try to develop a plan that would not decrease the number of waterfront jobs. The plan currently would allow Piers 7 through 9 to continue shipping operations.

Mr. Yates, outside the meeting, expressed confidence that the development plan would ultimately stall. "It's bound to fail," he said, noting that with the probable election of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to the Governorship later this year, the P.A. would quit "dancing to the development whims of the Mayor."

The E.D.C. hopes to begin the land-use review process later this year, with a vote from the City Council by next summer. Land acquisition would follow shortly thereafter.

Key from the E.D.C..'s draft E.I.S.:

Parcel A: This approximately 49-acre parcel would be dedicated entirely to marine terminal and industrial/manufacturing uses. It is anticipated that Pier 7 would include a brewery, and an associated 40,000 sf beer garden. Piers 8, 9A and 9B would be utilized for warehouse/distribution, a general cargo pier for containers and break bulk cargo and other similar uses. The uses on this parcel would be predominantly maritime in nature, with warehousing and shipment functions. The approximately 623,200 sf of floor area in the three existing pier sheds are assumed to be re-used for these uses, while the remainder of the lot area is assumed to continue being utilized by marine terminal/container/storage activity.

Parcel B: Passenger cruise ship terminal on Pier 10, as well as an approximately 250-room hotel with approximately 40,000 sf of conference/meeting facilities, and approximately 2 acres of open space are assumed to occupy this parcel.

Parcel C: For this parcel, the RWCDS assumes approximately 71,400 sf of light industrial, warehousing and office uses.

Parcel D: For analysis purposes, this small parcel is assumed to be occupied by space for artists and galleries, with an estimated 24,000 sf.

Parcel E: As shown in Table 1, the RWCDS assumptions for this parcel consist of approximately 34,700 sf of retail uses, and a total of 152,400 sf of light industrial, warehousing and office uses.

Parcel F: This parcel is assumed to be occupied by up to approximately 147,200 sf of light industrial and warehousing uses.

Parcel G: This parcel, which is the only parcel located directly on Atlantic Basin, would accommodate a variety of uses that would create a Dynamic Maritime Marketplace concept, including retail, markets, restaurants, performing arts, education (a 25,000 sf trade school), arts and crafts, light industrial, office, maritime (marine services, ship repair, fueling, boat lift, ferry, etc), recreation, a marina with up to 200 slips, and open space uses. Some of those uses would re-use the existing 168,000 sf shed on Pier 11.

Parcels H and I: These two small parcels, located at the back of two existing buildings on Imlay Street, are assumed to accommodate cafes/restaurants.

Parcel J: This parcel is assumed to be occupied by approximately 50,400 sf of retail, and up to 96,800 sf of light industrial/warehousing uses.

Parcel K: Artists studios, arts and crafts, retail, restaurant, office and maritime uses are assumed to occupy this parcel, totaling up to approximately 177,100 sf.

Parcel K: Artists studios, arts and crafts, retail, restaurant, office and maritime uses are assumed to occupy this parcel, totaling up to approximately 177,100 sf.

Parcel L: This parcel is occupied by the new cruise ship terminal on Pier 12, and would remain unchanged under future With-Action conditions.

Parcel M: The RWCDS assumes that the two existing office buildings between Kane and Warren Streets, which are currently occupied by offices for the Port Authority and the Waterfront Commission, would remain. These offices are estimated to consist of approximately 61,700 sf. The remainder of the parcel is assumed to be developed with approximately 37,700 sf of ground floor retail and approximately 350 dwelling units (assuming 1,000 gsf per unit).
copyright © 2006 the new york observer, L.P.

October 22nd, 2006, 04:52 PM
curbed has some stories: http://www.curbed.com/archives/2006/10/18/red_hook_piers_smackdown_update.php

Some more info here: http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/

A pdf with all sorts of schemes (beyond just Red Hook): http://www.rpa.org/pdf/BWGsummary020105.pdf

Courtesy Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
The proposed path of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative would span 14 miles
of waterfront and transverse many varied neighborhoods.

October 22nd, 2006, 04:56 PM
A Place That Matters: Red Hook Graving Dock


brownstoner.com (http://brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2006/10/a_place_that_ma.html)
October 17, 2006

In an effort to advocate for "places in New York City that preserve history and sustain culture," the Municipal Art Society (http://mas.org/), in partnership with organization called City Lore, publishes a website called Placematters.net (http://www.placematters.net/flash/home.htm). Readers are invited to nominate locations that they think fit the description.

This week, for example, the Red Hook Graving Dock — currently on the verge of being demolished to make way for the IKEA parking lot — gets special attention, having been submitted by Mary Habstritt:

As of October, 2006, Graving Dock No. 1 is the only structure still standing to remind us of the mighty Todd Shipyards Corporation, once a nationwide company, birthed in Erie Basin. All the shipyard buildings have been demolished as part of developing the site for an IKEA store. Once one of the largest dry docks in the world, it is a symbol of Red Hook's long maritime history, of technological innovation, and of New York's contributions to national war efforts. It is a place where ships could still be repaired and it is part of what makes Brooklyn unique. It is a place that makes New York a place, different from all others.
There's lots of historical info about the Graving Dock on the Place Matters site. Our only gripe: Too much Flash technology for our tastes. It's easier to read about on the MAS site.

Week 13: Red Hook Graving Dock (http://mas.org/viewarticle.php?id=1470&category=5) [MAS]

October 22nd, 2006, 05:17 PM
Can't see that IKEA store as anything but a mistake.

They should have put it somewhere in Manhattan in a large-footprint, multi-story building with exactly zero parking, and provided a delivery service.

December 8th, 2006, 06:06 PM


December 8, 2006 -- The iconic Revere Sugar Refinery - whose domed rooftop has defined Brooklyn's Red Hook waterfront for a century - could be demolished as early as today by a developer hoping to bring luxury housing to the gritty waterfront area, The Post has learned.

The property's owner, Joseph Sitt of Thor Equities, received a Buildings Department demolition permit for the rusting, long-vacant refinery on Tuesday, records show.

Thor did not return phone messages yesterday, but bulldozers were spotted along the 6-acre Erie Basin site nestled between the new Fairway supermarket and a planned IKEA.

Sitt - best known for his $2 billion redevelopment plan for Coney Island - is set to knock down the refinery and seek city approval to build luxury apartments, stores and a seafood restaurant on property zoned for industrial use.

The plan has come under fire from members of Red Hook's industrial business community, who believe housing is a bad fit near a working port. New York Water Taxi President Tom Fox, who docks his eight water taxis there, said he and some of his neighbors plan to testify before a City Council subcommittee next week that Thor's proposal "is like blockbusting" that will further drive away what little is left of the Big Apple's maritime industry.

But John McGettrick, co-chairman of the Red Hook Civic Alliance, said he would support shops and housing at the site, provided some affordable housing is included.


December 9th, 2006, 01:27 PM
This is amazingly frustrating. An Ikea store and more "luxury" glass boxes, to replace something that gave NY character and NYers a true function and purpose?!? Just another place for us to import products and create jobs where workers will gain no true skills or have pride in the product that they are producing. What a contrast to go from building ships to win a war effort and now just stocking shelves with products from abroad. What a sad transformation for our city and a bleek scenario for our country.

Politicians are worthless. Best of luck to the local people and organizations fighting this destruction of NY's character and future.

December 9th, 2006, 07:16 PM
Some exceptional photos (http://www.vanshnookenraggen.com/ue/NewYork/ue05/ue1.html) of the sugar refinery.

December 10th, 2006, 10:13 PM
This is one of New York's monuments. It's beautiful and interesting because it's complex, decrepit and dangerous.

So, how can it be kept?

December 10th, 2006, 11:19 PM
The Gowanus Lounge reimagines Revere Sugar as our answer to Germany's amazing Landschaftspark

"It's a former industrial wasteland (a couple of photos below) that the Germans transformed into a wildly popular park and tourist destination. Duisburg is in the Ruhr near Dusseldorf. It features acres of natural greenery. The old factory buildings house musical performances and art exhibits. Former ore silos have rock climbing walls. There's an old blast furnace that's been turned into an observation deck and more. At night, the old industrial structures are bathed in colored light."

But are we too late to save Revere Sugar?

(Landschaftspark pix from Flickr photostream)

December 10th, 2006, 11:46 PM
As with 50 Trinity Place (and any other number of terrific old structures) we're all 3 steps behind in trying to save them -- once DOB issues the dreaded Demolition Permit it's a done deal :mad:

December 11th, 2006, 04:16 PM
As with 50 Trinity Place (and any other number of terrific old structures) we're all 3 steps behind in trying to save them -- once DOB issues the dreaded Demolition Permit it's a done deal :mad:
So, lofter, since you find them when the permits are issued, can you also find them when they're applied for? That way we could make a stink in time.

December 11th, 2006, 05:42 PM
But are we too late to save Revere Sugar?

WELTANSICHT (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rONOoRr5rFk&eurl=)

The way I see it - something similar to the German 'Duisburg' project would have been a great use for the factory: opportunity cost once again.

December 11th, 2006, 09:04 PM
... can you also find them when they're applied for?

There's the rub ...

The new "My Community (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/my_community.jsp)" feature on the DOB website should make that info more accessible.

For example, here is the current list of Full Demo Jobs in Community Board 2 (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsByTypeBoroDateServlet?mycomm=y&des=1&requestid=0&alljobtype=DM&allcommbd=102).

The lastest Demo Application (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobDetailsServlet?allisn=0001315973&requestid=1) in CB2 was filed on 12/4/06 -- and no Permit has yet been issued.

And here is the Full Demo list for Community Board 1 (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsByTypeBoroDateServlet?mycomm=y&des=1&requestid=0&alljobtype=DM&allcommbd=101), where 50 Trinity Place is located -- but interestingly that address doesn't appear on the Demo list :confused: :mad: because the Permit (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobDetailsServlet?requestid=2&allisn=0001278848&allboroughname=&allnumbhous=&allstrt) for that site is described as "demolish portion of the buildings exterior wall" rather than a full demolition ...

Looking over the other Applications / Permits on the lists you find that it is often just a couple of weeks between the date when an owner files for Demo and DOB issues the Permit.

Trying to stay on top of the goings on at DOB could become a full time job / hobby ...

December 12th, 2006, 01:11 AM
We could protect 'em before the demolition stage ...
Here are some the Municipal Art Society wants NYC to landmark:

Including Domino Sugar in Williamsburg:


December 12th, 2006, 01:15 AM
BTW, do we have a designated historic preservation thread somewhere on site? Mebbe we could use it to call attention to unsung buildings that should be landmarked before development threatens.

December 12th, 2006, 02:48 AM
We could protect 'em before the demolition stage ...
Here are some the Municipal Art Society wants NYC to landmark:

Good site. It includes photos of the magnificent and historic (and recently demolished) East River ConEd plant, a unique piece of 19th century industrial architecure with lovely arched windows and towering smokestacks. It was almost like a cathedral, it was so bueautiful. The MAS desperately tried to save it for adaptive reuse for something grand like an opera house, and started lobbying for this YEARS before its demolition, yet still it is gone, to be replaced by ever more glass condo towers. If that power plant could not be saved, then I seriously doubt that any industrial architecture can be.

February 4th, 2007, 07:56 AM
February 4, 2007

As Officers Stop and Frisk, Residents Raise Their Guard

Angela Jimenez for The New York Times
Victor Fields, 13, walked past a police car at the Red Hook East buildings, where he lives in Brooklyn.

Angela Jimenez for The New York Times
Mikel Jamison, 32, said he is conscious of the way the community is affected by police actions.


At 14, Rocky Harris knows the routine: You raise your hands high, you keep your mouth shut and you don’t dare move a muscle.

Then the police officer’s gloved hands go up and down each leg, around your waist, across your chest and back, then down your shoulders to your wrists.

When they don’t find guns or drugs, Rocky said, they let you go. He said that he had been searched, fruitlessly, at least three times since last summer, and that he had friends who had been searched repeatedly.

“They tell you that you’re selling drugs. But I don’t do nothing wrong. I just play ball,” he said, walking through the Red Hook East housing development in Brooklyn yesterday morning, headed to a community center for a game of basketball.

On Friday, the New York Police Department released a report showing that police officers stopped 508,540 people on city streets in 2006, an average of 1,393 a day and quintuple the number from 2002. While it was difficult to find a consensus on the significance of those statistics — good patrolling, overly aggressive officers and more faithful recordkeeping are just a few explanations — it was not hard yesterday in Red Hook to find a handful of that number walking around.

More than half of those stopped, and sometimes frisked, by the police were black. The Red Hook projects have a large black population, a history of crime problems and, at least in a few young men, a wariness of the police.

Mikel Jamison, 32, said that “he came up in these Brooklyn streets,” and that it is “hard being an African-American, hard to live and walk down the street without the police harassing us.”

Mr. Jamison said some young men bring the unwanted attention of police on them, “with their pants down to their ankles and drugs in their pockets.” He then urged that he and this reporter keep their voices down because “some of the dealers, they’re out here right now.”

But he said he blames police practices like the stop-and-frisks for tension between the community and the police. He said many officers might want to stop crime in the community, but many cannot discern between common criminals and the common people who live among them.

After having a police officer jam a gun in his chest a few years ago, in an incident he said he would rather not discuss, Mr. Jamison said he converted to Islam and is now more conscious of the way the community is affected by such police actions.

Anthony James, 28, who works for a large sanitation company and, as such, often keeps late hours, said the police frequently stop him as he leaves or comes home. He said that the stops had become such a problem that he has taken to carrying his work identification badge home to prove to the police that he has a job and is not selling drugs.

