by Kevin Walsh

I’m in Red Hook about once every 4 years or so. When I lived in Bay Ridge I would sometimes bicycle in, but not that often, because it was ringed by a nearly impenetrable barrier of slums, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel entrance. Red Hook, known as South Brooklyn when, in the 1800s, it was indeed Brooklyn’s southern redoubt, has always been an animal all its own. It was easily demarcated by Hamilton Avenue from the regions to its north, now known as Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill (but not until real estate men and developers of the mid-20th Century bestowed those names — it was all “South Brooklyn” till the mid-20th Century) and then by the BQE.

Red Hook was considered dangerous ground for lone intruders from Bay Ridge until the very early 2000s. For decades, it was a land occupied by gangsters and ruffians, but also by the only honest denizens who could compete with them and survive under their reign: the union workers and longshoremen who busied themselves in the great ports and docks that ringed the waterfront along the Erie Basin and Buttermilk Channel (so named because the channel was so choppy that a churner was unnecessary to render milk carried in vessels that used the strait between Red Hook and Governors Island).

There was also the Red Hook Houses to contend with. The yuppie gentrifiers of Brooklyn have found that the only thing keeping neighborhoods from completely going ‘one-percent’ is the presence of low-income housing in otherwise completely converted regions such as Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, and Williamsburg. In the 1970s and 1980s there were no gentrifiers to speak of in Red Hook, and your webmaster pedaled gingerly to the waterfront and back, noting the shabby, yet genteel housing and Belgian-blocked Coffey and Van Dyke Streets.

The gentrifiers, I’m now confident, will never completely convert Red Hook. There are, of course the trappings of gentrification along Van Brunt, such as the knickknack, ice cream and clothing stores along that row. However, the neighborhood has become more of a place for the yuppies to get their Fairway groceries, their (to me at least, unbuildable) IKEA furniture, and lunch from the Latin summer food stands set up along Red Hook Park soccer fields, and then skee-daddle back to Cobble Hill or Park Slope, leaving the Hook to the ethnics who’ve been there for the last couple of decades. They may have been mostly pushed out of Smith Street, but not Van Brunt and Richards.

What have been pushed out of Red Hook are several of the highlights that appeared in the Red Hook section of the ForgottenBook in 2006, such as the Revere Sugar refinery, the St. John’s Lightship (that had always been partially sunk, anyway) and the Todd Shipyards and its massive dry dock. These have been mostly replaced, or caused to be carted away, by the aforementioned Fairway and IKEA stores. However, as we’ll see,  the wheels of change move slowly — for example, the trolley car collection assembled by Bob Diamond and intended to be used in a museum or put to use as a rail link to downtown Brooklyn lie rotting in the sun, as they have been for years.


Court and Nelson streets, strictly speaking, is in Carroll Gardens, not Red Hook, but prior to the coming of the BQE the two neighborhoods (anyone who uses the word ‘nabes’ should be locked in a room with rabid opossums) had more cross-pollination. PJ Hanley’s Bar has roots in the former Norwegian domination of this pocket, as a tavern has been here since 1874. It was purchased by an Irishman, Jack Ryan, in 1898 and there he remained for 60 years, operating as a speakeasy during the prohibition years. The place has been in the Hanley family since 1956.

In 2012, PJ Hanley’s website is still charmingly ‘under construction.’


Harold L. Ickes Playground, Hamilton Avenue between Van Brunt and Woodhull Streets. While the name Harold Ickes is known for Harold McEwen Ickes’ variety of roles in the Clinton administration including Deputy Chief of Staff, this park is named for his father, Harold LeClair Ickes (1874-1952) who was Secretary of the Interior for FDR beginning in 1932.

New York Dock Company

Together, these two buildings at 62 and 160 Imlay Street form a sort of huge backdrop along Red Hook’s western front. The New York Dock Company built two massive buildings here that served as railroad sheds, warehouses and loft space in 1912, give or take a year. 62 has been given a new cream paint job and serves as storage space for auction house Christie’s, with millions of dollars of artwork stored within. 160 has been allowed to decay and fall apart, waiting for reuse.

Abandoned NYC took a look inside.
Trainweb will keep you enchanted for hours with details about the New York Dock Company, which was in business from 1901-1983, including numerous photos of Brooklyn’s now nearly deceased freight rail.


