Hooked on Red Hook


Today I went for a walk in Brooklyn and ended up in Red Hook.  A few years ago that would have meant that I would have gotten show; now it means that I get to explore a neighbourhood on the up and up.

Some fascinating stuff going on.  There’s a new IKEA going up and it’s next to the abandoned lot where the above photo was taken.  Here are some more photos from the lot; it’s a bizarre mix of great graffiti and Mother Nature slowly reclaiming the lot as a marsh:

I’m not the only one to find the lot interesting.  There was a photo shoot going on while I was there (I love New York):

The IKEA is a little bit controversial as they’re doing it on the site of one of New York’s only drydocks.  The dock is currently landfill, but they’re doing an architectural survey of it - and then they’re going to bury it again and turn it into a parking lot.

Similarly, right next door, they’re tearing down the old Revere Sugar Factory (the most recent owner was not a “Revere” but in fact an old Marcos henchman) to build a new residential development.  The community is angry as they want some of the old buildings saved.

The area’s rich in history.  William Beard developed a series of warehouses in the region after the Civil War as Manhattan’s docks could no longer handle all the traffic.  Pretty soon the entire coastline of Greenpoint and Red Hook was wall-to-wall warehouses.  Beard was more than just a warehouse builder though-he also built the Erie Basin next to his warehouses; it was the biggest man-made harbour on the Northeast coast (he was also a good businessman - he got part of the landfill for free from tunnels being built in New York and he charged European ships to dump their ballast there).  Anyways, his warehouses are still there; here are some shots of the sugar factory and some of its historic buildings before they’re gone forever:


Saturday, April 14, 2007

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