“You see where you’re standing. This is the Red Zone,” he said, mapping with his hands a section of the projects from Columbia Street to Clinton Avenue. “This is the war zone. If they catch you in here alone they’re going to stop you. And they’ll play mind games with you. Ten minutes after searching you, they’ll come back by, just staring.”

Mr. James, who said his “bad-boy days” are behind him, said officers doing the stops will say that the basis of the stops is that people are coming out of known “drug buildings.”

“But we live here. I put my 7-year-old son to bed here. We have grandmas and old ladies up in here. This ain’t just a drug building, this is home,” he said. “It’s serious and dangerous out here, and they wonder why some people want to pull out their guns and start blasting.”

Dorothy Shields, 74, has served as president of the tenants association at the Red Hook East housing development for 33 years, and said she believes the issue is less about people being picked on by the police, and more about a new generation of young people who do not have respect for authority, or their neighbors for that matter.

Ms. Shields said she doubted some of the reports of overaggressive patrolling. “Some of them young men are not telling the truth about the police officers,” she said. “A lot of them feel they should be able to do anything they want do, wherever and whenever they want to.”

Ms. Shields said she thinks frisks, at least in her neighborhood, are happening but not as much as some suggested.

“Some people just don’t care for the police, no matter how right or wrong they are,” she said.

At a press conference outside police headquarters yesterday, representatives of black and Hispanic officers’ groups called the data damning, and renewed calls for Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly to step down.

“These numbers substantiate what we’ve been saying for years,” said Noel Leader, a co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. “The New York Police Department under Raymond Kelly is actively committing some of the grossest forms of racial profiling in the history of the New York Police Department.”

The Police Department said that officers stop people only if they are suspected of committing a crime, and that the practice is vital in getting guns off the streets. About 21,000 of the stops ended in arrests and about 29,000 in summonses.

“I think it is one tool,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne said yesterday. “One law enforcement tool that is used to apply pressure. One of many.”

Responding to complaints of profiling, the department noted that while 55.2 percent of those stopped were black, 68.5 percent of reported crimes involved suspects described as black.

Mr. Browne said he could not speak about patrolling in Red Hook with any authority, but that in general the increase in reported stop-and-frisks was a result of the more scrupulous recording of such stops.

“I think some of the individuals who have been critical of the department in the past will be critical of the department for this as well,” he said.

At the community center in Red Hook where Rocky Harris had gone to play basketball, a 50-year-old man named Stanley, who is a big brother of sorts at the center, was shooting pool.

When asked if he had been stopped and frisked by the police, Stanley, who said he did not want his last name published, said, “I’m an old man now, and they don’t bother me one bit. It’s the youth that they’re after. Not me.”

Ray Rivera contributed reporting.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

February 4th, 2007, 08:56 PM
I don't do drugs but I can without any worries. Its no secret that the police don't do pat downs in Wall Street or the Upper East Side but there are as many drug users there as you will find in the projects. Also the racist NYPD knows that the users from Wall Street that live in the Upper East Side won't serve a day in jail, whereas poor people in the ghetto will not get adequate representation and will face decades in jail for as little as carring a little bit of weed because of the Rockefeller Laws.

February 4th, 2007, 10:15 PM
I think it's more about trying to catch the sellers not the users. People with jobs usually don't sell drugs, example given in the article by the kid who shows his work i.d. to prevent getting frisked.

February 5th, 2007, 08:08 AM
Follow up.

February 5, 2007

Numbers Show How Police Work Varies by Precinct


In the 75th Precinct, in the East New York section of Brooklyn, which has the city’s highest violent crime rate and some of its poorest neighborhoods, the police stopped, questioned or frisked someone last year, on average, about once every 24 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the First Precinct, which encompasses Battery Park, Wall Street, TriBeCa and SoHo, one person was stopped about every 16 hours.

On Friday the Police Department released 1,000 pages of data on how often it stopped, and sometimes frisked, people on the streets last year. The pages contain statistics for every precinct, housing police service area, transit district and narcotics division; every race or ethnicity; each sex; each quarter of the year; the reasons for the stops; and more.

The four volumes of data will soon be parsed by city officials, civil rights advocates and civil libertarians, and their conclusions will almost certainly vary. But a look at the extremes — the precincts with the most and the fewest stops — gives a rough outline of how police work varies across the city.

In the 75th Precinct, which had 173,198 residents in the 2000 census, the police made 21,483 stops in 2006. When race or ethnicity was known, in 20,494 of the cases, 69 percent were black, 24 percent Hispanic, 3 percent white and 1 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Seven percent of the stops resulted in an arrest or a summons.

In the First Precinct, which had only 40,451 residents but has many thousands of people coming in for work and shopping every day, the police made 554 stops. Of those, 39 percent were black, 28 percent white, 21 percent Hispanic and 10 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Four percent were arrested or received a summons.

The police cited other major differences between the precincts for stopping people. In the First Precinct, the most common reasons were “fits a relevant description,” “suspect acting as a lookout,” “report by victim/witness/officer” and “proximity to the scene of an offense.”

In the 75th Precinct, the top reasons were “area has high crime incidence,” “furtive movements,” “time of day fits crime incidence,” “casing a victim or location” and “change direction at sight of officer.” To understand the differences, both area’s residential and daytime populations, their crime rates, and many other factors must be taken into account, said Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman.

Last year the department began a concerted push, which included adding officers, to try to reduce crime in the 75th Precinct, which had 28 murders in 2006. In the First Precinct, there was one murder.

“What the stops are about is somebody reporting crime,” he said. “Clearly one would expect more stops in areas of relatively high crime, especially violent crime.”

Citywide, the data showed that more than half of those stopped were black, though the Police Department, defending itself against accusations of racial profiling, said that 68.5 percent of crimes involved suspects described as black by their victims (or by witnesses, in the case of homicides).

On Friday the Police Department said that 55.2 percent of those stopped last year in cases where the race was known were black.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking yesterday at St. Luke Baptist Church in Harlem, suggested that the statistics showed many of those stopped were picked because of their race.

He said his organization, the National Action Network, would begin to gather plaintiffs for a class-action lawsuit against the city based on the findings. He said that he did not intend to hamper legitimate law enforcement practices, but he urged people who felt they had been searched unjustly to come forward.

“We do not intend to live in a city where the color of your skin means you’re suspect more than anybody else,” he told about 200 people inside the church on Morningside Avenue, many of whom stood and shouted encouragements. “The fact that you can be pulled over is dehumanizing and humiliating. The fact that no matter what your background, no matter how productive you are, to be cast as a suspect rather than a citizen is intolerable in this century.”

But Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, said yesterday that it was completely irresponsible for any community leader to use the data “to inflame passions.” He added that, in light of the data the police revealed regarding crime suspects, Mr. Sharpton “is misleading the public.”

“One thing we can draw from this right now is the people who are being stopped match the description of the people who are described by the victims of crime,” he said.

The data released on Friday said that the police made 508,540 stops in 2006, a significant increase from 2002, the last full year for which figures were reported. That year, 97,296 stops were recorded.

Mr. Browne said yesterday that the increase was largely attributed to “the scrupulousness with which the Police Department requires police officers to record information of who was stopped and why.”

“This record-keeping was not always so complete,” he added.

Some citizen leaders in East New York said yesterday that residents had been keenly aware of a surge in stops and searches long before the police issued their report on Friday.

Many East New York residents were upset, they said. “People are absolutely concerned,” said Jean Reynolds, a member of both Community Board 5 and the 75th Precinct Community Council, a citizens’ group that conducts monthly hearings where residents are encouraged to share their complaints about police conduct.

“You hear complaints like one about young people coming home at night, who unfortunately have to walk through some bad blocks, and they are stopped,” she said.

“But you can’t expect people to walk five blocks out of their way to get home, and all it takes is for one cop to get nasty for these people to develop a very bad taste for the police.”

Since the fatal police shooting of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man, in November, “some members of the community think it is getting a little racial,” said Ms. Reynolds, who is also an administrator with the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, a nonprofit group. But in much of East New York, she said, “it’s not as though there is a big white population.”

Stephen Heyman, Thomas J. Lueck and Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

February 14th, 2007, 11:21 AM

The Magician's Nephew

The goods on Gargano: A seamy tale of nepotism on the Brooklyn waterfront

by Tom Robbins
February 13th, 2007 12:18 PM

In the spring of 2003, Charles Gargano, who served as George Pataki's economic development czar, made a visit to the embattled operator of the marine container port that sprawls for 80 acres along the docks in Brooklyn's Red Hook. Much of the region's cocoa, coffee, and lumber is handled here, along with tens of thousands of huge shipping containers from around the world loaded with everything from beer to appliances. All told, an estimated $4.5 billion in goods move through the port every year, and some $36 million in wages are generated there. As Sal Catucci, president of American Stevedoring Inc., which operates the container terminal, recalls it, Gargano had phoned—seemingly out of the blue—to say he wanted to come by to see his operation.

Catucci was elated. He had been trying for years to get the Port Authority, where Gargano still serves as vice chairman, to agree to a long-term lease deal. Such a lease would let Catucci bring in additional shipping customers, expand his business, and add to the 600 workers already employed on the docks. That's what the local community board and politicians such as Congressman Jerrold Nadler and City Councilman David Yassky have been pushing to happen, arguing that Brooklyn's deepwater container port is a vital economic engine that cuts environmental woes by using waterborne cargo transport instead of air-fouling trucks.

In recent years, however, there's been little official interest in that plan. Under the Pataki administration, the bi-state Port Authority gave it the cold shoulder, saying it wanted to limit shipping to Staten Island's container port at Howland Hook on the narrow Arthur Kill waterway and the huge freight hubs on the New Jersey side of the harbor. Even stiffer opposition has come from the Bloomberg administration, which has been pressing to replace the gritty containers with cruise ships and a Sausalito-like waterfront offering glittering views of the Statue of Liberty and the towers of lower Manhattan.

The container port's current lease runs out at the end of March, and the Port Authority has moved to transfer the land to the city for what would be a "mixed-use development"—likely to include market-rate housing. Those who want to see Brooklyn hold on to a marine freight terminal capable of handling ocean-going vessels are frantically trying to win the attention of the incoming Spitzer administration.

The dispute over its fate has become one of those basic "Which Way for New York?" debates, one that pits a handful of blue-collar job advocates against a seemingly invincible army marching under the flag of Condos With River View.

Which is why Gargano's sudden interest in the terminal back in 2003 was received as such good news. "When Charlie Gargano's call came in, I thought, 'Wow. They're finally paying attention. Now he's showing interest,' " Catucci recalled.

Indeed he was. Within a few weeks, a newly optimistic Sal Catucci had a new attorney under retainer: Charlie Gargano's nephew. And not long after that, the waterfront executive was finally getting the attention from state decision-makers that he'd long sought. But when those meetings produced little more than kind words, and when he was back again fighting just to stay in business, Catucci wondered exactly what had prompted that unexpected phone call. Whatever made him pick up the phone, Charles Gargano wasn't saying, refusing to respond to requests for comment. His nephew, Frank Gargano, also didn't want to talk about his involvement, acknowledging only that he had represented Catucci's company. Exactly how that came to pass is one more disturbing tale from New York's waterfront.

At 72, Charles Gargano still cuts a suave figure. He wears expensively tailored suits and French cuffs and prefers to be addressed as "ambassador" in deference to his service in the Reagan administration as envoy to Trinidad and Tobago. A successful Long Island construction contractor, he won his economic development post after serving as a key fundraiser for Pataki and his ally, former senator Alfonse D'Amato. The position has allowed him to hobnob with the glitterati, and he's appeared in five movies since taking office, including the Robert De Niro mob comedy Analyze That and, most recently, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, in which he plays himself. The job takes him to ordinary places as well, and he arrived on the Red Hook docks that spring in a dark, chauffeured limousine with official plates and a radio antenna jutting from the trunk. Catucci greeted Gargano effusively, packed him into his "pier car," and proceeded to give him the full tour of his operations. But he said the ambassador didn't seem very interested.

"He didn't say much until we got back to my office," said Catucci. "Then he sat on the couch and asked some questions about what contractors we worked with, what lawyers we used." Sitting there, one of the things that struck Catucci was that while city and Port Authority bureaucrats had been burying him for months in extensive policy objections to the Red Hook port, the state's top economic development official didn't seem fazed by them. Instead, Gargano gave the impression that those were minor obstacles that could be overcome. The bigger problem, Catucci said the ambassador suggested, was the expense of the fight. "He said, 'You're fighting the city; you're fighting the state. This is going to cost you many hundreds of thousands of dollars for consultants and lawyers and all.' " Catucci said Gargano then added, "Maybe there's another way," and suggested that Catucci could cut his costs to "about $300,000" if he used the right approach. Shortly afterward, Gargano got back in his limo and drove away. Catucci watched him go, wondering what the hell that was all about.

Not that anyone would ever call Sal Catucci naive. He is 68, and like Gargano, keeps himself in trim shape. But while the ambassador exudes boardroom polish, Catucci is a scrappy, salty-talking businessman given to wearing black turtlenecks and a wide-brimmed black hat with a colored band that makes him look like an aging Zorro. After 40 years of making his living around the piers, he has fielded most everything that rough-and-tumble world throws at its denizens. The Red Hook terminal was virtually defunct when he took it over in the early 1990s, and he has turned it into a thriving port that handles more than 50,000 containers a year. Along the way, he acknowledges, disputes with the mob-ridden International Longshoremen's Association, which represents many of his workers, led to angry pushes and shoves.