All quiet along the Imlay front. You can see the contrast here between the renovated Dock building and the un-renovated one.


Verona Street looking east from Imlay. The street is still Belgian-blocked and the railroad tracks that served the Dock buildings are still in place.  More about that ‘big R’ later.


Continuing along Visitation Place we find at #88 the Red Hook Community Justice Center in the school formerly associated with the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church around the corner. One Catholic school has been forced to close after the other as they lose funding — a shame, since Catholic schools have been shown to offer superior educations to the public schools by some reckonings.

Launched in June 2000, the Red Hook Community Justice Center is the nation’s first multi-jurisdictional community court. Operating out of a refurbished Catholic school in the heart of a geographically and socially isolated neighborhood in southwest Brooklyn, the Justice Center seeks to solve neighborhood problems using a coordinated response. At Red Hook, a single judge hears neighborhood cases from three police precincts (covering approximately 200,000 people) that under ordinary circumstances would go to three different courts—Civil, Family, and Criminal…

The Red Hook story extends far beyond what happens in the courtroom. The courthouse is the hub for an array of unconventional programs that contribute to reducing fear and improving public trust in government. These include mediation, community service and a youth court where teenagers are trained to resolve actual cases involving their peers. The Center also has a housing resource center, which provides support and information to residents with cases in housing court, and an AmeriCorps program, the New York Juvenile Justice Corps. Court Innovation


Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

On Richards Street between Verona St. and Visitation Place, in dark Manhattan schist.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established in 1854 to serve the Irish and Italian dock and factory workers in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. The first church, located on Ewen [now Verona] and Van Brunt Streets, was dedicated by Bishop Loughlin on October 29, 1855. 

A second church, built of gray stone and measuring 175 feet long by 60 feet wide, was erected in 1878, but was destroyed by fire on July 12, 1896. 

The present Gothic church was built in 1896 on Richards Street between Verona Street and Visitation [Place], and is across the street from Red Hook Park. A two-alarm fire damaged the interior of the church on December 30, 1949 when a 9-year-old boy accidentally dropped a hot taper into the creche in front of the altar. NYC AGO

For those unaware of Catholic tradition, The Visitation is the visit of Mary (the mother of Jesus) with her cousin Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist) while both were pregnant, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, 1:39–56.



In 1909, Tremont Street was changed to Visitation Place in honor of the church. Red Hook has had more street name shifts than most neighborhoods; along the way, Luque(e)r has changed to Commerce, Leonard to Lorraine, Grinnell to Creamer, Ewen to Verona, Church to West 9th, Partition to Coffey,  Elizabeth to Beard and Osage to Reed.


I’ve told the story of the mysterious “R” on the billboard atop this 7-story building at Richards and Verona before, in 2011, but here it is again…

When former owner John Turano bought the building in 1978, the previous business to occupy the site was paper-goods manufacturer E.J. Trum, and Trum’s gigantic sign occupied the frame. When Turano attempted to pull down the letters to install his own sign, the “R” wouldn’t budge, and the lone “R”, and the period that went after the E, have been a part of Red Hook’s landscape for 22 years.


I had thought that the hand-drawn sign on the corner building at Verona and Dwight, “American Can Company Stopper Factory” was faked. It turns out, though, that this is indeed the factory and offices of American Can and American Stopper Company, which were both formed between 1900 and 1904 and moved into this then-new building at around that time, as shown in the May 12, 1904 number of Pharmaceutical Weekly.

The building is still marvelously intact and looks pretty much the same as it did when it was a factory, even though it’s now residential.

I have a feeling, though, that the sign is of recent vintage (it was there in 1999 but how old was it then?), lettered there by people who know about the building’s history.






Heading south on Richards Street I spotted this mansard-roofed specimen at Pioneer. French Second Empire building styles, marked by slanted roofs like this, were popular in the 1860s, so the building could be that old. Richards Street is named for Colonel Daniel Richards, a leading port developer in mid-19th Century South Brooklyn.


Unusually, Red Hook Park comes in two chunks. The smaller one, since renamed Coffey Park, is between Dwight, Richards, Verona and Pioneer, while the southern one, much larger, is the home of the soccer fields that attract spectators from all over town, and the food carts that do likewise. That Red Hook Park is also home to the Red Hook public pool, is generally between Lorraine, Halleck, Clinton and Columbia Streets.

