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Thread: Red Hook, Brooklyn

  1. #106


    Brooklyn Paper

    November 10, 2008

    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

  2. #107



    December 12, 2008

    Designs for Red Hook Vendors Revealed

    Selected Entry 1 – Food Fence; Designers: Mateo Pinto, Carolina Cisneros

    Architecture for Humanity New York 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.

  3. #108
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    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

    Joe Sitt Sours on Revere Sugar Mini-Mall [Brooklyn Paper]
    Red Hook Revere Sugar Teardown Renewed [Curbed]
    Plans for Red Hook Mall at Refinery Site [Brownstoner]

  4. #109


    ^ Sitt, the Shitt.

  5. #110
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    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, 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, Monet, Picasso 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, 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, 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.”

  6. #111
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    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.”

  7. #112
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    Marvelous building. Shame about the ugliness at street level.

  8. #113


    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 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!!

  9. #114

  10. #115
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    Outlier Near the ‘Center of the Universe’


    [Amazing composition \/:]

    slide show

    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. 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.

  11. #116

    Default New Book about Red Hook

    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:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	REDHOOK_crane cover final.jpg 
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    Last edited by GowanusGuy; October 15th, 2012 at 03:44 PM. Reason: added cover photo

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