Law enforcement officials have claimed that Sabato "Sal" Catucci owes his survival and success on the docks to his status as an associate of the Gambino crime family. Mob informants have also described him in familiar terms, and a business partner, also dubbed a mob ally, pled guilty to tax evasion in 2004. Given the mob's longtime hammerlock on the waterfront, such ties are hardly a stretch. But Catucci angrily denies them, citing his antagonistic relationship with the Mafia-friendly ILA, which has never gone to bat for him in his fight to remain in Red Hook. And authorities acknowledge that unlike many others who do business on the docks, Catucci has a clean record, and he hasn't personally shown up in their many surveillances of mob social clubs or wiretaps.

Whatever his associations, Catucci's name would instantly pop up on the radar of anyone checking big political campaign donors. Between 1995 and 2004, when he angrily stopped giving to anyone connected to then governor Pataki, Catucci and his businesses pumped more than $240,000 into the state's Conservative Party, making him the party's biggest single giver. The contributions started after party chairman Mike Long, arguing that the city needed more blue-collar jobs, began championing Catucci's efforts to win a long-term lease from the Port Authority. Catucci also was one of the largest givers to Pataki's push for a new environmental bond act in 1996, donating more than $50,000. In addition, he's doled out generous contributions to Nadler, Yassky, and other pols.

Given the overall heft of those campaign gifts, someone might reasonably conclude that—waterfront wiseguy or not—here was a man who could well be a soft touch.

A few weeks after the ambassador's visit, Catucci got a call from another man named Gargano who introduced himself as "Charlie's nephew." Frank Gargano said he was an attorney who also ran a public relations office. "Maybe I can help you," Catucci remembers him saying.

Maybe he could, Catucci thought.

Frank Gargano, 36, soon appeared on the Red Hook waterfront in a sporty Mercedes-Benz coupe, ready for a tour of his own. He wore a wide grin and offered a steady salesman's patter about what he'd done and who he knew. He also brought along a pair of men he introduced as business associates, saying they could vouch for his talents and expertise. One was a Queens-based newspaper publisher from El Salvador named Rafael Flores who said he was trying to get the senior Gargano interested in Central American trade possibilities. The other was an aspiring Republican politician from Long Island named Robert Cornicelli. Catucci thought they made for an odd entourage, since the two business associates spent most of their time during the visit joking and laughing, so much so that Catucci later dubbed them "the two clowns." Still, the pair assured Catucci that the nephew was highly capable, that he had helped them, and, most important, could help deal with Charles Gargano.

"Frank's entire pitch was, 'I can handle my uncle,' " said Catucci.

Starting in June 2003, and over the next 10 months, Catucci's American Stevedoring Inc. paid the law offices of Frank Gargano in Melville, Long Island, an $8,500-a-month retainer. The work assignment was never clearly spelled out: The younger Gargano was asked to help with some minor legal matters—an arbitration, a default judgment from a creditor—but most of his efforts, Catucci said, went into trying to persuade his uncle and the Port Authority to extend American Stevedoring's lease.

No reports were filed that the nephew of the state's most powerful economic development official was seeking to influence his uncle's decisions. But then, no reports were required. The Port Authority, along with many of New York's quasi-public agencies over which Charles Gargano held sway throughout the Pataki administration, has long been a kind of free-fire zone for lobbyists with little disclosure. In a notorious instance that sparked reform efforts in Albany, former senator Alfonse D'Amato acknowledged a few years ago that he'd been paid $500,000 by a client just for making a call to Pataki's chief of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority—a fee that also didn't have to be disclosed.

New governor Eliot Spitzer has vowed to change all that, bringing oversight of the authorities into line with strict laws already covering the state's legislature where lobbyists are obligated to file regular disclosure reports. But at the time he signed on with American Stevedoring, Frank Gargano was free to come and go as he pleased among his uncle's agencies. And apparently he did.

"I remember seeing him coming in to see Charlie every now and again," said a former state aide who worked at one of Gargano's agencies. "No one knew exactly what he was doing, only that his uncle was helping him somehow."

According to Catucci and others with business interests on the Red Hook piers, Frank Gargano quickly arranged meetings with his uncle for Catucci and other waterfront businessmen. One meeting was at Charles Gargano's state office on Third Avenue, where the ambassador ruled the powerful Empire State Development Corporation, which oversees New York's economic development agenda, doling out funds and approving projects. There, the men from Red Hook laid out a plan for expanding freight work on the piers. "This is great, great. We're going to do this," one of the businessmen recalled Gargano saying.

The nephew also obtained sit-downs with another high-level Pataki appointee, Port Authority commissioner Bruce Blakeman, the former majority leader of the Nassau County legislature and the Republican Party's candidate for state controller in 1998.

According to Catucci and others who were at the meetings, Blakeman was sympathetic when he met in his Long Island office with Frank Gargano and Catucci. "Oh, this is ridiculous," Blakeman allegedly exclaimed after Gargano described the problems American Stevedoring was having with the port agency. "This can be worked out," the commissioner was said to have told them.

Catucci said he got a second chance to pre-sent his case to Blakeman when Frank Gargano arranged for the three men to meet for a drink at a fashionable bar on the West Side. This time, according to Catucci, Blakeman had just one question: "He asked, 'Is the ambassador happy?' "

Blakeman told the Voice that he didn't recall the specifics of the conversations, or a meeting at his Long Island office. "I really don't recall that one. I could check my records," he said. But he did remember sitting down with Catucci and Frank Gargano—whom he knew from "Long Island politics"—somewhere in Manhattan at one point.

"My recollection is that Frank Gargano said that he would like me to meet a fellow by the name of Catucci from American Stevedoring, that there were a number of jobs at stake, and he wanted to talk about continuing his lease with the Port Authority. That was pretty much it," said the commissioner. "He asked would I give him 10 minutes of my time, and I gave him 10 minutes of my time. It didn't change or affect my decision in any way."

Blakeman said it was the only occasion he could remember Frank Gargano having approached him about Port Authority business but that he'd never pressed the lawyer about his connection to the matter. Nor was he bothered that the vice chairman's nephew was reaching out to him. "Basically, I thought it was legitimate," he said.

The nephew also opened a political front in his lobbying efforts. Like his uncle, Frank Gargano actively raised campaign funds for the Republican presidential ticket of 2004 (the Bush campaign listed both men as "Pioneers"—those who helped raise $100,000 or more in contributions). When the Bush-Cheney team held a fundraiser at the Sheraton New York Hotel on Seventh Avenue in June 2003, Catucci said that Frank Gargano persuaded him that it would be helpful to buy a pair of $2,000 tickets, saying his uncle would also be there. At the event, the younger Gargano showed up with his pals Flores and Cornicelli, Catucci said. When Frank brought them over to see his uncle, the ambassador greeted his nephew and his friends with hugs and kisses. Catucci got a warm handshake. The ambassador also made a point of noting the company Catucci was keeping. "He said to me, 'I see you are with my nephew here,' " Catucci said. "It was like he was telling me, 'Everything is going to be all right now.' "

There was a social front to the lobbying push as well. On several occasions, Frank Gargano brought Catucci along on trips to Upper East Side restaurants favored by his uncle. Catucci said he joined Frank Gargano at two upscale Italian bistros within a block of each other on First Avenue—Nino's and Campagnola—where the ambassador regularly holds court amid a well-heeled crowd that includes real estate tycoons, entertainment figures, glamorous women, and more than a few bona fide mobsters. There, the pair sat at the economic development czar's tables, swapping stories as Catucci recalls. The specific subject of leases didn't come up, but Frank Gargano assured him later, Catucci said, that they were making headway.

If so, it was hard to see where. While Frank Gargano was allegedly pressing Catucci's cause, the Port Authority, together with the city's economic development office, paid $400,000 for a widely publicized private consultant's study on the future of the Red Hook docks. Although the study was never officially released, the consultant wasted no time letting the South Brooklyn community know he believed maritime freight on the 80 waterfront acres was a waste of space and resources.

Government officials also told shipping-line owners who used the piers that they'd be better off taking their business elsewhere since American Stevedoring's days were numbered. A backup plan to eventually shift the freight operations to another deepwater port in Sunset Park, a move that had originally been endorsed by the Giuliani administration, also failed to get traction with the Port Authority or Bloomberg's City Hall. During those months, Catucci estimated, his business fell by almost half.

According to Catucci, Frank Gargano's response to these setbacks was to ask for more money. He said the nephew urged Catucci and other businessmen on the docks to chip in together for a joint lobbying push that would include his public relations firm, Gargano Associates, as well. "He was going to be our lobbyist, attorney, public relations, everything rolled into one," said one of the port businessmen who heard the new pitch.

The fee that Frank Gargano said he would require for this enhanced effort, said Catucci, was $300,000. "I thought, 'Isn't that interesting. That's the same number his uncle came up with.' "

Others were already highly skeptical. A former waterfront business executive said he got "a terrible vibe" after dining with Catucci and Frank Gargano. "It was all, 'I can get Charlie to do this,' then hitting Sal on the arm. And 'We can work on Charlie for this.' It was one step short of being illegal. The guy was creepy. I told Sal to stay away from him."

Mike Long, the influential Conservative Party leader who had tried to help Catucci, also had a negative reaction when he learned that Charlie Gargano's nephew was representing American Stevedoring. "That clearly was a mistake," Long told the Voice, adding that Gargano's hiring sent "the wrong message."

But Catucci said that Frank Gargano insisted that the stevedoring company needed his services more than ever. The nephew called him several times a day, ostensibly updating him about events within the Port Authority. "He seemed to know what was going on there, knew what was going to be brought up at board meetings," said Catucci. "He would say, 'You stay away from Charlie. Let me handle everything.' Over and over, he'd tell me, 'Don't worry about it, it's being worked on.' "

Sal Catucci, however, started to believe he was being had. Despite Charles Gargano's friendly words to them, Catucci and the other businessmen from Red Hook saw no apparent effort on the ambassador's part to change the agency's position on ending the marine container terminal in Red Hook, or, for that matter, helping to launch a new port in Sunset Park. In fact, the word that got back to them from inside the giant agency was that when the subject came up internally of what to do about Red Hook, the elder Gargano was their biggest opponent.

Nor, Catucci maintained, was Frank Gargano much help as a lawyer. He failed to show up at one court hearing, Catucci said, and had also failed to submit court filings required for another minor legal chore the nephew had agreed to handle.

For a while, Catucci said he simply put off Frank Gargano's demands for a higher retainer. Then, in late 2003, he informed him that he would be dropping the $8,500 a month altogether early in 2004. The younger Gargano was irate, Catucci said. He left a 7:30 a.m. message with Catucci's office. "I don't know how my uncle is going to take this," he said in the message.

As it happened, Frank Gargano wouldn't have had much time for lobbying over the next year anyway. A few months after he was dropped by American Stevedoring, he declared his candidacy for a seat on Suffolk County's legislature, the body that decides most local spending. A win in that race would be a stepping-stone to higher office. He was considered a sure thing since he brought a well-known last name to the race, and Republicans had held the seat he sought—representing Deer Park, Melville, and Dix Hills—for more than 25 years. He also had four separate ballot lines to run on: GOP, Conservative, Independence, even the Working Families Party.

And he also had the support of many of his uncle's friends and business associates who donated generously to his campaign. Port Authority commissioner Bruce Blakeman gave $750 for the race. Michael Koffler, the successful private schools entrepreneur whose MetSchools received a $500,000 grant from the Empire State Development Corporation, gave $1,000. Pataki transit chief and real estate baron Peter Kalikow also gave $1,000. Steve Witkoff, whose properties include the landmarked Woolworth building, and who has also received aid from ESDC, kicked in $500. Steven Ross, CEO of Related Development, which won ESDC's backing to build the new $800 million Moynihan rail station, gave $500 as well.

Even a wealthy chiropractor who is a regular dining companion of the ambassador chipped in. Dr. Joseph Mirto, who helped persuade the Pataki administration to mandate insurance coverage for chiropractic services, gave $1,250 for the campaign.

But in the midst of the race, Newsday reported that Frank Gargano had received 18 months of free rent at his Melville office, courtesy of a local chamber of commerce—which was funded by grants from his uncle's agency (the misspending has since become the subject of a scorching audit by the state comptroller's office that demanded the agency repay more than $100,000 to the state). The candidate got more bad ink when he mailed out a pre-election flyer claiming several endorsements, including those of the Suffolk County district attorney and the head of the county's ethics commission, both of whom angrily denied making any such endorsements. On election day, Frank Gargano was defeated by his Democratic opponent by more than 10 percentage points.

The loss of the Republican seat helped put the Suffolk legislature in Democratic control for the first time in 30 years. "It was incredible," said a Suffolk political leader. "He should have won without a problem. And he lost to a guy with zero name recognition."

None of these events were things that Frank Gargano was anxious to discuss. He ducked a month's worth of detailed phone messages at his Melville office saying, through an assistant, that he was traveling. He finally picked up the phone in late January. "Can you tell me what this is all about?" he asked. So informed, he insisted he had nothing to say—about the fallout from his ill-fated electoral campaign or about his work on behalf of American Stevedoring.

"They were recommended to me; I did legal work for them. That is the end of the story," he said before hanging up the phone.

There were hard times as well for Frank Gargano's friend, Rafael Flores, one of the "two clowns"—as Catucci had dubbed them—who accompanied the nephew on his first visit to the Red Hook piers. He was arrested in November 2004, and later pled guilty to a felony for having helped run a ring of schemers who sold confiden tial medical records from a Nassau County hospital to lawyers. Flores couldn't be reached, but his pal, Robert Cornicelli, said, in a brief phone conversation, that he'd gone along with Gargano at Flores's request. "I was interested in that entire area," said Cornicelli. "I knew Bloomberg at the time wanted to turn the area into condos."