In 2009 most of NYC’s lamppost luminaires were replaced with new versions of the General Electric M400. I found this 1960s GE M400 at the Pioneer street park entrance. It has a plastic diffuser bowl; most are glass.


Other than the Red Hook Houses themselves, there isn’t much in the way of apartment buildings in Red Hook, so this 6 story what I imagine is a walkup is a standout here at Richards and Sullivan.


For obvious reasons, this sign on Coffey Street, outside the residence of artist Cheryl Stewart, was taken down in May 2011 after bin Laden was shot dead by US Navy Seals. It will be included in the collection of the 9/11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero.


This unusually-shaped building on Van Dyke street near Richards was built as the Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Brick Works.

From the ForgottenBook:

This long, low building … has a distinctive exterior, consisting of 20” thick stones, reminiscent of some churches. It originally was the storehouse of the Joseph K. Brick Company, founded in 1854 to produce items used in gaslighting. Brick originated the fire clay retort, a device used to produce gas used for illumination; gaslighting began to be widely used in the USA around 1850.

Clay retorts were instrumental in the production of gas from coal. The heated retort freed the volatile or gaseous matter contained in the coal. These gases were then carried through a series of pipes and appliances which condensed, washed, and scrubbed the crude gas, and by mechanical and chemical means removed the impurities from the product and made it ready for commercial use. These works may be the very first in the USA to produce fire bricks and clay retorts.

The storehouse was restored in 1995 and 1996 and was the first landmark building designated in Red Hook.


You may remember Rocky Sullivan’s, a microbrewery at Dwight and Van Dyke Streets, as the Liberty Heights Tap Room. Sullivan’s took over the space in 2007.


This historic warehouse built by William Beard in the 1860s has become a mini-artists’ colony with a number of galleries run under the umbrella of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists’ Coalition. Each May, the pier is the site of the Waterfront Arts Festival. It is also slated to become home to Fairway Market, a project not without controversy as its detractors say it would bring unwelcome auto traffic to the quiet neighborhood.

The building is divided into sections by 12-16″ thick brick walls. The building itself is supported by massive square yellow pine posts supporting heavy girders. Its interior is fascinating not only for the art shows, but as a representation of unaltered Civil-War era construction.

Like its partner the Beard Street Pier, the warehouse dates to the Civil War era and stored grain, coffee, mahogany, nuts and tea. On the top floor, donkeys pulled a pulley system used to hoist 100-lb. coffee bags in the pre-elevator era.

The warehouse is accessed by a walkway on Beard Street south of Van Brunt.


While the Beard Street Warehouses, another vast warehouse built by Beard have become the Fairway Supermarket, the collection of trolley cars assembled by Bob Diamond and the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, in hopes of running a trolley line along the Brooklyn waterfront possibly as far as Old Fulton Street at the old Fulton Ferry site still is parked outside, in about as an illogical site for storage as can be conceived. The cars are open to the full ravages of salt water, winter storms, and assault by vandals.

The project has been the victim of capriciousness from local politicians, who first support the project, then undermine it.


Sunny Balzano’s decades-old institution on Conover between Reed and Beard Streets has been in place here for over a century.

Ask a car service to take you to “the bar” in Red Hook, and you’ll wind up at an unassuming little place by the river, near some railroad tracks that go nowhere. The beatific, Beatniky owner, Sunny, greets you warmly from beneath a mop of gray hair and a portrait of his great-grandfather, who opened the bar in 1890. Since then, the place has gone through various incarnations, as a restaurant and a longshoremen’s hangout, but now, says Sunny, “it’s just a meeting place for folks—painters, writers, musicians, plumbers—who care about each other so much they don’t mind the trip.” NY Magazine

On one of my Forgotten NY tours, held a few times each year, Forgotten Fan Mike Olshan introduced us to Sunny Balzano, whose family’s bar on Conover between Beard and Reed Streets has been a Red Hook waterfront institution for three generations. Sunny treated us all to a brew as we bellied up to a bar that faced several pieces of his own artwork. His family has owned the business for decades, with his uncle John keeping the bar open every day until 6PM, serving sandwiches and Italian food to longshoremen and dock workers. Gradually, the Red Hook docks became silent as the shipping industry moved across the harbor to New Jersey, depriving the old place of many of its old customers, but Sunny and John discovered that a new clientele of artists and musicians from nearby Williamsburg was coming to the bar. After John passed away in 1994, Sunny ran it as a nonprofit club featuring musicians and local performers, opening Friday nights only, and after acquiring a new liquor license and renovating the bar, Sunny was able to open a couple other nights a week as well. The bar is now a neighborhood gathering place for its new breed of customers, many of whom don’t know it’s a family institution. Sunny opens Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. If there’s a gentle man with long, flowing gray hair behind the bar, ask Sunny  about the old place…he’ll regale you with tales of old Red Hook.


