Friday, April 9, 2010

Roode Hoek,

a.k.a. Red Hook, Brooklyn

The New York Harbor

I have not loved a neighborhood as much as I love Red Hook. It has been named Red Hook since the beginning of the New York Harbor Colonies. In fact during the 19th century it was the busiest industrial port in the world.
Today you can walk down this peer which has an old sign that will point it out. Amongst crumbling post-modern decay you can make your way on cobbles to the water and look out at the statue of liberty. Seriously, how crazy is that?
And we are talking about a zone that was bustling two hundred years ago. It saw American revolution battles, with a harbor full of deadly ships. And the docks developed their own laws with the rule of the mafia. You will notice a practically abandoned Cathedral, an influence of the Italians and no one dares to say it, but it was also the home of Al Capone. The docks are almost gone.
You'd get shot her ten years ago, and that's the year 2000, but now it is perfect and fast becoming too much so. Red Hook, from the red soil and the Dutch meaning of point or corner, will be the West Village in a matter of 5 years. It is New York's best kept secret and every one knows about it. They just don't really know.
I will miss you!

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