In late 2006, during the waning days of Pataki's administration, Charles Gargano received a new six-year reappointment as a Port Authority commissioner, a move that keeps him at the center of the agency's decision-making, even in a Spitzer administration. But after questions were relayed to him through Port Authority officials, Gargano refused to discuss his dealings with Catucci.

Spokesmen at the Port Authority said they were unaware that the nephew of the agency's vice chairman had represented clients seeking help there, but noted that there were no set rules against it. Still, with two new governors in New York and New Jersey—both of whom have pledged ethics reforms—the agency is anxious to shed its image as a place where anything goes when it comes to influence-peddling. In response to the Voice's questions, the agency issued a statement from spokesman Steve Sigmund:

"The Port Authority demands the highest ethical standards, and we expect that anyone who represents the agency disclose any potential conflict of interest. We will continue to strengthen our policies going forward, including tightening disclosure requirements for commissioners and employees alike."

And although the agency hasn't officially altered its position on the future of the Red Hook container port, it has pointedly left the door open for further discussion.

"What's important to us is economic viability and growth of the waterfront," said spokesman Sigmund. "We are taking a close look at the issue before the lease runs out."

February 14th, 2007, 02:52 PM
Disgusting ^^^

Both Garganos should be fully investigated -- along with their whole band of "clowns".

Calling Andrew Cuomo (http://www.oag.state.ny.us/) ...

February 15th, 2007, 10:25 AM
By PATRICK GALLAHUEhttp://www.nypost.com/img/newsart/article_storybottom.gif
NY Post
February 15, 2007 -- City officials have inked a pact that could dramatically cut back dock workers and cargo facilities on the Brooklyn waterfront in favor of beer gardens and possibly apartments.
It will transfer control of Red Hook's cargo port to the city, which plans a dramatic redesign intended to draw "hundreds of millions" of dollars in public and private investment, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said yesterday.
The site, currently controlled by the Port Authority, is used as a cargo port by American Stevedoring and a cruise-ship terminal.
Displaced cargo operations will be relocated to Sunset Park or Staten Island, Doctoroff said.
A defender of the beleaguered port, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, said the plan would cost the city millions in revenue and "tens of thousands" of jobs.

February 19th, 2007, 01:31 PM
Both Garganos should be fully investigated -- along with their whole band of "clowns".

Official audit of ESDC possible

http://www.therealdeal.net//breaking_news/2007/02/19/images/8975.jpg (http://javascript<b></b>:openpopup('http://www.therealdeal.net//breaking_news/2007/02/19/images/8975.jpg',127,150,true);)
Charles Gargano

Real Deal (http://www.therealdeal.net/breaking_news/2007/02/19/1171907707.php)
By Jen Benepe
February 19, 11:40 am

In what may be the precursor to a criminal investigation, the state comptroller is expected to begin an official audit this week over allegations that the Empire State Development Corporation, under the leadership of Charles Gargano, inappropriately directed state funds.

Reports of the possible official audit come on the heels of a story in the Village Voice last week (http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0707,robbins,75788,2.html) that linked the previous ESDC chief with providing funds that were used to pay for the rent of a space his nephew, Frank Gargano, used for 18 months as his headquarters while running his unsuccessful bid for a seat on Suffolk County's legislature. The space in question belonged to the Suffolk County Chamber of Commerce. Although it was known that the comptroller was conducting an audit over the allegations, The Real Deal has learned the comptroller is likely to provide an "issue"--the term for when an audit becomes official--this week.

Dan Weiller, a spokesperson for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, confirmed that the office has been "working on an audit of the Economic State Development Corporation relating to member item payments to the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce."

DiNapoli's office identified the audit as anything from "doing field work to providing an issue." But Weiller would not identify the stage of the audit.

According to separate sources who spoke off the record, however, and who were familiar with the investigation, the comptroller's office was "very close" to initiating an official audit as early as tomorrow. This would follow a standard question-and-answer period in which the comptroller had given the parties involved--the Suffolk County Chamber of Commerce and the ESDC--a chance to provide documentation that supports their own accounting.

If the official audit finds that any ESDC monies were improperly used, and if it is determined by the state attorney general's office that the acts were illegal, the matter "would be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies," said Wieller.

Calls to the state attorney general's office were not returned by press time.

If an official audit does come about this week, DiNapoli could be offering an olive branch to Gov. Spitzer, who publicly opposed the state assembly's appointment of DiNapoli as state comptroller. Spitzer replaced Gargano as ESDC chairman with Patrick Foye. It is believed the governor could be frustrated with Gargano's new term as vice chairman of the powerful Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which was hastily extended by George Pataki in December before the former governor left office. Gargano now officially serves as vice chairman of the agency until 2012.

The Port Authority not only controls most of the bridges, tunnels and roads that crisscross the tri-state region, but also major portions of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

Spitzer's office would not comment for this story.

Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal.

May 14th, 2007, 02:31 PM
Red Hook Waterfront Plan Said To Scale Back

BY ELIOT BROWN - Special to the Sun
May 14, 2007
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/54424

The city is backing away from plans to expand the new cruise ship terminal in Red Hook any time soon, a signal, critics say, that amounts to a dramatic scaling back of the Bloomberg administration's bold plans for that slice of the Brooklyn waterfront.

The expansion of the cruise ship terminal, which would welcome additional tourist-filled vessels to New York City, was an integral part of the city's plan to refashion the waterfront area into a $300 million-plus job-producing complex of maritime-related uses, restaurants, a hotel, and hundreds of nearby apartments.

Red Hook, a formerly industry-heavy swath of western Brooklyn that lacks strong public transit, has been the site of a number of high-profile new development projects in the past two years, including the completion of a Fairway supermarket and the construction of an enormous Ikea furniture store.

The residential component of the city's plan for the waterfront was dropped late last year, and without enough growth in the cruise industry to justify expansion, city officials told The New York Sun that the addition of a new cruise dock is not likely in the near future, though it remains a long-term goal.

The administration also seems to be taking a softer stance about its intention to close the existing container port on the Red Hook waterfront, operated by American Stevedoring, sources said. While the city has wanted to bring a beer and beverage distributor to a space within the container port's footprint, officials acknowledged last week they were considering moving the distributor, Phoenix Beverages, to another location temporarily, and did not rule out the option of leaving the container port in place, at least in the short term.

An executive vice president at the city's Economic Development Corporation who was long in charge of the waterfront project, Kate Ascher, left her post in recent weeks.

The city denies that there have been any dramatic changes to the plan, and contends the long-term vision for the Red Hook waterfront, known as Piers 7–12, is the same. The city does not consider the container port to be an efficient use of jobs, a spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation, Andrew Brent, said, and the existing cruise terminal at Pier 12 is slated to receive about 50 ships a year.

In testimony before the City Council in December, Ms. Ascher cited a strong immediate demand for cruise ships, an apparent attempt to leverage action on the plan.

"We have cruise ships that are ready to come to Pier 10 to create more jobs than are there now. I'm talking about getting rid of the container activity that is there now," she said, according to a transcript. "All I'm saying about timing is, the time to do that is now and we are investing funds in doing it."

The city's plan for the piers, which the president of the Economic Development Corporation, Robert Lieber, called a "top priority" during a council hearing last week, is part of the administration's larger efforts to open up area waterfronts to the public, as the city creates a network of new esplanades, water taxis, and developments along the water's edge.

However, the proposal for Piers 7–12 has received criticism from elected officials, most notably City Council Member David Yassky of Brooklyn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who claim it would be premature to close down the container port before establishing a new one in Brooklyn. They say job growth from the cruise industry has not been as robust as expected.

"Certainly the reality has not turned out to match the initial claims," Mr. Yassky said. City officials said late last week that they intend to create 700 new jobs on the piers in the next five years. About 500 of those would come from Phoenix Beverages, which is already located in the city, but the administration worries it will relocate outside the area if not offered a spot on the piers.

The job numbers are a reduction from earlier estimates. In 2004, Ms. Ascher said at a council hearing that she expected more than 600 new jobs on the Brooklyn waterfront by 2005. The city now says the cruise terminal employs about 250, only about 15 of whom are full-time.

Mr. Yassky said he was encouraged by the city's consideration of placing Phoenix Beverages on Pier 11, as did Mr. Nadler.

A spokesman for the American Stevedoring, Evan Thies, said in a statement the container port is an "important piece of the regional economy."

The city intends to start the public review process in the late summer or fall. The plan would require approval from the council and the Planning Commission.

© 2007 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

May 27th, 2007, 07:10 AM
May 27, 2007

Red Hook

For a Rusty Industrial Relic, a Bid for Revival


ON warm summer weekends along the Brooklyn waterfront, at the end of Columbia Street, the baseball and soccer fields of Red Hook Park are lined with Latin American food vendors and families spread out on blankets to watch players in crisp whites and vivid primary colors. But looming behind the fields is a spectral counterpoint to that lively scene: a monolithic, ash-colored grain elevator, 429 feet long with silos nine stories high, that has sat vacant since 1965.

The grain elevator, which opened in 1922, sits just out of reach behind a fence made of huge concrete blocks, a silent reminder, as were the Todd Shipyards graving dock and the Revere sugar refinery, of Red Hook’s industrial history. But while those other structures are gone — filled in and torn down to make way for development — the owner of the grain elevator says he has a plan to bring this industrial relic back into use.

John Quadrozzi Jr., president of the Gowanus Industrial Park, a 46-acre property that contains the grain elevator, said last week that his company is seeking government approval for a concrete manufacturing plant that would use the silos for bulk cement storage. The plan, which was reported in The Brooklyn Paper, requires approval from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. There is no set timetable for the silos to reopen.

Despite their age, Mr. Quadrozzi said the silos, which could hold 70,000 tons of cement, remain solid.

“There are some deteriorated parts that are going to be removed, but the structure itself is like a bomb shelter,” he said. He was speaking literally. Because the elevator was built to hold combustible grain, he explained, “it’s actually explosion-proof.”

Kimberly Chupa, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Conservation, said that the industrial park had sought permits to renovate its piers for the project in October, but that the state had held off its review until certain violations, one involving the property’s fence, were resolved. The two sides reached an agreement on Wednesday, she said, and on Friday the agency resumed its review of the project.

The grain elevator, which was used for washing, drying, cooling and storing grain before it was loaded onto waiting freight ships, has maintained its mystique. Jake Dobkin, who publishes the local news blog Gothamist and runs a photo blog at Bluejake.com, was part of a group of self-described “urban explorers” who sneaked into the site in January and posted their pictures, which showed rickety metal staircases, intricate graffiti and a sprawling warehouse floor full of old machinery.

Mr. Dobkin, who grew up in nearby Park Slope, said the site always held an attraction. “When you’re riding the F train from Carroll, you just see it in the distance, this massive building,” he said. “There’s something about the solidity of it.”

He said the expedition, which involved shinnying along a sea wall over the Gowanus Canal and swinging under a fence, was worth it for the fog-shrouded view of the surrounding neighborhoods.

“There are very few spots that I would risk getting arrested to photograph,” he said, “but this is one of them.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Bluejake (http://www.bluejake.com/archives/2007/01/15/two_views_of_the_port_of_new_york_grain_terminal.p hp)
Bluejake (http://www.bluejake.com/archives/2007/01/14/three_views_of_the_port_of_new_york_grain_terminal .php)

July 11th, 2007, 06:48 AM
Bloomberg’s People Give Red Hook Second Look as Shipping Port

by Matthew Schuerman Published: July 10, 2007

The Bloomberg administration, which has long advocated phasing out the container port in Brooklyn to make way for more residential-friendly development, may decide to keep the shipping facility there after all.

Ironically, the latest reprieve comes not from Governor Spitzer, a Democrat who many port advocates thought would jump to their side, but from the very same people who had been trying to recalibrate the use of the piers for the past four years: the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Or rather, not from the same people, but a new set of executives who recently came into office there.

In January, Robert Lieber, a former managing director for Lehman Brothers, became president of the E.D.C., filling a spot that Andrew Alper vacated the previous spring. Around the same time, the E.D.C.’s project manager for Red Hook, Kate Ascher, left. Last month, she was replaced by Madelyn Wils, the former president of the Tribeca Film Festival and a community leader from Lower Manhattan.

“We are looking for a long-term plan for the Brooklyn waterfront and that is something that Bob Lieber has asked us to do,” said Ms. Wils, the new executive vice president for planning and development. “I understand there is a lot of history here and I’m just trying to look at this, along with our whole team, with a fresh set of eyes.”

But the battle is far from over for American Stevedoring Inc., the shipping operator that revived the container port in the 1990’s and that has more recently staved off condominium conversion through a mixture of savvy public relations, strategic campaign contributions, lawsuits and its record of providing numerous union jobs.

Ms. Wils said that the agency was considering keeping the container port but inviting bids from other companies as well as from American Stevedoring.

“We haven’t made any firm decisions but we are certainly looking at putting out an RFEI for a container port,” Ms. Wils said, referring to a request for expressions of interest. That would mean that other shipping operators could get a shot.

“We want to see what the market is, to test the waters and see if we can create a market that is looking at delivering goods to the east and north of Red Hook and not necessarily to the west,” Ms. Wils said.

ONE OF THE INEFFICIENCIES OF the port is that, while Red Hook is the only container port on the east side of New York Harbor, cargo is sometimes sent back over to New Jersey or Staten Island by barge because there are better distribution channels on that side.

In the past, both the Bloomberg administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the piers, played down the idea that Red Hook would ever amount to anything. The container port there is much smaller than the region’s other ports on Staten Island and in New Jersey, and it lacks any rail connection or much upland storage space, necessitating the use of barges.

The city, meanwhile, became worried when it began losing cruise ship business to New Jersey, and decided that the deep Red Hook harbor could supplement the terminal on Manhattan’s West Side. In 2003, the E.D.C. and the Port Authority began holding community meetings and hiring consultants, which suggested including as many as 3,600 units of housing on the site, up to three cruise ships berths and other uses.

