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.