Scene from Van Dyke Street and its ancient architecture and Belgian blocked street. Some things in Red Hook never change…


…but as this mess on Conover proves, change is ever ready to come if it is permitted to.


Pier 41

Pier 41, also known as the Merchant Stores, was developed by Col. Daniel Richards as a shipping and warehousing center in the late 1870s. For many years it was home to Morgan Soda, which distributed the White Rock brand. Presently Pier 41 is home to Flickinger Glassworks (a glassblowing company), other small industries, and the famed Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies.

A selection of newer versions of ornate wall lamps, complete with radial-wave reflectors, has been installed along the walkway, and a sign that resembles the Department of Transportation’s green and white signs identifies a “Barnell Street” but no such street is on the map.


Erie Basin: A store selling antique jewelry on Van Brunt and Dikeman Streets has taken the name of the massive harbor and storage depot, considered the southern terminus of the Erie Canal, developed by William Beard.


Fort Defiance, a cafe/bar across the street from Erie Basin, also commemorates a piece of Red Hook history:

General Israel Putnam came to New York on April 4, 1776 to assess the state of its defenses and strengthen them. Among the works initiated were forts on Governor’s Island and Red Hook, facing the bay. On April 10, one thousand Continentals took possession of both points and began constructing Fort Defiance which mounted one three pounder cannon and four eighteen pounders. The cannons were to be fired over the tops of the fort’s walls. During May, Washington described it as “small but exceedingly strong”. On July 5, General Nathanael Greene called it “a post of vast importance”, and three days later, Col. Varnum’s regiment joined its garrison.

The Sproule map shows that Fort Defiance complex actually consisted of three redoubts on a small island connected by trenches, with an earthwork on the island’s south side to defend against a landing. The entire earthwork was about sixteen hundred feet long and covered the entire island. The three redoubts covered an area about four hundred by eight hundred feet. The two principal earthworks were about one hundred fifty by one hundred seventy-five feet, and the tertiary one was about seventy-five by one hundred. On July 12, the British frigates Rose and Phoenix and the schooner Tyrol ran the gauntlet past Defiance and the stronger Governor’s Island works without firing a shot, and got all the way to Tappan Zee, the widest part of the Hudson River. They stayed there for over a month, beating off harassing attacks, and finally returned to Staten Island on August 18. It would appear that gunfire from Fort Defiance did damage to the British ships. wikipedia


One of Van Brunt Street’s charming storefronts, complete with sleeping cat.


I have a hard time resisting taking pictures of this ancient Van Brunt storefront, whose odd collection of artifacts has a thicker layer of dust each time.


Yet another cleverly named establishment, the liquor store Dry Dock honors one of Red Hook’s former landmarks.

The Todd Shipyards, also known as New York Shipyards, fronted along Beard and Halleck Streets west of Columbia and once sported the largest dry dock on the east coast. The Monitor, the first ironclad vessel from the Civil war era, was once repaired there. The yards featured brick structures with heavy timber posts and machine that had 1920s-era Bauhaus industrial design highlights with skylights and 20-foot-tall windows.

Philip Lopate in his book “Waterfront” describes an incident in which the crew of a damaged Central American freighter were detained here for 6 months until its owner could pay for repairs. Its crew was too afraid to venture into the Red Hook streets for provisions.

Of course, Todd Shipyards, and its dry dock, were uprooted  a few years ago to make way for an IKEA furniture store, parking lot, and Erie Basin-facing waterside park.


A peek down a Red Hook side street at another clay retort and its now-inactive smokestack.


One of Red Hook’s charming aspects is that some of its businesses put up colorful directional signs directing shoppers to their locations, in these cases, Pier 41.


The Kentler International Drawing Space takes its name from the name on the building pediment, which in turn honors German immigrant haberdasher William Kentler, who established his business in 1854 and built this building on Van Brunt in 1877.