But the agencies have met stiff resistance from American Stevedoring Inc., which has been backed by local residents who want to hold onto a vestige of the working waterfront, and from elected leaders, who cite the port as a job generator. The company earlier this year estimated that it unloads about 150,000 containers a year and employs 765 people full-time, counting workers and drivers at the container port, a bulk cargo unloading area and warehouses.

The E.D.C. said the real employment number was closer to 100 jobs, but the agency’s credibility was severely hampered because a cruise ship terminal, which opened on one of the former cargo piers in Red Hook last year, has produced just eight to 10 permanent full-time jobs, with about another 200 to 225 when a ship comes in.

City Council Member David Yassky, a longtime supporter of the container port, welcomed the E.D.C.’s new approach but said that ASI should be retained as the operator.

“I give Bob Lieber and Madelyn Wils a great deal of credit for coming in and seeing this was a policy that was really in need of fixing, and they have made a ton of progress,” he said. “To me, we have a scrappy shipping operation already on the piers, and I think the city should be focused on helping that shipping operation grow. I personally don’t see the need for further delay with an RFEI.”

ASI has contributed to the political campaigns of Mr. Yassky and other elected officials who support the container port.

But the council member said that his support was solely predicated on the fact that ASI offered “good-paying jobs for people without advanced degrees.”

ASI would not comment, but in an interview earlier this year, Matt Yates, its director of commercial operations, told The Observer that the company had lost 52 deals because of uncertainty over the container port’s future. ASI has been operating without a lease since April, when its contract with the Port Authority ran out.

In February, the Port Authority signed an agreement that would turn over ownership of the piers to the city once the Economic Development Corporation received approval for rezoning the piers. The rezoning, a preliminary version of which became public last fall, would allow other uses, such as a beer garden, a brewery, a beverage shipping operation, a marina and some housing. Within weeks, the E.D.C. backed off of its plan for housing. Now, according to Ms. Wils, the entire rezoning is on hold, as are any plans to turn another pier into a second cruise ship berth.

“We see no imminent need for another cruise ship terminal,” she said.

Meanwhile, the city in February received a number of responses to a request for proposals to use an inlet along the waterfront, Pier 11, which is already controlled by the E.D.C. Ms. Wils said those proposals were still under consideration.

Another parcel used by American Stevedoring, Pier 7, is wrapped up in litigation between the company and the Port Authority, which is forcing two potential tenants that the E.D.C. had wanted to move in there instead, Phoenix Beverages Group and Brooklyn Brewery, to consider other locations.

The new E.D.C. president, Mr. Lieber, was out of town and unavailable for an interview, but a spokeswoman said in an e-mail, “Our long-range vision continues to focus on striking a balance between job creation, public waterfront access, and preserving Red Hook’s unique maritime character.”

In the meantime, ASI is apparently safe.

“We are continuing to work with the EDC for a long-term plan for the piers,” Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, said. “ASI will continue its operations until the city is ready to put into place any plan that it comes up with.”

Copyright © 2007 The New York Observer. All rights reserved.

August 2nd, 2007, 10:09 AM
Been hearing something very interesting.

Not only is BHRA back in the tunnel tour business (I guess the City relinquished), but now I've heard several of BHRA's previous associates are now named in multiple lawsuits, with the main lawsuit regarding the owner of the Norwegian trolley #3.

Apparently there are written contracts regarding the use of #3 and they were violated when it was removed from Trolley Museum. Not being privy to this, does anyone have any further info?

Furthermore, if I'm told correctly, a competitive streetcar trolley group had no legal right to the PCC's in the Brookyn Navy Yard. If they sold to collect unpaid rent (per some previous post) one would think the PCC's would have been seized by NYC sheriff or marshals, and attempted to have been auctioned off to recoup that unpaid debt.. Apparently this is not the case and offered them for sale then attempted to give away with no takers; ultimately resulting in their being hauled away.

Not being an attorney, this makes no sense.

With all that I've been reading amongst all the different forums and posts, there is no definitive lucid logical explanation of why BHRA suffered it's setbacks and would allow the trolleys to be scrapped, only lots of hypothesis.

But, whatever happened did to Mr. Diamond, apparently it did not dilute his objective of returning streetcars to Brooklyn and I hear a further round of talks with the City government of getting streetcars restored to Brooklyn is currently underway and receiving very favorable interest.

Whether you like BHRA/Diamond or dislike BHRA/Diamond, I hope they are successful in returning streetcars/light rail to Brooklyn.

August 2nd, 2007, 06:52 PM
I hope they are successful in returning streetcars/light rail to Brooklyn.
Red Hook certainly needs a transportation upgrade.

Run a line to Atlantic Yards.

August 13th, 2007, 06:07 PM

WHAT A DRAG: An empty
Van Brundt Street, Red Hook's
main strip.


August 13, 2007 (http://www.nypost.com/seven/08132007/news/regionalnews/call_it_dead_hook_regionalnews_heidi_singer_and_ri ch_calder.htm) -- The once-hyped Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook is going through a down period this summer, with several prominent closures among the handful of restaurants, bars and stores on main drag Van Brunt Street.

In June, Pioneer Bar-B-Q was closed by the city and put up for sale. And top-rated French restaurant 360 shut down, reportedly while its owner takes a hiatus in Africa.

Meanwhile, popular wine and bourbon shop LeNell's has been given a year to find a new home after being ousted by a new building owner.

Real-estate prices in Red Hook have soared more than 30 percent in the past year, with one- to three-family homes selling for $810,000, the Real Estate Board of New York says.

But many wonder whether the isolated, formerly working-class neighborhood can sustain the services that people paying big bucks expect.

Van Brunt Street now has only two bars, two upscale restaurants, the wine shop and a bakery to serve its new residents.

And with an IKEA set to open next year, a Fairway supermarket drawing throngs and possibly more big-box stores to come, neighbors are bracing for a traffic nightmare in the subway-less 'hood.

Most businesses are still doing fine despite rising rents, but the thriving commercial strip of a half-century ago won't come back until the area population is large enough to support it, said John McGettrick of the Red Hook Civic Association.

"An awful lot of businesses I spoke to counted on Imlay Street being up and running," he said of a stalled condo project. "Other businesses counted on more foot traffic from the cruise-ship terminal."

Tourists who arrive at that year-old terminal, which hosts the Queen Mary 2, are whisked to Manhattan in buses.

"It's harder to get people down here than I thought," said Andrew Raible, a furniture designer who pays $3,100 a month for a showroom-loft in the area's first gated community.

"When it comes to high-end furniture, people still like to go into Manhattan."

Copyright 2007 NYP Holdings, Inc.

August 16th, 2007, 01:21 PM
With all that I've been reading amongst all the different forums and posts, there is no definitive lucid logical explanation of why BHRA suffered it's setbacks and would allow the trolleys to be scrapped, only lots of hypothesis.

I though the definitive answer was that BHRA had a "go it alone attitude", and made some serious financial mistakes in terms of grant money.

The grant money dried up, BHRA lost their space to store the street cars in the warehouses on Van Brunt Street, and now those same street cars are rusting on the waterfront.

August 19th, 2007, 06:21 AM
August 19, 2007

New York In Focus

The Pastime Nacional



THE food, by now, has been well chronicled: Vendors lining the edge of Red Hook Park in Brooklyn on summer weekends sling tacos and pupusas on folding tables under tarpaulin roofs. But for many of the people who flock to the park, they are just a warm-up for the main event, the Technicolor baseball games played all day long against a backdrop of post-industrial gray.

The players, members of the Mexican Baseball League of New York, split into three divisions by skill level, come decked out in bright, immaculate uniforms. They provide a sharp contrast to the mottled tan-and-black grain elevator that looms behind the fields, and the fences of giant stone blocks that separate the park from neighboring properties, including a future Ikea site.

On the field they are all business. But before and after the games they mingle with the friends, family and fans who have set up camp to watch, colonizing the grassy spaces down foul lines and behind backstops with spread-out blankets and folding chairs. The crowd takes on a life of its own: Youngsters ride bikes and grown-ups browse T-shirt stands, turning their attention to and from the pop of the ball into a glove.

Smoke rises from the vendor stands at the north end of the park, and third base coaches whisper instructions from the sidelines. Cars speed by on the elevated Brooklyn-Queens Expressway overpass that divides Red Hook from the Brooklyn mainland. It is a day to relax, to escape.

September 10th, 2007, 12:34 AM
I though the definitive answer was that BHRA had a "go it alone attitude", and made some serious financial mistakes in terms of grant money.

The grant money dried up, BHRA lost their space to store the street cars in the warehouses on Van Brunt Street, and now those same street cars are rusting on the waterfront.

Check with your local politician(s), and inquire what happened to the hundreds of thousands of dollars they received to explore mass transit / street cars in Red Hook. These were federal grants. Since BHRA is not running and neither is any other street car mass transit project, where is the money?

One such politician received over a half a mil. I'd like to see what was done with the money, (or at the least see it in escrow) before you go pointing fingers at the one active visionary person who was trying to get it done. Amusing how he was able to do what he did before that grant showed up. Amusing how everything was rather smooth until competition starts running off at the mouth.

It takes two to tango, and takes a politician to step on everyone's toes and chase them off the dance floor.:eek:

March 24th, 2008, 05:44 PM
A video about Bob Diamond's search for the missing LIRR tunnel under Atlantic Ave has found it's way to youtube if anyone is interested:

WhatsBehindTheWall.com is all about The Tunnel, a movie about a tunnel beneath New York City that contains hidden international mysteries about John Wilkes Booth, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the missing pages of Booth's diary that list the conspirators involved in Lincoln's death, and a perfectly preserved locomotive from the early 1800's. One man has led the search for this tunnel and the revelation of its final secrets. The filmmakers are raising money from the public to finish the shooting and excavation, from anyone who wants to know what's behind the wall. More about the legend and the history you weren't taught in school at www.WhatsBehindtheWall.com


April 24th, 2008, 06:14 PM
American Stevedoring Sticking Around Red Hook After All

by Eliot Brown (http://origin.observer.com/2007/author/eliot-brown) | April 24, 2008

http://origin.observer.com/files/imagecache/article/files/RedHookContainerPort.jpg seth holladay via flickr

The Brooklyn container shipping port operator that was once in the city’s crosshairs saw its lease approved by the Port Authority’s governing board today, finalizing a victory in a long-fought battle with the Bloomberg administration.

Led by former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, the city wanted to replace the port operator, American Stevedoring Inc. (http://www.asiterminals.com/), with a bustling complex of marine-related industry, a conference center, a hotel, a beer garden, housing and an expanded cruise terminal.

The city argued that the container shipping site, on Piers 7 – 12 in Red Hook, was inefficient in that location—better suited for a place such as Sunset Park.

But as the city prepared to move ahead, American Stevedoring proved a tenacious opponent (http://www.observer.com/2007/bloomberg-s-people-give-red-hook-second-look-shipping-port), lining up elected officials behind their cause and ultimately forcing the city to back down.

Release from the Port Authority below, and further down is one from Rep. Jerry Nadler, who leaned on the city in favor of the container port. [Updated]


At its monthly meeting this afternoon, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorized the following:

· New lease agreements with American Stevedoring Inc., for a 10-year lease for the Red Hook Container Terminal, Piers 7 and 8 at the Brooklyn-Port Authority Marine Terminal and approximately 30 acres in Port Newark, beginning on May 1, 2008, and ending on April 30, 2018;

· Amendments to the terms of the Master Dredging Agreement made on November 1, 1997, with the New York State Empire State Development Corporation to accommodate requests made by the State of New York that approximately $8.1 million in uncommitted funds be allocated to various economic development initiatives at the Brooklyn waterfront as well as rental arrearages of American Stevedoring that are owed to the Port Authority in connection with the leases at Port Authority marine terminal facilities;

· $1.5 million for planning to assist in the development of a comprehensive delay reduction program for the Port Authority’s four commercial airports, consistent with recommendations of the Flight Delay Task Force;

· $2.5 million for planning and design for roadway improvements to roads serving the North Area of Newark Liberty International Airport, including the realignment of Brewster Avenue and Port Street, which are main arteries providing access to the airport, Port Newark and Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal;

· The Executive Director to award or accept assignment of individual construction trade contracts, not to exceed $10 million, in connection with the development of 1 World Trade Center, the Freedom Tower and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum projects;

· A reaffirmation of authority previously delegated to the executive director that provides for the adjustment of various airport user fees and charges, on an as-needed basis, at John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty International airports, LaGuardia Airport and Teterboro Airport, and expands the authority to include all airports owned or operated by the Port Authority;

· Supplemental agreements with FAPS, Inc., at Port Newark for the extension of leases for approximately 198 acres including open area, warehouse space and office space for a total minimum rent of $98.3 million;

· An amended and restated lease agreement with McLester Realty, LLC, a joint venture of ASA Apple, Inc. and 2-64 Realty, LLC for 24 years for the leasing of approximately 8.1 acres of open space at the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal for a total minimum rent of $17.3 million; and

· The Committee on Finance to purchase insurance under the existing Owners’ Controlled Insurance Program to include coverage for the Vehicle Security Center, Tour Bus Parking Facility and West Bathtub Vehicle Access project at the World Trade Center site.

Rep. Nadler Announces Deal to Keep Red Hook Port Open

Lauds Port Authority, Governor Paterson, Others for 10-Year Lease Renewal for Operator American Stevedoring

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 24, 2008

NEW YORK – Congressman Jerrold Nadler today announced that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved a comprehensive lease renewal deal for American Stevedoring International (ASI) to continue operations at the Red Hook Container Port for the next 10 years. The approval occurred at today's Port Authority annual meeting.

