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Red Hook, Brooklyn: Wikis


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Coordinates: 40°40′35″N 74°00′41″W / 40.676520°N 74.011373°W / 40.676520; -74.011373

Red Hook circa 1875
Holland-style factory building in Red Hook
Entry to Erie Basin in 2008
Exit from Erie Basin in 2010

Red Hook is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, USA. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6. It is also the location where the last remaining transatlantic liner, the RMS Queen Mary 2, docks in New York City. It has also been ranked as one of New York's most dangerous neighborhoods[1].



Before annexation into the 12th Ward of Brooklyn, Red Hook was a separate village. It is named for the red clay soil and the point of land projecting into the East River. The village was settled by the Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam in 1636, and named Roode Hoek. In Dutch "Hoek" means "point" or "corner" and not the English hook (i.e., not something curved or bent). Today, the area is home to about 11,000 people.

Rapeleye Street in Red Hook marks the beginnings of one of New Amsterdam's earliest families, the Rapelje clan, descended from the first European child born in the new Dutch settlement in the New World, Sarah Rapelje.[2] A couple of decades after the birth of his daughter Sarah, Joris Jansen Rapelje removed to Brooklyn, where he was one of the Council of twelve men, and where he was soon joined by son-in-law Hans Hansen Bergen. Rapeleye Street in Red Hook is named for Rapelje and his descendants, who lived in Brooklyn for centuries.[3][4].


Red Hook is part of the area known as South Brooklyn, though it is northwest of the geographic center of the modern borough. It is a peninsula between Buttermilk Channel, Gowanus Bay and Gowanus Canal at the southern edge of Downtown Brooklyn.

Red Hook is connected to Manhattan by the vehicles-only Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, whose toll plaza and approaches separate it from Carroll Gardens to the north. Subway service in the area is sparse, with the IND Culver Line (F G) running along Smith Street and Ninth Street. The B61 bus, formerly a trolley line, runs as a 24-hour service from Erie Basin Red Hook through Downtown Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, terminating at Long Island City, Queens. The B77 bus connects with the Culver Line's Smith-Ninth Streets station.

There is also ferry service, operated by New York Water Taxi, that runs between IKEA and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan.

In the 1990s LIFE named Red Hook as one of the "worst" neighborhoods in the United States and as "the crack capital of America."[5] Patrick Daly, the Principal of P.S. 15, was killed in 1992, in the crossfire of a drug-related shooting while looking for a pupil who had left his school. The school was later renamed the Patrick Daly school after the beloved principal.[6] Red Hook is the site of the largest public housing development in Brooklyn, the Red Hook Houses which accommodate roughly 5,000 residents.

Red Hook's current eclectic mix of living artists and industrial businesses create a neighborhood coined "Residustrial" in 2008 by artist and resident John P. Missale. Red Hook also contains several parks, including Red Hook Park. In the spring of 2006, the new Carnival Cruise Lines Terminal, more formally the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, opened at Pier 12 at Pioneer Street, Red Hook, bringing additional tourists to Brooklyn.

Red Hook is the only part of New York City that, on land, has a full frontal view of the Statue of Liberty, which was oriented to face France, the country which donated the statue to the United States following the centennial of the United States.

IKEA in Red Hook

North side, weeks before opening
Park on dry dock site, commemorating the ships serviced there
IKEA ferry arrives at the Red Hook store

Red Hook is the site of a large IKEA store (346,000 square feet) that opened on June 18, 2008 near the Gowanus Expressway.[7]

The building of IKEA was controversial as it replaced a 19th-century dry dock which was still in use. Residents cited concerns including traffic congestion, an increase in property values and destruction of this transit-oriented neighborhood and historically significant buildings in the area.[8]

Brooklyn artist Greg Lindquist (b.1979) exhibited a group of paintings in February 2008 in New York City that depicted the IKEA site in process, juxtaposing the maritime decay with the new construction.

A report from New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the findings and recommendations of its Maritime Support Services Location Study. The study found that New York City needs eight more dry docks. According to the report, it will cost 1 billion dollars to replace the one IKEA is using as a parking lot.[9] No schedule for replacement was announced.

In addition, IKEA and its contractor demolished Civil War era buildings and exposed the community to asbestos. IKEA's contractor was found to be in "violation for not having filed asbestos work, failing to monitor the air, not posting any warnings, failure to construct decontamination protections before disturbing the asbestos-containing materials, and doing nothing to protect and decontaminate the material, as well as the workers and building waste."[10]

A once free ferry service for shoppers from Manhattan proved more popular than expected.[11]


  • The Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival[12]

    The Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival is an annual summer kick-off held in Louis J. Valentino, Jr. Park & Pier featuring dance, music, and spoken-word poetry. Dance Theatre Etcetera, the producers of the event, concentrate local resources for residents and bring in community partners with activities for the whole family.

  • Sunday's at Sunny's

    A reading series held the first Sunday of every month, co-sponsored by Sunny's Bar and the independent bookstore Bookcourt, and co-ordinated by writer Gabriel Cohen. This popular event celebrated its seventh anniversary on June 7, 2009.

People associated with Red Hook

In popular culture

  • Red Hook was the setting for the H. P. Lovecraft 1927 story "The Horror at Red Hook".
  • The area was used as the setting for Arthur Miller's 1955 play A View from the Bridge.
  • Pier 41 at 204 Van Dyke Street was used as the setting of a bar scene in the 2005 Will Smith film, Hitch.[14]
  • The cast of The Real World: Brooklyn, MTV's reality television series The Real World, resided at Pier 41.[14]
  • Red Hook is the birthplace of "Joey", the title character of the Bob Dylan song from the album, Desire.
  • Professional wrestler Taz is said to be from the "Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York".
  • Red Hook figures prominently in Gabriel Cohen's 2001 crime novel Red Hook, nominated for the Edgar award for Best First Novel.
  • Red Hook is the setting of the similarly titled Reggie Nadelson 2005 crime novel Red Hook.
  • The 1991 independent and award-winning film Straight Out of Brooklyn is set in the Red Hook Housing Projects.
  • The 2008 independent documentary film A Hole in a Fence by D.W. Young chronicles the changing fortunes of Red Hook.
  • Red Hook appears in Bill Murray's movie Quick Change as the neighborhood in which the robbers get lost and witness two men on bikes apparently having some sort of chivalric fight over honor with garden tools.
  • Red Hook was the setting for the 1989 film, Last Exit to Brooklyn
  • A neighborhood based on Red Hook appears in Grand Theft Auto IV, under the name "East Hook".
  • Red Hook is the setting for the book "Memos from Purgatory" by Harlan Ellison. The book was once considered to be one of Kurt Vonnegut's all-time favorites.




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