The Hope & Anchor was established on Van Brunt and Wolcott in the mid-2000s. I’d like to think it was named for the Hope & Anchor in London, an early punk/new wave bastion…


Red Hook Memorial Doughboy: This memorial, which honors those local heroes from Red Hook who died while serving their country in World War I, was dedicated in 1921. Augustus Lukeman (1872–1935) was the sculptor commissioned by a war memorial committee, which solicited voluntary contributions totaling $10,000 from the citizens of the Third Assembly District for the sculpture. Arthur D. Pickering was the architect who designed the granite pedestal. NYC Parks


This liquor store on Van Brunt and Sullivan has a more old school vibe than the Dry Dock seen earlier.


A pair of low-rises on King Street. This is typical of the humble private houses found on Red Hook side streets.


Red Hook Bait and Tackle Shop (Pioneer and Van Brunt) was indeed a bait and tackle shop before its owners took over in 2004 and opened a bar/music venue. Its website has a capsule history of Red Hook.


Kevin’s is “an adorable eatery noted for its seafood specialities” operated by chef Kevin Moore.

The Transoms of Red Hook (FNY 2004)

Red Hook Trolley Revival (FNY 2000)



redhooker June 18, 2012 - 5:21 pm

I just want to start of by saying that I love your blog. I have learned a lot about some of the more obscure areas of NYC from you.

I don’t know the exact timeline of events, but the American Can Stopper factory is known locally as the Monarch Luggage Factory because they were the last commercial tenants of the buildings on Verona, Dwight and Delevan prior to the residential conversion in 2000. The can factory must have moved out prior to bring occupied by the Monarch luggage company.

I also take issue with your characterization that “the neighborhood has become more of a place for the yuppies to get their Fairway groceries, their (to me at least, unbuildable) IKEA furniture, and lunch from the Latin summer food stands set up along Red Hook Park soccer fields, and then skee-daddle back to Cobble Hill or Park Slope, leaving the Hook to the ethnics who’ve been there for the last couple of decades.” While it’s true that many people drive to Red Hook only for Fairway and Ikea, there is a thriving, diverse, close-knit community in the neighborhood. Virtually every one of the businesses that you profiled are owned by people who live in Red Hook. There are community based arts organizations, non-profit groups, a farm (yes, a farm), and active civic and tenant associations. Red Hook has been getting a lot of attention lately because of the growing number of local food makers, and is home to many, many artists, artisans, and craftsmen. Red Hook has its own hugely popular outdoor summer film festival. And to top it all off, Red Hook had their first Gay Pride festival last weekend. I could go on and on, but my point is that you can’t judge the character of a neighborhood by on riding down the street and taking some photos. Talk to the people, we’ll be glad to tell you why we love Red Hook.

Kevin Walsh June 18, 2012 - 11:20 pm

Believe me, that wasn’t a knock at Red Hook. More of a knock at the yuppies who drive in and out. I appreciate that it has NOT become a yupster bastion.

Heartland June 19, 2012 - 10:42 am

Remember “Crazy” Joe Gallo? Time heals most wounds.

redhooker June 19, 2012 - 1:10 pm

Sadly, there are a few yuppies moving in…but for the most part the geographical isolation has kept them at bay.

connor March 15, 2013 - 3:52 pm

Incidentally, while the Monarch Luggage Company was the LAST company to occupy 14 Verona and the can stopper company came before that, the FIRST industrial/commercial use of the building was by the Cheseborough Manufacturing Company, who manufactured Vaseline there until 1903 or 1904. Coffey Park was created in the mid-1890’s. Previous to this it was a swampy marsh, through which ran a small creek. The run-off from the Vaseline plant ran directly into the marsh, creating noxious odors and making the neighborhood essentially unlivable to all but those who could afford to live nowhere else, of which there were hundreds. These people lived in squatters shack and shanty communities, sprinkled throughout Red Hook, frequently built from crates, pallets, and shipping containers stolen from or discarded by the neighborhood shipyards, and often subject to flooding during extreme tides.

Camille Santomauro(LaNeve) February 26, 2015 - 7:14 pm

I lived on Nelson Street between Court and Clinton and the Hanley family owned that place from when I was just a little until I left Red Hook to get married. Went back recently and could not believe how the neighborhood had changed. Went to Carol Street with my daughter to get pastry and bread, everything was the same in fact I saw someone from the old neighborhood doing what we were doing. Miss Red Hook Pool, Carmine candy store across from the Clinton Movie theater. Remember when you went to the movies got a glass or a dish, cartoons, the news and two movies. There was nothing like growing up in Red Hook everyone knew everyone.

