The first time I went to Red Hook, Brooklyn was in April 2012 before Hurricane Sandy (read here). It was a part of Brooklyn that I had never been to and it was an up and coming neighborhood. When I went in 2012, it felt like I was miles and miles away from the city like I was in a small seaside town. Red Hook felt more spread out and deserted than Williamsburg or Brooklyn Heights but then you would see a huge Ikea and Fairway on waterfront property. Space is something that Red Hook has that most neighborhoods in the city can’t afford. Van Brunt, which is the main drag in Red hook, has enough restaurants, bakeries, and bars to lure in all the foodies from the city. There’s more than meets the eye.
I heard that they have revitalized Red Hook and it’s better than ever. I went last Saturday with my girlfriend Susie to check out the scene post Sandy. I found out that there’s a free ferry that leaves every 50 minutes from Pier 11 on Wall Street to the Ikea in Red Hook on the weekends ($5 on weekdays). I think traveling by ferry is the best way to get to the other boroughs because it’s usually the fastest way, there’s no traffic and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. We arrived at the Ikea dock and went straight to Brooklyn Crab for lunch. The scene at Brooklyn Crab looks like you were transported to a seafood shack in a small seaside town. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and corn hole, my absolute favorite outdoor game!
After lunch, we wandered along the waterfront and found some interesting things along the way like street art, Steve’s Key Lime Pie (relocated from their original location), Red Hook Lobster Pound, and Red Hook winery. Susie and I LOVED Red Hook winery. They grow their grapes in the North Fork in Long Island and Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes which Susie and I are familiar with since we’ve been to both places (read here and here) together. The wines were all delicious and unique in their own way but the tasting room alone is worth visiting. It’s that kind of place where you want to cozy up with all of your friends with a nice bottle of wine. In my opinion, this is my kind of walking tour, finding art, eating lobster rolls and key lime pie and drinking some wine. After a long day of gallivanting, we went to Ikea so that I could buy a lamp and then we were on the ferry back to Manhattan.
When we arrived at Pier 11, we truly felt like we went “away” for the day. Even though the ferry ride is only 10 minutes, you feel like you’re in a completely different locale. Red Hook offers a lot more than the other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I mostly appreciate the quirkiness about it and that it still feels like you’re walking through an abandoned neighborhood with hidden treasures along the way.