By Dave Caplan.
Red Hook is a peninsula at the southern edge of Downtown Brooklyn and has been part of Brooklyn since it was first established in the 1600’s. It is named for the red clay soil and the point of land projecting into the Upper New York Bay. It was first settled by Dutch Colonists in 1636 and named Roode Hoek. “Hoek” in Dutch means point or corner.
The completion of the Erie Canal in the 1800’s had a major impact on Red Hook. In the 1840’s ports were built by entrepreneurs to serve as the “off-loading” end of the Erie Canal. By the early 20th Century, Red Hook had become the busiest freight port in the world.
Shipping completely changed in the 1960’s with the advent of containerization. Containerization is a system of freight transport where containers of standardized dimensions can be loaded and unloaded, stacked and shipped efficiently over long distances and from one mode of transportation to another. It reduced transport costs, shortened shipping time and was a major factor in globalization. Unfortunately, many longshoremen lost their jobs; fork lifts and cranes now do most of the work.
What was once considered one of the worst neighborhoods in the United States in the 1990’s is now becoming yet another “hip” area in Brooklyn with spectacular views of the Upper New York Bay.
Good News, there are two ways to check out Red Hook by boat. You can take the New York Water Taxi Ikea Shuttle directly to IKEA or you can hop on a NYWT with your All-Day Access Pass and Red Hook is one of several exciting stops along the way. When you get there, have a nosh at Fairway or Brooklyn Crab both minutes away by foot.
Last week’s trivia answer-Strawberry Fields is in Central Park near 72nd and CPW.
Last week’s mystery photo-David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.