Fran Campbell February 28, 2017 - 10:58 pm

I lived on Second Place between Henry and Clinton, went to P.S.142 ( now a middle school I heard) got married at Sacred Heart St Stephen. Our school went they 8th grade. Went to many feasts on neighboring streets and shopped with my Mom on Union St. have nothing but GOOD MEMORIES. Best was meeting my husband who lived in Red Hook projects and went to Visitation Church, loved this article. Brought back so many memories. I am 88 so it was a while ago

Edward Manti February 28, 2015 - 1:49 pm

I just came across this blog today and I must say it was a blast from the past. I grew up in Red Hook in the 60/70’s and very happy to see it is better than ever. I am heading up to NYC next week and the first thing I am doing is taking my wife to my old neighborhood. I had a wonderful childhood there and will always remember it with great fondness. I cannot wait to see it.

Skip Molander December 17, 2019 - 3:47 pm

My mother’ s maiden name was Adeline (Lena) Manti. I lived in Red Hook from the time I was born on November 28, 1943 until we moved to Hauppauge, L. I., NY in August, 1954. All my mother’s brothers and sisters (my 4 aunts and 4 uncles) lived within 3 blocks of us on 155 Van Dyke Street so , naturally, my family went to Red Hook often to visit our relatives. I haven’t been back to Red Hook since the early 1970s, but you must be a close relative of mine.

Skip Molander December 17, 2019 - 4:02 pm

BTW, I have nothing but good memories of living in and visiting my relatives in Red Hook. I was 10 going on 11 when my family moved to “Long Island,” – God’s Country back then – but it was fun living in Brooklyn. I couldn’t go anywhere in my little part of Red Hook without seeing an aunt, uncle or a first cousin. Finished 5th Grade in P.S. 30.

Kenny Winberry January 17, 2021 - 8:08 pm

My grandmother grew up in Red Hook Brooklyn her maiden name is Pauline Licalsi her parents came from Sicily they owned a corner grocery store 1920-1950 her husband was Casperino Palumbo her brothers and sisters grew up there and lived there from 1906-1950 Charlie Licalsi Angelo Licalsi Amelia Bernice Bea Licalsi there children lived grew up there Some of the Licalsi and Palumbo family moved to Hoboken in the 1940- -1960 period. My grandma had beautiful memories of growing up there

Lawrence June 8, 2015 - 9:00 am

I was once a resident of Red Hook in the 1960’s and 1970’s.Since I moved out in 1976,the house where I lived
was torn down.I red brick 3 story home with a large front yard.I have no photos of it but only in my memory.
does anyone out there have photos of Sullivan Street between Ferris Street and Conover Street?If you do,would you
please post the photos.I would love to see the old home stead again.
The yard and house faced north towards King Street.there was a company on that street the use to build life boats.
How can I find the old photos of my child hood.I have lost the photos I had from years ago.
The Address I lived was 143 Sullivan Street Brooklyn,New York 11231

thank you.

Michael Thompson April 1, 2016 - 11:36 am

Can anyone tell me what stood at 128 Sullivan Street in 1904. My Grandparents lived there. They got married in the Visitation of the blessed Virgin Mary Catholic church.

Kenny Winberry January 17, 2021 - 8:13 pm

My grandparents married their in 1922.My grandma always spoke of her child hood growing up in Brooklyn she loved the area left in 1924 to live in Hoboken

Monday Blogwrap – June 19, 2012 - 1:20 am

[…] Shed for 45 Main Street [Dumbo NYC] Places to Take Kids in North Brooklyn [The WG News] The Silent Hook… Back to Red Hook for Unnoticed Attractions [Forgotten NY] The Missing Trees of Church Avenue… Help Replace Them! [Ditmas Park Corner] […]

Michael Rosenthal June 19, 2012 - 1:20 pm

The six story building at Richards and Sullivan Streets was the Bethelship Seamen’s Branch of the Brooklyn YMCA from 1921-1948.

chris June 19, 2012 - 2:29 pm

Gentrification is almost inevitable but why do the gentrifiers always have to make over everything to look so cutesy-poo and art/ boutique?
Its like they plant the seeds of their own destruction.

