My trip to Crown Heights North boiled over my frustration with my iPhone camera, so when I got home, I asked my friend Brooke if I could borrow her Canon. For some reason or another, she said yes. Maybe she thought I’d just skip to Bay Ridge for her.
This was another bike trip. I did see the B61 much more frequently than I had anticipated, though; perhaps I was just seeing the same bus multiple times on its way through Red Hook.
I started in familiar territory: the Red Hook Track, where I’ve run many an interval. There was an intense soccer game going on. A speaker system blasted salsa music. The long-abandoned Port of New York Authority Grain Terminal kept watch.
You can travel most of the length of the “hook” of Erie Basin. At the end is a NYPD pound. A guy was earning his CDL license in the middle of the street.
It was a great day for fishing. This spot offers views of Sunset Park and the Verrazano Narrows.
Of course, you don’t have to do anything at all to enjoy the weather and the view.
Next it was down to the southwest tip, where you can find IKEA and Fairway. At the end of Van Brunt Street is probably the best spot to walk along the waterfront. There were a few vintage buses on display around the corner.
Brooklyn Crab has a mini-golf course under it, and a bar on the second floor where you can wait until your table is ready. Around the corner is Sonny’s, which my friend Max had suggested to me for a Saturday-night hang-out spot.
Then there’s Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, an area institution. It’s on Pier 41, adjacent to (and, I gathered, affiliated with) an art place. I got a key lime tart. I was worried it would ruin my dinner, as my mother would say, but in a good way.
Cobblestones are everywhere. They look nice, but don’t feel great when you ride over them. In some spots, they have been paved over, but peek through in places.
A few people suggested I go on the weekend, so I did. For some of the ride, this made sense, but in western Red Hook (the “Back”), a mostly industrial area, the only others around were fellow sightseers, Fairway and IKEA customers, and football fans taking smoke breaks outside of bars. I saw the same couple on their bikes at least four times.
Some spots are used for storing large vehicles in lots,
while others prefer on-street parking.
Farther north on Van Brunt Street there were more signs of life: a few bars and Red Hook Lobster Pound among them.
Imlay Street, one block nearer the water, has two former warehouses built by the New York Dock Company. One is now used by Christie’s to store art. The other was slated to be turned into condos (duh), but that fell through. I bet you can guess which is which.
Keep heading north on Columbia Street and you’ll hit what now serves as the northern border of Red Hook.
I didn’t spend much time at the Red Hook Houses. I am usually hesitant to take pictures of projects discreetly with an iPhone, so shooting with a real camera wasn’t a great fit.
I pedaled back to Van Brunt to eat at Hope & Anchor. (I had started to get hungry by the time I reached Erie Basin, but seeing a feral cat pulling apart a fish tided me over for a bit.) There are traditional tables and a diner-esque counter. I had the Van Brunt burger, which comes with bleu cheese and ham on a sourdough bun. I made the right choice. The shoestring fries were very good as well. Oh, and they have very tasty ginger beer. I eventually found the bottle of Gosling’s, hiding, but I did not ask for a splash. Also filed away: they offer karaoke a few nights a week.
The menu-board had a welcoming message: “Welcome to Red Hook … you made it!” This was in stark contrast to a bumper-sticker at Steve’s: “Welcome to Red Hook. Now GIT!”
When I rode home, the sun had just set and I found myself wishing for a sweater. I love this time of year.
Oh, of course, the obligatory: