It's chock-a-block with refreshing views of both the water and southern tip of Manhattan, dedicated local residents, and interesting venues. Red Hook makes for a great day trip from Manhattan for tourists and visitors, and an interesting place for Brooklyn residents to explore.
Red Hook in Brooklyn is more than your typical Brooklyn neighborhood. It's a work in progress, defined by a mixture of light industry, open space, residential enclaves and a still palpable sense of urban pioneering. The population density here is lower than in most of Manhattan, so it can seem, by comparison, very quiet.
Brookynites can find interesting pizzerias and bars here, the occasional art show, several excellent nurseries for plants and flowers, a large community garden.
Tourists and locals alike can treat yourselves to take a spectacular twenty minute ferry boat ride to Manhattan, see where old trolley cars and trolley tracks, pick up New York's best key lime pie from the baker, and visit Brooklyn's quirkiest museum, a historic floating barge, the Waterfront Museum & Showboat Barge.
How to describe Red Hook? It exhibits an odd combination of elements from the 19th to the 21st centuries.
You'll certainly find big box stores (IKEA), and a huge supermarket that draws gentrified Brooklynites (Fairway) from afar. Parts of Red Hook hums with light industry, so in the early mornings on weekdays there's a lot of purposeful activity as trucks pull out for their daily routes. Smack in the middle of Red Hook sits a huge low income housing project. You can find a glass blowing studio here, and picnic in a little park that feels so close to the Statue of Liberty you feel like you are sitting in her lap.
Where the Erie Basin meets Brooklyn, you can find fabulous walks vast waterfront piers and take the measure of extraordinary, large warehouses, many converted into artists lofts. In the summer, you can swim in an immense, 1930s-era Olympic sized swimming pool at the Red Hook Recreation Center . On Sundays there's a fiesta and good food stands that pop up as intense soccer games are played on municipal soccer fields. On a more pedestrian note, Red Hook, thanks to its open spaces, is also where generations of Brooklyn kids have taken their driving tests.
Welcome to Red Hook, Brooklyn.
(And, for general information: A Visitors Guide to Brooklyn, NY)