Bill Tweeddale June 20, 2012 - 6:44 am

When I was growing up in Brooklyn in the 50’s-60’s, that whole area of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, and Cobble Hill was called South Brooklyn, and it had one tough reputation! Gangs like the South Brooklyn Boys ruled their turf, and the Gallo Gang had their hangout on President St. It’s interesting that the press release locates the Red Hook Community Justice Center in an isolated neighborhood in southwest Brooklyn. On a map it looks like the northwest quadrant. Keep up the great stories and pictures!

Adrastos June 20, 2012 - 11:51 am

Red Hook is the best neighborhood in all of Brooklyn to ride a bike, so much to discover, and yet not that much traffic.

I love Red Hook.

John P. Simonetti June 20, 2012 - 3:47 pm

Hello Kevin….

Another GREAT page!!

One question, and one observation:

Question – the PIER 41 building – do you know the significance of the black stars scattered on the brick exterior?

Observation – You said: “This liquor store on Van Brunt and Sullivan has a more old school vibe” – I say: “not only the store, but an old style street MAILBOX, and a PAY PHONE around the corner. How old school can you get?” GREAT STUFF!!

Kevin Walsh June 20, 2012 - 5:35 pm

They hold the rods that in turn help to hold up the building.

Bruce June 21, 2012 - 9:09 am

Would love to see something about the old Port Authority Grain Terminal that lurks near the waterfront.

steve June 21, 2012 - 5:22 pm

Great site, addicting. In the late 70s I used to work on the Long Island College Hospital ambulace during the PM tours. During the quite times when the snows fell we used to meet up with other EMS, FD and PD units, break out a couple of body bags, tie it to the back of the vehicle and drive it around the track while two or three fire/ems/pd members sat and tried to stay on as we hit the turns. The looks from the local project dwellers were something to remember. Even Red Hook in the 70s looked placid during a New York snow fall.

willoughbystreet June 23, 2012 - 4:41 pm

Barnell Street! Cool to see it’s still there… About 5 years ago, I paid a visit to a company called Barnell Stone Works and the guy told me that because his business is off the street up the pier and a little hard to find, he had that sign made and just put it up…

Pete F June 23, 2012 - 4:58 pm

“…PJ Hanley’s Bar has roots in the former Norwegian domination of this pocket, as a tavern has been here since 1874. It was purchased by an Irishman, Jack Ryan, in 1989 and there he remained for 60 years…” I’m guessing this should be 1889. For a moment, I thought I might be in J.D. Robb’s 2060. Forgotten New York 2060 anyone?

Kevin Walsh June 23, 2012 - 5:50 pm

Jeez, why do they put the 8 and 9 so close together on the damn keyboard? They don’t put the letters together like that.

Jim June 24, 2012 - 10:11 pm

When I was a kid Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens were known as “Madonnaville” because almost every house had a statue of the Virgin Mary outside. And Red Hook was devoid of simpering yuppies shopping at Fairway and Ikea (home of disposable furniture!).

Guardian of the Guilded Boiler June 27, 2012 - 2:41 pm

I’m still trying to figure out whether Ikea is Hell, or if Hell is Ikea.

tournesol20 July 7, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Great job as always, Kevin. My memories of Red Hook are less flattering, yet reflect a different side of its history that shouldn’t be forgotten. Back in the mid-80’s, my job involved visiting schools in the South Brooklyn district. My administrator must’ve been in a sadistic mood on the day he assigned me, then a young woman relying on public transportation, to P.S.15 on Sullivan Street. Didn’t know where I was headed but got on the B61 bus, and soon found myself in the crack-infested, no-man’s land that was Red Hook at that time. At the school, a very nice man by the name of Mr. Daly, the asst. principal, told me one of the students about whom he was concerned hadn’t shown up that day; he suggested we go to the student’s home to check in on him. Not something I’d ever done; but apparently this was a part of what this school had to do in those times. So, off we went to the child’s apartment. If you can call it that — An unbelievably dirty and cluttered, barely lit, first floor room in a 19th century building, like something out of a Dickens novel. The grandmother was ill in the one bed, and didn’t know where her grandchild was. But she did know and trust Mr. Daly, and had no qualms about letting us into her place to talk, on the basis of that trust.