Rep. Nadler applauded the efforts of the Port Authority, the Governor David Paterson, and others for delivering this important deal for New York and the region, ending more than four years of debate about the Brooklyn port’s future.

ASI's previous lease expired in April 2007, and it was proposed years before that the port be rezoned from its historic role as a working waterfront. With the key assistance of the City Council and other elected officials, however, the Port Authority and the Office of the Governor worked to preserve maritime operations at the port, maintaining hundreds of jobs and a major economic and strategic asset for the City.

“By finally extending this long-term lease we have saved the only remaining east-of-the-Hudson port in New York and more than 600 jobs, protected a more efficient method of moving goods in the region, and laid the groundwork for significant economic development for the future,” said Rep. Nadler. “In particular, I want to laud the Herculean efforts of Governor David Paterson and the Port Authority for getting this deal done. We also could not have reached this goal without the critical support of Council Speaker Quinn as well as Council Members David Yassky, Sara Gonzalez, Jessica Lappin, and Mike Nelson, Senator Chuck Schumer, Controller William Thompson, Public Advocate Besty Gotbaum, Congressmemembers Anthony Weiner and Nydia Velasquez, and the many other elected officials who represent the area. Teamsters Local 805, Central Labor Council and the Working Families Party also deserve a substantial share of the credit for their work in saving the port.”

“Not only will this agreement protect hundreds of jobs and a vital industry in Brooklyn for years to come, the positive impact on our environment and economy will be felt for generations,” Rep. Nadler added. "The Port Authority wisely understands the importance of this port, and deserves recognition for nurturing this growing piece of our economy."

“For years, the Brooklyn Port has been a vibrant and necessary part of Brooklyn's economy,” said local Council Member Yassky.

“As we grow and the need for jobs and freight increases, it is heartening to know that the port will be around for years to come.”

“Today's agreement is exactly the kind of forward thinking by our government that we will need to deal with the influx of one million more New Yorkers over the next 25 years,” said Council Member Lappin, chair of the Council's land use committee on maritime uses. “This deal to keep the Brooklyn port open could also not have come at a better time for the City's economy, which desperately needs the boost a booming port business can provide. I am extremely pleased that the working waterfront will continue to work.”

“There are hundreds of workers who can celebrate today because their jobs are safe at the Brooklyn port,” said Sandy Pope, President of Teamsters Local 805 which represents the stevedores at the container port. “These well-paying blue-collar jobs are exactly the kind we need for the working families of this City. Thank you to the Port Authority and Gov. Patterson for protecting them and giving us the opportunity to add even more jobs for New Yorkers.”


© 2008 Observer Media Group,

May 23rd, 2008, 02:44 PM

MONDAY – JUNE 2, 2008 – 7:30 P.M.

Guest Speaker: KEVIN CATUCCI, Senior VP, American Stevedoring Inc.,

Meeting is held in the Canal Street area of Manhattan. Send me a PM for location.

August 27th, 2008, 11:42 PM
Brooklyn Paper

BJ’s on tap for Red Hookers


Red Hook is about to get a BJ’s.

BJ’s Wholesale Club, the members-only retail chain, is close to finalizing a deal to open a big box store on the Red Hook waterfront, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

The retailer that sells everything from pet food to flat screen televisions is on the verge of announcing plans to move into the former site of the Revere Sugar factory, next door to the recently opened Ikea on Beard Street.

Thor Equities and BJ’s were mum on their pending agreement, but Borough President Markowitz’s office said the parties are hammering out the details.

“We’re hearing they’re pretty close to finalizing a deal,” said a spokesman for the Beep.

The tentative deal would be the second partnership between BJ’s, one of the nation’s leading retailers, and Thor, owned by Joe Sitt, this year. In April, Sitt scored his first BJ by securing them as an anchor tenant for a proposed shopping mall he is developing on Shore Parkway in Bensonhurst. Among his other holdings, Sitt is a major landowner in Coney Island.

A spokesman for Sitt said plans had not been finalized.

“Thor is committed to ensuring that whichever organization leases this property, it will fully augment the historic revitalization occurring today in Red Hook. Thor is talking to numerous potential tenants for this site, and no decision has yet been made about who we will partner with,” said company spokesman Stefan Friedman.

But an inside source told The Brooklyn Paper that the plans were well underway for BJ’s to take over the demolished sugar refinery site, which has been leased to Ikea as an overflow parking lot.

The move is hardly a surprise to development watchers. Since Ikea opened in June, experts have said that Red Hook is poised for additional big box retail development.

“Will there be more? Yes. It’s inevitable,” Landon McGaw, director of sales for Massey Knakal Realty Services, told The Brooklyn Paper in June.
That’s because there are many large, idle manufacturing plots, such as the Revere Sugar site.

More warehouse-sized retail stores like BJ’s could be tough to swallow for Red Hook residents, many of whom bitterly opposed the Ikea, though its impact has not caused the apocalypse some predicted. There’s more traffic, especially on weekends, but there have been few complaints.
Borough President Markowitz said that the costs and benefits of any commercial development on the Revere Sugar site would go through a public review, because it would require a zoning change.

“Red Hook — and Brooklyn — are open for business, but while welcoming major retailers to our borough could bring economic vitality and much-needed jobs to previously underserved and underutilized areas, we must also be sure to ‘grow smart’ and preserve a neighborhood’s character,” Markowitz said in a statement in response to a Brooklyn Paper inquiry.

“The [city land review] process will give the community and other stakeholders a chance to have their say on what is ultimately located at the site, and what is best for the residents of Red Hook.”
Brooklyn’s already is home to a BJ’s, which is located off the Belt Parkway at the Gateway Center near Starrett City.

©2008 The Brooklyn Paper

September 5th, 2008, 03:16 PM
Brooklyn Paper

Hookers lining up for their BJs


By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

Plans to bring BJ’s Wholesale Club, potentially the second big box retailer in Red Hook, sent a shiver of excitement and mild horror through the neighborhood this week.

As reported by The Brooklyn Paper last week, developer Joe Sitt hopes to bring the national retailer to the old Revere sugar factory next to Ikea.
But the news of yet another big box on Beard Street sparked a debate similar to the one that raged for years about the likely effects of the Swedish home furnishing giant’s incursion into the hardscrabble neighborhood.

“I’m there for anything that’s going to bring jobs to my community,” said Dorothy Shields, head of the tenants association at the Red Hook East housing project, where unemployment is close to 20 percent.

But opponents saw the BJ’s proposal as confirmation that they were right all along: that the Ikea would create a chain reaction of chain stores.
“Our biggest fear is that [a second national retailer] would lead to the domino effect of big box stores on the waterfront,” said Joe Bernardo, co-owner of the Hope and Anchor diner on Van Brunt Street.

But if there was any difference between the war over Ikea, which drew deep divisions in Red Hook and the worries about the BJ’s, it is that today, people are less fearful of a traffic catastrophe, thanks to the apparent success Ikea has had in minimizing congestion on Red Hook’s narrow and lazy roads by providing free water taxis to Manhattan and shuttle buses to Brooklyn subway stations.

“Ikea has done a great job with traffic,” said Greg O’Connell, who brought the Fairway supermarket to the neighborhood.

Bernardo, who opposed the Ikea, agreed that traffic has not snarled the way he and many others envisioned and said there’s been an increase in weekend customers at his restaurant near the corner of Wolcott Street since Ikea opened — all of which makes him less nervous about the likely arrival of BJ’s.

“I have an open mind. In some ways, we were wrong about Ikea,” he told The Brooklyn Paper.

©2008 The Brooklyn Paper

September 16th, 2008, 03:13 AM
New York Times

Far From Hollywood, Red Hook’s Grit Sells

Christian Hansen for The New York Times
“Red Hook High,” directed by Trac Minh Vu, center, is one of 36 TV pilots being screened at the New York Television Festival.

Published: September 14, 2008

From “The Breakfast Club” to “American Teen,” high-school dramas often star a familiar cast of characters: the princess, the jock, the nerd. In “Red Hook High,” a new television pilot shot in Brooklyn, there is a different set of protagonists: the immigrant, the pregnant girl, the gay guy.
Skip to next paragraph (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/15/nyregion/15pilot.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin#secondParagraph) Enlarge This Image (http://javascript<b></b>:pop_me_up2('http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/09/15/nyregion/15pilotCA02ready.html', '15pilotCA02ready', 'width=720,height=600,scrollbars=yes,toolbars=no,r esizable=yes'))

Julia Rosenfeld
In the pilot, David Etienne, 17, plays Peter, a Haitian immigrant who is counseled by an older brother to stay in school.

“It’s the anti-‘Gossip Girl,’ ” said Trac Minh Vu, the director of “Red Hook High.” “It’s the anti-‘90210.’ It’s about real kids with real-life problems.” “Gossip Girl” and “90210” are, of course, popular television shows featuring upper-class teenagers with Hollywood looks.

“Red Hook High” is set in a Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood that is teetering on the edge of gentrification. The actors are local teenagers, some of whom attended South Brooklyn Community High School in Red Hook, where the pilot was filmed. There was no script, just a story outline and character profiles.

The teenagers developed the dialogue themselves over the course of a seven-week acting workshop held after school. Mr. Vu found the students through three local youth arts programs.

“Since there weren’t any writers, it made me feel like I was in charge of saying what I believe in,” said Tabitha Cadet, 18, who plays Lenae in the pilot. “If I was to say something that I didn’t believe in, I wouldn’t feel right about portraying that character.”

Mr. Vu said the students were often acting out the dramas in their own lives. “It’s definitely skirting the line between drama and documentary,” he said, “but staying firmly on the line of drama.”

“Red Hook High” is one of 36 pilots chosen to screen this week at the New York Television Festival at New World Stages in Manhattan. The festival, which ends Wednesday, attracts top television executives looking for shows with commercial potential.

The best realistic outcome for Mr. Vu, he said, would be to serve as a consultant on a new network series based on his pilot. Last year, Mr. Vu directed “Dear Harvard,” a teenage drama set on the Upper East Side that won the best drama, best actress and audience choice awards at the festival. This time Mr. Vu wanted to highlight a different kind of teenage life.

“If you look at the surface, these are the kids your parents warned you about,” Mr. Vu said of the students at South Brooklyn Community High School, a public school that recruits troubled students from traditional schools. “They’re maybe a bit grittier than a normal high school kid.”
Mr. Vu developed the story lines for the pilot three years ago when he was a teaching artist at South Brooklyn Community High School. As he got to know some of the students, they told him stories that later inspired the themes of the show.

“I would see a 15-year-old girl come to class and she’d be seven months pregnant and talking about her doctor’s visit, then flip around and have questions about her English assignment,” Mr. Vu said. “One guy, who was always the goof-off, had a wicked story of being stopped by the police and had a pen jabbed down his throat to make him throw up because they thought he swallowed drugs.”

Mr. Vu created, directed, produced and edited “Red Hook High” on nights and weekends, when he was not at his day job producing internal video communications at an investment bank. He financed the pilot himself, which he said cost $15,000 to $25,000 to produce.

During a coffee break last week, Mr. Vu, who lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, sat in an office on the 43rd floor of a building in Lower Manhattan, overlooking the East River. He pointed to the red and blue cranes on the Red Hook shoreline, as one of the water taxis that link Manhattan and the new Ikea (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/ikea/index.html?inline=nyt-org) store in Red Hook headed across the river.

“Red Hook is historically a rough neighborhood,” he said. “The decisions these kids have to make are the kinds of decisions a lot of kids don’t have to make.”

In the pilot episode, Peter, played by David Etienne, 17, lives alone with his older brother, John. They are Haitian immigrants whose parents are not in the picture. John lectures Peter to go to school, stay in school and finish school. Then he hands him a package wrapped in a brown paper bag and orders him to deliver it to his friend.

In another scene, Lenae and Star, played by Ms. Cadet and Tiffany Innocent, 16, decipher the directions on a home pregnancy test. Ms. Cadet, now a freshman at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, said that “Red Hook High” was more realistic than other teenage dramas on TV.
“I had friends who were in that situation, being pregnant,” she said. “There are so many teens that involve themselves with drugs, like a couple of characters were. I can relate to the whole thing.”

Ms. Cadet likes the way the show seeks to explain why youngsters miss school. And while the students deal with adult situations, she appreciates that they are also depicted acting their age.

“Other shows have scenes where they have kids trying to be older than they are,” she said. In one scene, Lenae and Star help each other with makeup. “We said, ‘Don’t put that on, put that on,’ ” Ms. Cadet said. “That’s what happens in real life. It’s not like they grew up and it was in their DNA, how to put on makeup and use an eyelash curler.”

Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 23rd, 2008, 05:28 PM

September 23, 2008

A New Hotel for Red Hook?


Despite reports (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/08/permanent_vacan.php) last month of Brooklyn's hotel-development woes, a four-story, 81-room "boutique hotel" is proposed (but not yet approved) for a 22,500-square-foot plot at 17 Seabring Street in Red Hook, according to the developer and the DOB (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=1&passjobnumber=310191459&passdocnumber=01). We couldn't get the developer to send us a rendering, and the architect, Michael Kang, doesn't have images on his Web site (http://michaelkangarchitect.com/) yet, so who knows if this is a high-styling spot or a humble little joint off the BQE (this spot is far from the hipster haven of lower Van Brunt street)? GMAP (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=17+seabring+street+brooklyn,+ny&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title) DOB (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=1&passjobnumber=310191459&passdocnumber=01)

September 25th, 2008, 08:28 PM
Brooklyn Paper

Hookers to get BJ’s in a mall

By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

The BJ’s Wholesale Club destined for the Red Hook waterfront might be part of a six-level shopping plaza with several other stores and even some residential units, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

Documents obtained by The Paper reveal that developer Joe Sitt wants to renovate a historic warehouse on the former Revere sugar refinery; erect several new buildings for shopping, parking and housing; and create a 40-feet-wide public esplanade by 2011 along the water’s edge of the Beard Street property next door to the recently opened Ikea.

