Red Hook is Brooklyn’s Australia: an island nation unto itself. Cut off from downtown and Park Slope by the Gowanus Expressway and forbidding housing projects, it boasts a street system all its own, with few streets that stretch into other neighborhoods. Odd creatures found nowhere else in Brooklyn stammer and stumble down the streets. Efforts to colonize the place by inserting supermarkets and vast hardware stores have served only to emphasize its isolation.

Despite new restaurants and bars along Van Brunt Street that have in some cases supplanted the old dives and liquor stores frequented by the descendants of the swabs that used to toil in the Todd Shipyards, the Revere Sugar Refinery and Beard Street Pier, you still see the odd storefront that looks like this, with the detritus of the 20th Century, now long deceased, still on display. I cannot identify the items on the lower left or right, though they could be used to incubate the life forms that still gibber in the night if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself on Conover Street at 2 AM.

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12 Responses to RED HOOK WINDOW

  1. Jeff Blank says:

    Lower left item is for serving food, condiments, candy, etc. in little covered containers. It was carried from the kitchen to the table and there were if, a spoon, fork or other utensil to serve the items.

    Lower right item is a soap dispenser for powdered soap, usually a “Boraxo” type product. Usually a commercial product and used where dirty hands needed to be cleaned.

    Hope this sheds some light on them.

  2. Gary T Farkash says:

    that strange looking item on the bottom right of the display is an old dry powder hand soap dispenser that was frequently used at gas stations. If you look closely you will see a silver handle sticking down. It was bolted to a wall braket and to use it one would only have to push up on the bottom of the handle to let the soap flow down the chute onto your wet palms.
    I have another type in use at my home that has a push handle on the body and I still have a couple of boxes of dry soap to re-fill the unit. Mine has to be over 50 years old and it came from my grandfather & uncles service station

  3. Larry Mac says:

    I recognize well that Western Electric telephone as I still have mine from 1973 (in a closet). We had the same one when I was a youngster in the 50s. The ringing could wake up the dead and if you were stupid enough to drop one on your foot you were going into a cast. And next to the phone – every kid had one of those transistor radios with the “faux” leather case in the early 60s.

  4. Larry Mac says:

    I think if you had some sterno under those gizmos on the left you could heat up some chow.

    On the far right that thing looks like an old flour sifter but I will admit that’s a wild guess.

  5. Matthew Restivo says:

    The item on the lower left hand side appears to be a serving set. Something perhaps for a BBQ, with salads in the larger bowls and condiments in the smaller. Looks like it dates from the 60’s to the early 80’s. Yay Brown!

    • Hervey Willets says:

      It looks to me like some commercial form of a bain-marie. It would stand in a hot water bath or steam table and keep various foods and sauces warm for serving.

  6. tom says:

    this may be the best picture anywhere on the site- all you need now is one of the old pie trucks that used to roam the streets of brooklyn back in the day!

  7. joe bernstein says:

    The late Ed Kienholz,who made tons of installation art that is in museums all over the world,would’ve loved this window.
    There’s a drain snake in there too.

  8. joe bernstein says:

    Oops-that may not be a drain snake,now I’m stumped.

  9. chris says:

    The fan looks to me like a ’38 Hooter
    Yep.Thats a ’38-’39 Hooter

  10. kikki says:

    the red item on the right side behind the dry soap dispenser is also from a service station, it appears to be
    a device to either dispense motor oil (from a giant oil barrel) or possibly a very long air hose apparatus…what
    do you think???

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