• BR

    Select your country and language

    Selected country/territory
    All countries/territories
  • MENU
Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
 
 
Neighbourhood
            Back to Open Skies

Red Hook

1 November 2017

Far-reaching Red Hook has avoided the phoenix-like rise of its Brooklyn counterparts – namely, Williamsburg and Dumbo

- perhaps only for the lack of a subway service. Industrial zoning has kept out high-rise apartments and hotels too, leaving the one-square-mile peninsula largely unscathed, raw and remote.

A onetime shipping hub – the vestige of a bygone era – Red Hook famously appeared in Hubert Selby’s novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, and most recently made a cameo in HBO’s four-part documentary The Defiant Ones starring rapper Dr Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine, whose Italian father worked on the Brooklyn waterfront as a longshoreman. He wanted the same career for his son, but Jimmy had other things on his mind and worked his way up in the music business after working on a recording session for John Lennon.

A small business community of artists and entrepreneurs caters to the neighbourhood’s 10,000-plus residents, a population that swells with day-trippers and out-of-towners on weekends. The main thoroughfare, Van Brunt Street, is lined with shops, restaurants and boutiques set in original storefronts. An indie spirit thrives.

Adjacent blocks stack red-brick townhomes, renovated lofts and NYC Housing Authority Red Hook Houses. Old warehouses now function as wineries, distilleries and chocolate factories, while the community Pier 44 Waterfront Garden offers a paved boardwalk, boat launch and gardens with Atlantic views. One end of the park is abutted by Fairway, an upscale supermarket situated on the ground level of a former coffee storehouse whose upper levels now house luxury lofts, home to A-listers including Michelle Williams and Michael Shannon. The building faces the grand dame herself, Statue of Liberty, also seen from Louis Valentino, Jr Pier – a magnet at sunset.

BAKED CAFÉ

First things first: breakfast. One of two New York locations – the other is in Tribeca – this Baked shop churns out at least 15 types of desserts and 10 kinds of breakfast pastries daily. “The classics are still the bestsellers,” says owner Matt Lewis. He’s referring to the chocolate chunk cookies, sweet and salty caramel chocolate cake and gluten-free chocolate cloud cookies. Having the store function as a focal point for neighbourhood meet-ups was always the intention, too. “We know our neighbours – residents and other business owners – on a more intimate level than we would in other parts of NYC. It is a community in every sense of the word.”

359 VAN BRUNT STREET | BROOKLYN, NY 11231 | BAKEDNYC.COM

FOXY & WINSTON

British artist Jane Buck opened Foxy & Winston – “a bright and cheery gift shop with a little bit of something for everyone” – in 2009. For regular clients, it’s the go-to gift shop for hostess, housewarming, birthday or baby gifts. Tourists seek nautical keepsakes like whale bottle openers or mermaid bookends. “I buy goods from makers all over the world,” says Jane, “and the Foxy & Winston signature paper goods and textiles I design myself.” Those include her tugboat baby swaddle blanket, a cute green artichoke apron, and hedgehog kitchen towels made of certified organic cotton.

392 VAN BRUNT STREET | BROOKLYN, NY 11231| FOXYANDWINSTON.COM

FORT DEFIANCE

Chances are you’ll have earned a drink by this point, and this is great spot for all-day cocktails. Fort Defiance serves a mean Irish coffee, too, along with “divine oysters and fish”, according to Foxy & Winston’s Jane Buck.

365 VAN BRUNT ST, BROOKLYN, NY 11231 | FORTDEFIANCEBROOKLYN.COM

WOODEN SLEEPERS

Here’s a vintage clothing store that specialises in all-American styles for men. Owner Brian Davis, a former events planner in the tech industry, keeps a tight edit on stock, sourcing every piece himself. “If I don’t love it, it will never see the sales floor,” he says. Fast-moving items include the 1950s military issue khakis and all-cotton hand-stamped souvenir T-shirts made in the US. The shop’s signature handmade Anchor Ridge candle is loved for its vanilla-infused-with-tobacco scent.

395 VAN BRUNT STREET, BROOKLYN, NY 11231 | WOODEN-SLEEPERS.COM

THE RED HOOK WINERY

In 2008, Brooklyn-born Mark Snyder opened Red Hook Winery to champion New York state viticulture by sourcing grapes from the North Fork of Long Island and the Finger Lakes. Operating out of the 1840 ‘Liberty Warehouse’ – a onetime shipment holding facility, then a bottling factory – so far his crew has produced over 200 different labels, with resident winemaker Christopher Nicolson’s 2014 Salt Crush, a blend of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, asked for by name. You can sample it by the glass or as part of a flight. Note that the tasting room gets busy on the weekends though, so weekdays offer a more laidback visit with ocean views.

PIER 41 | 325 A, 175 – 204 VAN DYKE STREET, BROOKLYN, NY 11231 | REDHOOKWINERY.COM

CACAO PRIETO

Reserve a Saturday or Sunday to visit Cacao Prieto, whose bean-to-bar chocolate factory tours are followed by bourbon whisky tastings at the adjoining Widow Jane distillery.

218 CONOVER STREET | BROOKLYN, NY 11231 | CACAOPRIETO.COM, WIDOWJANE.COM

Share