Sitt’s company Thor Equities would not comment about the “request for proposals” that Sitt issued in July, but if the plans are still current and the city approves a zoning change to allow commercial and residential development, the project would catapult Red Hook into the borough’s major big box retail destination.

The documents, which were part of a package to solicit bids from architects to build the shopping plaza, sought proposals “to maximize commercial retail square-footage” of at least 400,000 square feet — larger than Red Hook’s Ikea.

The latest RFP builds on earlier versions of the plan that have circulated since Sitt bought the former Revere plant in 2005 for $40 million.

Red Hook residents who fought tooth and nail against Ikea, are delaying judgment on this newer retail project.

“Caution is the code word for the day,” said John McGettrick of the Red Hook Civic Association. “I have many more questions than I have answers [about Thor’s plans].”

For others, opposition is in full bloom.

“A waterfront is our most-limited land resource, so I think this is not the right place [for such a project],” said John Quadrozzi, who owns the nearby Gowanus Industrial Park, a waterfront manufacturing site.

©2008 The Brooklyn Paper

September 30th, 2008, 02:50 PM
Once again, that headline is too irresistible for The Brooklyn Paper.

November 10th, 2008, 04:43 PM
Brooklyn Paper

November 10, 2008 (http://www.brooklynpaper.com/sections/31/45/)

City dumps Hook pier plan

By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper

Tom Fox
A plan to turn this area along the Red Hook waterfront into a marina and a maritime center have been quietly abandoned by the city. The existing cruise ship terminal occupies the pier just to the right of the center of the photo.

The city quietly sank its plan for redeveloping a piece of the Red Hook waterfront with a marina, entertainment and hotels, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

More than two years after the city began soliciting bids for an inactive city-controlled pier next to the cruise ship terminal and just south of Hamilton Avenue, developers were shocked to receive letters about two weeks ago from the Economic Development Corporation that it had rejected all the proposals.

“We are befuddled,” said Bruce Batkin, co-founder of Terra Capital Partners, which submitted a proposal for Pier 11 that included a luxury marina, restaurants, a shipyard and a slip for ferries to connect with nearby Governors Island. “This seemed to answer what they were looking for. It would have been highly profitable for the city.”

Another proposal arrived from New York Water Taxi and the Durst Organization, which would have built a public beach, concessions and marina, too. Like Batkin’s plan, this one promised well-paying skilled labor jobs for Red Hook, which has high unemployment.

“We’re looking to get the public to support us,” Tom Fox, president of New York Water Taxi told the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association last Thursday night.

He described his project as a “less formal, funky place” with its public access to the waterfront, the man-made beach and bicycle greenway.

The EDC did not discuss its decision. Spokeswoman Janelle Paterson said only, “None of the proposals met our criteria.”

It is unclear what was missing. In a January, 2007 announcement about the redevelopment of Pier 11, the city said it wanted “a marina and maritime support services,” adding that “preference will be given to proposals that maximize public access to Atlantic Basin and improve the waterfront experience for visitors and residents.”

The death of the Pier 11 plan is yet another setback in the city’s waterfront agenda for Brooklyn. The Bloomberg Administration suffered another defeat this year when American Stevedoring, which operates a cargo port on four neighboring piers, signed a 10-year lease with the Port Authority, despite years of city effort to gain control of those docks to build housing, shopping and a new home for Brooklyn Brewery.

©2008 The Brooklyn Paper

December 16th, 2008, 04:52 AM

December 12, 2008

Designs for Red Hook Vendors Revealed (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php)

Selected Entry 1 – Food Fence; Designers: Mateo Pinto, Carolina Cisneros

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-1_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=1#gallery-1258) http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-2_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=2#gallery-1258) http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-3_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=3#gallery-1258) http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-4_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=4#gallery-1258) http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-5_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=5#gallery-1258)
http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-6_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=6#gallery-1258) http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-7_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=7#gallery-1258) http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-8_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=8#gallery-1258) http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/redhook-vend-9_restrict_width_72.jpg (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/12/designs_for_red.php?gallery1258Pic=9#gallery-1258)

Architecture for Humanity New York (http://www.afhny.org/) and the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park, Inc created a design competition they called "A New Marketplace for the Red Hook Park Vendors – An Open Call for Ideas." And here are their favorites. Renderings do not come with free tacos, alas.

August 16th, 2009, 02:51 AM
August 14, 2009

Revere Sugar Demolition Continues






Developer Joe Sitt (of Coney Island fame) and his company, Thor Equities, recommenced demolition of the former Revere Sugar Refinery in Red Hook this week. As the Brooklyn Paper reported, Sitt had already demolished most of the refinery in 2006, amongst the protests of preservationists, in order to build a mega-mall with BJ's Wholesale Club as the anchor, but left standing a brick warehouse at the edge of the property. Thor Equities explained: "Thor’s original intention was to adaptively reuse the Revere Sugar factory warehouse as part of a new development, but after further analysis, the engineers found structural problems with the building making it unstable and potentially dangerous, and we were forced to proceed with taking the structure down." We stopped by yesterday to check on the progress. GMAP (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=280+Richards+Street,+brooklyn,+ny&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.916234,78.75&ie=UTF8&ll=40.674112,-74.014099&spn=0.009358,0.019226&z=16&iwloc=A)

Joe Sitt Sours on Revere Sugar Mini-Mall (http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/32/32_32_mm_revere_sugar_building.html) [Brooklyn Paper]
Red Hook Revere Sugar Teardown Renewed (http://curbed.com/archives/2009/08/10/red_hook_revere_sugar_teardown_renewed.php) [Curbed]
Plans for Red Hook Mall at Refinery Site (http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2009/02/thor_reveals_pl.php) [Brownstoner]


August 17th, 2009, 09:06 PM
^ Sitt, the Shitt.

October 26th, 2009, 05:41 AM
A High-Tech Home for Multimillion-Dollar Works of Art



Over the decades, Red Hook, Brooklyn, has been home to many things: a brawny, corrupt waterfront; free-range prostitution; a sprawling housing project once pocked by drugs and gunfire; artists seeking space and the hunters of cool who inevitably follow them.

Now the neighborhood is about to land one of its odder residents — an enormous, high-tech warehouse with security worthy of James Bond, all to protect the multimillion-dollar artworks, manuscripts, furniture and even rare cars that Christie’s (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/christies/index.html?inline=nyt-org), the upscale auction house, plans to store on the docks.

The pearl-gray colossus, one of two former New York Dock Company loft buildings, is not much to look at now, housing piles of dust and detritus as it looms over the weeds and gritty businesses of Imlay Street. But come January, Christie’s executives say, the building will boast infrared video cameras, biometric readers and motion-activated monitors, as well as smoke-, heat- and water-detection systems.

Inside, the warehouse will hold the likes of van Gogh (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/v/vincent_van_gogh/index.html?inline=nyt-per), Monet (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/claude_monet/index.html?inline=nyt-per), Picasso (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/pablo_picasso/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and Brancusi, with each collection potentially worth more than the building itself.

“It’s not residential, it’s industrial, it’s quiet, it can be very secure and we liked the location very near the city,” Joe Stasko, the international managing director for Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services, said of the property, for which the company has signed a lease for 30 years. “We’re looking at this as a long-term investment and as a long-term service that we provide to our clients.”

Christie’s has operated a fine-art storage business in London for 25 years, but is expanding its facilities to Singapore and New York as demand for holding space has grown among collectors and dealers around the globe. The company is looking to expand further, Mr. Stasko said, and is scouting additional properties in the United States, Europe and Asia.

The Red Hook warehouse, with its concrete-and-steel structure and 250,000 square feet spread over six stories, is ideal for creating customized, air-purified, climate- and humidity-controlled storage units and private viewing galleries, Mr. Stasko said, adding that its location near a cruise ship port makes it a convenient and known taxi destination for clients.

But for all the high-toned gloss of, say, a $140 million Pollock drip painting or a $100 million diamond-studded platinum skull coming to an area that once funneled grain, sugar, coffee and cotton to points near and far, the Christie’s move to the mangy waterfront does not represent another nail in the coffin of urban industry.

Instead, it comes as an arts-based manufacturing center is emerging just three miles away.

At the Brooklyn Navy Yard (http://www.brooklynnavyyard.org/), a company called Surroundart is adding a new building, and will ultimately have almost 20 times the space of its original 8,000-square-foot operation. The company, which works with museums, galleries and private collectors, not only stores art but also makes specialized shipping crates for it and offers transportation and consulting services.

“This is 21st-century manufacturing,” said Andrew H. Kimball, president of the Navy Yard, where other creative businesses have clustered, drawing workers from the surrounding areas in an artier replay of last century’s blue-collar pattern. “It’s smart industry that’s growing,” he added, as developers figure out “how we adaptively reuse big multistory industrial buildings.”

In the case of the big multistory industrial buildings at 160 and 62 Imlay Street, the developer Bruce B. Federman originally bought them in 2000 and 2002 for about $22 million altogether.

One of the largest commercial and industrial landlords in the city, Mr. Federman planned to capitalize on the proximity to Lower Manhattan and spectacular views across New York Harbor by converting the industrial lofts to high-end apartments. He moved first on 160 Imlay, winning a variance in 2003 from the Board of Standards and Appeals to change the use from manufacturing to residential.

Construction, however, was delayed by a lawsuit from the Red Hook-Gowanus Chamber of Commerce, which sought to preserve the site’s industrial use.

By the time Mr. Federman won the right to proceed in 2007, he said, the residential market was already questionable, so he postponed the project and turned his attention to 62 Imlay, deciding a long-term commercial tenant would make more sense. Now that he has signed the lease with Christie’s, he said, he would consider a similar arrangement for 160, which had already been gutted and shrouded in black netting in anticipation of expensive residences to come.

Instead, the site will play host to whatever expensive objects the well-heeled clients of Christie’s decide to store there, along with what Mr. Federman lures to its sibling building. That could be a charter school (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/charter_schools/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier), back offices and record storage for a law firm or some sort of industrial distribution center, he said.

“I still think it will be a fantastic residential conversion, but with the economic climate being what it is today,” Mr. Federman said, “it may make sense to do a Christie’s-like commercial deal and treat it as a bond — you, know, put it away for 30 years, let my children see what’s happening 30 years from now.”


November 11th, 2009, 04:42 AM
Dust Has Yet to Settle Over New Concrete Plant


Opponents of a new concrete plant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, say it will undermine the air quality at nearby sites like this ball field.

Once it might have seemed a match made in zoning heaven: a concrete plant dropped into gritty, tumbledown Red Hook.

But Red Hook, a western Brooklyn peninsula known for its rough-hewn docks and their denizens, has been cultivating a gentler, more genteel image for years now, becoming a magnet for artists looking for cheap space, homesteaders longing for views of the Statue of Liberty and foodies craving organic vegetables grown in the neighborhood.

So the plant, which is nearing completion, has spurred protests in this split-personality neighborhood. The clouds of dust stirred up could be quite literal: What mostly worries opponents are the airborne particles they say the plant will scatter to the yellow-and-blue Ikea next door, heavily used baseball fields across the street, and a 2.75-acre farm nearby on a former playground.

“There’s a certain irony that we have a mayor talking about no smoking in parks, but he has no problem allowing the construction of a concrete plant that would shower cement dust on children in the park,” said John McGettrick, a co-president of the Red Hook Civic Association.

Seven hundred people signed a petition opposing the plant, and 70 residents picketed on a rainy September day, with children in dust masks holding signs that said “Honk 4 No Cement.”

But city officials, who want to preserve factories and the jobs they provide, have declared a swath of Red Hook that includes the plant site an industrial business zone. Ikea, less than pleased, realized there was nothing it could do.

Joseph Roth, Ikea’s director of public affairs, said that the company hoped that if the plant actually opened, it would be “a good neighbor.”

Mike Gentoso, the Atlantic region vice president of U.S. Concrete, the plant’s Houston-based parent company, said the site had been paved to minimize dust and equipped with sophisticated dust collectors. “All these type of devices are state-of-the-art technology for a ready-mix plant,” he said. “We don’t feel we will have an issue of dust.”

The opponents have not given up, even though the plant’s silo and hoppers are up and mounds of sand and crushed stone are poised for a start-up by the end of the month. Eventually, up to 20 concrete mixers could load up three times a day while another 15 trucks would deliver sand and stone, according to plant officials.

At first glance, the controversy is not about zoning: The site has long been zoned for heavy industry. But opponents like Mr. McGettrick argue that beyond issues of air pollution and truck traffic, the city needs to do more to encourage apartment dwelling, not industry. Doing so would return the neighborhood to a more bustling time when it was also a cargo and manufacturing hub, but paradoxically had twice as many people.

The lunch-pail ambience of that time was captured by Arthur Miller’s drama “A View from the Bridge” and Elia Kazan’s film “On the Waterfront” (even though it was shot in Hoboken). But the neighborhood went into a tailspin as container shipping moved to New Jersey, factories shut, wage earners left and buildings succumbed to abandonment.

Red Hook’s population, 25,000 in 1960, now stands at less than 11,000, with more than half dwelling in Red Hook Houses, Brooklyn’s largest public complex.

But adventurers today are attracted by the neighborhood’s raw, unkempt look. Mr. McGettrick, a dockworker’s son, said the city should capitalize by opening Red Hook’s existing buildings to apartments. “It has all the charm of a waterfront village in the midst of the country’s most powerful city,” he said.

Fronting on the placid vista of Upper New York Bay but pocked by landmarks like the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Gowanus Canal, Red Hook is about as industrial as New York gets, with plants that fabricate or process high-tech equipment, soda bottles, garbage and impounded cars. Four concrete plants already line the Gowanus.

Some 5,000 people are employed in Red Hook, and industry has grown by 60 percent since 1991, according to the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation. But the neighborhood has also seen counterintuitive changes, which suggest that it is the plant’s timing that makes it so unwelcome.

A trickle of artists and homesteaders was followed in 2006 by Fairway, the purveyor of arugula and Brie, which opened a market in a brick Civil War-era warehouse. Ikea came along in 2008 and has largely been accepted. The local playing fields are popular with Brooklyn’s private schools as well as the borough’s mosaic of immigrants. The park is home to a rugby league, a Mexican baseball league and a Chabad Hasidic league.

The commissioner of the Red Hook Little League, Peter Morales, said that during the season six of his teams play three days a week across from the plant.

“The kids running the bases breathe through their mouths, and they’re going to be inhaling this stuff,” he said.

Six years ago, Added Value, a neighborhood nonprofit, transformed an asphalt playground into a farm that grows organic peppers, kale and tomatoes. It sells the produce to restaurants and, on Saturdays, through a farmers’ market. Its goal is to employ two dozen teenagers a season to sharpen their skills. It also offers classes in healthy eating for 1,300 students.

“My concern is that parents and teachers won’t want to come here if there are health concerns,” said Ian Marvy, its director. “We try to grow healthy food, and there will be questions about whether the food can be called healthy in this environment.”


April 6th, 2010, 05:20 AM
Marvelous building. Shame about the ugliness at street level.


September 9th, 2010, 06:31 PM
i was born and raised in red hook and unfortunately raising my kids here. with economy so bad i can not leave. The gangs are getting worse and the cops don't help. as long as you are not dead or bleeding the cops cant do anything, so they say. i have had gangs tormenting people on my block and i live next to the justice center. once they are closed the projects move in for the kill. i recently had my windows broken garbage bags from the section 8 complex across the street from was thrown in my gate and in my entry way. i called the cops gave them the descriptions of the perps. whit wife beaters hanging jeans down to their knees, underwear showing. doo rags and beads around their necks. the officer told me that is the description of half the projects and could not make the report because i did not have enough info.

i read in the carrol garden or brooklyn paper about a white male that was coming from a bar on van brunt street that was relieved of his ipod. the paper stated a that there was going to be an investigation about this. his discription was just like mine. this is my house where i live with my children. pay taxes, mortgage, insurance, work in the community .i dont come from else where like that guy whos ipod was taken and yet they will investigate for his stuff and not my issue (vandalism). i guess when the yuppies call they get better service from the cops. i hate making this a white people issue but i must. there is even in justice with the walking of the dogs. early morning they congregate in coffey park with no leashes and i saw many that did not pick up there dogs doodoo balls. anyone else like have witnessed get summonses. then we have the riding of the bikes on sidewalks and no helmet. i have witnessed cops watching and smiling at them and have not issued summonses. plus you have the so called cafes and the bars that are really rowdy until about 3 and 4am drinking out side the establishments they don't get citations. it seems that the cops go by watching that nothing happens to them because they are drunk. now anyone else will be incarcerated, or given desk appearance tickets because they are drinking in there gate of their home.

i am very angry. and i do not mean to offend anyone. i love that people are trying to cash in and make red hook better it is of course in there best interest. but they must clean out the riff raff. i cringe when i hear people saying how wonderful red hook is when they probably out of the neighborhood or live here and really don't know outside there fronnt house. i have spoken to many whites on van brunt street and they have admitted to me that they have a comfort zone. they are in by a certain time and they don't walk beyond the boundaries. i ask what was the boundary they said "dont pass richard street....go to ikea and red hook recreation facility via beard street..".

i am afraid that something will happen to my kids. i want to leave but i dont have the money for the move. i had gotten offers for my home for 6oo,ooo that was a slapp in the face when houses have been selling for 900,000. last year house on my block went for over a million.

there was a youth that was shot in the face 5 times last month beginning of august. then a group the same kids in their words merked another kid that is still in coma. another family's house in the projects had their door shot 5 times and left mega holes on the metal door. a kid got stabbed ....a girl got beat up by 3 guys she was only 15 on her way back from the store...you dont hear this ever why???? noo red hook may look beautiful to some but it is the devil in disguise .. i know when something happens to a white home owner then 76 precinct will do something. that is sad.. again i am sorry but this is what i have observed for so many years. i think the best times was when we had the Italian mafia here on van brunt street. they would protect us from the project people and whatever riff raff that would bother our quiet times in red hook. ok they would be bodies turning up now and then but that had nothing to do with residents we were not involved in anyway that was their personal wars.....but with these gangs they involve everybody they bully your children ,vandalize your home. they keep coming... i will protect my family every which way... my family's life comes first i learned that from someone special that was back in the a true gangsta and taught me to eat lasagna70's. i make a mean puerto rican lasagna :). maybe i will be seen in the news one day.....because i had to defend my family....

i love red hook i really want it to be on its way up but it is not!!

September 11th, 2010, 02:56 AM
Full article posted in Mass Transit and the Future of Cities (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10755&p=337613#post337613) thread

City Now Considering Bringing Trolley Back to Red Hook (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/09/10/city_now_considering_bringing_trolley_back_to_red_ hook.php)

March 17th, 2012, 03:35 AM
Outlier Near the ‘Center of the Universe’




[Amazing composition \/:]


slide show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/03/14/realestate/20120318LIVINGIN.html?ref=realestate#1)

WHEN Frank Galeano was growing up on Union Street in the 1960s, Red Hook next door had so many abandoned buildings that he and his friends used them as “clubhouses,” running extension cords from nearby streetlights.

In Red Hook today, houses are much harder to come by. Even fixer-uppers sell for nearly $1 million — when available at all. Yet though the area has a big-box furniture store, a destination supermarket, a number of waterfront parks and a modest but tenacious stretch of restaurants and boutiques, it retains some of the off-the-grid ambience that Mr. Galeano, a Brooklyn real estate agent, recalls as part of his youth.

The neighborhood’s first traffic light was installed only after a Fairway Market opened on Van Brunt Street in 2006. Others have followed. Before that, data indicated that none were necessary, said Craig Hammerman, the district manager of Community Board 6, which represents the area.

“It kind of spoke to the quietude and isolation that some people enjoyed and some people found frustrating,” Mr. Hammerman said.

The majority of residents — more than 6,000 out of the 10,300 or so documented in the 2010 census — live in the Red Hook Houses, a pair of public housing developments with 30 residential buildings next to the Gowanus Expressway. They include the most vocal proponents of the Ikea store that opened on Beard Street in 2008, who argued that it would bring accessible jobs.

Predictions from the store’s opponents that the store would also bring traffic congestion have so far proved unfounded.

In fact, getting in and out of Red Hook without a car or a bike can be hard: mass transit is limited to the water taxi, the B-61 bus and the Ikea shuttle.

Aaron Kenedi, a magazine editor who bought a house on Dikeman Street in February with his wife, Beth Kaiser, has experience with this issue. The couple, who have lived in Williamsburg for the last five years, are based there, carless, while they renovate the two-story Civil War-era Red Hook house, which cost them about $860,000.

The property includes a backyard that houses 12 chickens — chicken cultivation being a popular pastime among some of Red Hook’s newer residents — and Mr. Kenedi’s trips to the house, on the way to and from work in Manhattan, include long ferry and bus rides, often with bagfuls of fresh eggs. He recently made his way there by bus from Kensington, south of Prospect Park, with a bale of hay along for the ride.

Mr. Kenedi, who is 41, and Ms. Kaiser, who is 35 and works in advertising, had thought they were living on the edge of the city in Williamsburg, until a series of high-rise towers — called the Edge, coincidentally — opened across the street from them, blocking their skyline views. Their new location, where they hope to be living full time by the end of summer, promises a return to relative calm.

“Williamsburg is nuts,” he said. “Red Hook is quiet and peaceful.”

Though it is less quiet than it used to be, Mr. Galeano said he still enjoyed a stroll along the waterfront — for instance, to the end of the pier at Louis Valentino Jr. Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/historical-signs/listings?id=13125). The relative inaccessibility means that many residents are a proudly self-selecting group.

“You tend to see the same faces every day,” Mr. Galeano said. “To me, it seems like the closest you can get to that Manhattan-center-of-the-universe and still have a small-town feel.”


A chunk of land covering less than half a square mile, Red Hook faces Governors Island to the northwest and the mouth of the Gowanus Canal to the southeast. Its eastern border is the Gowanus Expressway. The main commercial district runs along Van Brunt Street, the route of the B-61 bus. Popular businesses include a bakery called Baked and a restaurant and bar called Hope & Anchor. Victoria Hagman, owner of Realty Collective, which is opening an office on Van Brunt, described the area as crowded with day-trippers on warm weekend afternoons, but “kind of brutal” in the winter wind.

Like many other residents, Ms. Hagman, who bought a house on King Street for about $650,000 in 2010, makes a point of patronizing local businesses year-round. There are pockets of housing, most notably on Van Dyke, Coffey, Walcott and Dikeman Streets perpendicular to Van Brunt, but Ms. Hagman says much of the area is an even mix of commercial and residential. Much of her block, for instance, is industrial buildings or empty lots.

Considering all this, Ms. Hagman said, those drawn to the area are distinctive. “It’s not like, ‘Hey, we’re looking everywhere else — let’s look in Red Hook,’ ” she said. “It’s, ‘Hey, I want to be in Red Hook.’ ”

Deborah Rieders, a Corcoran broker who sold Mr. Kenedi and Ms. Kaiser their house, said that this passion for the area had contributed to a resurgence in sales, after a period of relative inactivity during the downturn.

“There’s a real lack of inventory” at the moment, she said. “I have a lot of people that want to buy down there — you’re lucky if a house comes on the market every four or five months.” Which means that even out-of-the-way houses sell for a premium, she added.

That demand has spilled over into the apartment market. Subsidized units at the nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee’s three-building co-op development on Coffey and Wolcott Streets have all sold, and only a few market-rate units are left, Ms. Rieders said.


One-family town houses have sold in the high $800,000s, Mr. Galeano said, though as Ms. Rieders noted, properties in good condition, or on cobblestone blocks by the water, or close to Van Brunt, can sometimes bring double that.

Ms. Hagman described a house she had recently sold on Pioneer Street for $850,000 as needing about $150,000 worth of work. A similar house in pristine condition, she added, would cost more like $1.25 million. Mr. Kenedi, knocking on wood, said work on his house should cost about $80,000.

Though condos are rare and co-ops rarer, prices are still attractive compared with those in busier and more accessible spots like Carroll Gardens. Two- and three-bedrooms have sold recently in the $300,000-to-$500,000 range, one-bedrooms toward the low end of that range.

As for rentals, Ms. Hagman said, one-bedrooms sometimes become available for $1,200 or $1,300 a month, though given the eclectic stock, prices can sometimes be as high at $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom. Two-bedrooms, she said, rent for $1,800 to $2,200 a month, three-bedroom units closer to $3,000. Joseph DiFiore of Awaye Realty said he had a one-bedroom rental in newly renovated space for $1,700. Streeteasy recently had 13 units listed for rent — though that tally doesn’t reflect listings from all owners and smaller brokers.


With the Smith-Ninth Street stop on the F train closed for renovations, the easiest way to get to the subway is via the B-61 bus, which connects to the well-linked neighborhoods of Downtown Brooklyn and Park Slope.

Drivers have easy access to the Gowanus Expressway and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Mr. Hammerman of Community Board 6 says the city has worked hard in recent years to improve pedestrian safety in areas like busy Hamilton Avenue under the highway.


The western half of the area is zoned for Public School 15, on Sullivan Street, which got a B on its most recent city report card, with 54.5 percent found proficient in English, 62 percent in math. To the east, there is the Red Hook Neighborhood School on Huntington Street, which got a C, with 30.4 percent proficient in English, 38.3 percent in math.

Middle schools include the Brooklyn Secondary School for Collaborative Studies, on Henry Street in Carroll Gardens, which serves Grades 6 through 12. Last year in the middle school, 38.8 percent were found proficient in English, 38.9 percent in math. At the Summit Academy Charter School, which shares a building with the Red Hook Neighborhood School, 18.9 percent demonstrated proficiency in English, 43.8 percent in math.

At the South Brooklyn Community High School on Conover Street, SAT averages last year were 387 in reading, 359 in math and 370 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


Red Hook Park, near the Red Hook Houses on Bay Street, has baseball and soccer fields and a track. It’s popular in the warm months — both for athletics and for its Latin American food vendors. A public pool across Bay Street is busy throughout the summer.

Along with the stores on Van Brunt, food and drink producers operate out of the area, among them Stumptown Coffee Roasters and the Sixpoint Brewery.

There is access to the waterfront behind the Fairway Market, by the Waterfront Museum on Coffey Street, at Ikea’s new waterfront promenade, or at the end of most any street. Many have views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.


Settled by Europeans in 1636, the area was named in part for the color of its soil, according to the Encyclopedia of New York City. It was a busy shipping center from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, before most freight operations moved to New Jersey.


October 15th, 2012, 03:41 PM
Some of you may be interested to know that I just published a book about Red Hook titled: IMAGES OF RED HOOK, BROOKLYN. Its primarily a photo book but also features some history and interviews with residents and area workers. For more info check out: imagesofredhook.com