A few years later, in 1992, I was deeply saddened to learn that Mr. Daly, by then the school’s principal, had been killed in the crossfire of drug dealers’ guns, as he walked into the housing projects down the block from P.S. 15, again in search of another student. The school is now named in his honor, the Patrick F. Daly School. This is also a part of Red Hook’s history, of just 20 years ago. I hope that those who seek to ‘gentrify’ and transform the area are aware of the sacrifice of this one man who wasn’t there for his own profit or because it was the ‘in’ place to be. He was there to help, yet it cost him his life. RIP, Mr. Daly.

forgotten-ny-reader October 14, 2012 - 8:11 pm Reply
jason May 10, 2013 - 10:13 am

i well never for get red hook is the best how could i forget even if i wanted to cant

jason May 10, 2013 - 10:16 am

i would love for the people to love red hook just like i do

h marshall July 10, 2012 - 12:20 pm

I was a 1958 grad of visitation enjoyed the trip back

Sheila Dunne Ort February 24, 2018 - 2:58 pm

My family moved into the projects in 1939,brand new , clean and airy. We went to Visitation ( I would have graduated in 1950, but my Irish mother moved us to Floral Park,LI) NY brothers , sister and I were broken hearted. Res Hook was the greatest place to grow up in the 40’s. Good school, parks and pool. Loads of kids to play with and a subway ride to visit grand parents on E 96th St.. We were very safe and happy even though it was war time.Sheila Dunne

Red Hook in photos | The Weekly Nabe September 28, 2012 - 12:38 pm

[…] to Forgotten New York for helping me to identify many of the sights in this gallery, particularly the giant red […]

april December 30, 2012 - 11:32 pm

Barnell Street, southwest of Van Dyke Street, is right there on Google Maps. Maybe they just updated same after this Forgotten installment.

Jessica February 27, 2013 - 6:22 pm

Do you know when the current Red Hook Houses were converted from dockworker’s apartments to a government housing project?

George Fiala March 10, 2013 - 12:59 am

Hi, this is George from the Red Hook Star-Revue (Red Hook’s local paper since 2010). The Red Hook Houses were one of the city’s first public housing projects. It was planned by Mayor LaGuardia around 1934, but he couldn’t get enough funding at first. Then, using Federal funds made available by President Roosevelt, the Houses were built in a year, with the first tenants moving in on the 4th of July, 1938 (I’m pretty sure about the year). They were expanded in the 1950’s. They were highly lauded for the sunlight that came into the apartments, and for being built under budget, but criticized by some architects for the uniformity of the apartments. Money was saved in many places. One was having the elevators stop on every other floor (this was one of the things addressed in the 1950’s.) People were very excited to live there when they were first built. NY then (as today) had a severe shortage of safe housing for the poor. Tenements built in the 19th century were firetraps with poor plumbing and wiring. Something had to be done, and the massive increase of the poor during the Depression helped public projects get started.

connor March 15, 2013 - 3:38 pm

The First Houses on East 3rd between First Ave and Avenue A in Manhattan were actually both the City and the country’s first public housing projects, built between 1934 and 1935. The Red Hook houses were the second or third (possibly after those built in Williamsburg), completed in 1939.

lisa March 27, 2015 - 9:00 am

did you know the girl who passed away in the 60″s from a stove fire or any sepulveda families the girls name was julie krudolf

Carol Annunziato March 21, 2018 - 11:03 pm

Yes I knew that little girl she lived at 106 Van Dyke St. Her mother’s name was Teresa. Terrible tragedy. I was related to Honey and Tom McCabe who were the Superintendents in that building

Musings on National Maritime Day – the Wisdom of Pogo | Old Salt Blog – a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea May 22, 2013 - 11:24 am

[…] were crowded with trucks carrying cargo to or from the docks. Walking along Red Hook’s Imlay Street past the massive New York Dock Company warehouses felt like stumbling into the set of a post-apocalyptic movie, except with fewer […]

Richard Manus June 15, 2013 - 7:59 am

In the late forties and fifties my mother, father, and I, first living on Autumn Avenue, right off Atlantic, in East Nw York, then in Glendale, Queens, would visit my uncle on my father’s side, and his family, in Red Hook, where my father grew up. I think they lived on Van Brunt, by Hills Coffee. The street was all cobblestone. The area was a mix of Irish, Italian, and Puerto Rican. On a hot summer evening we would stay outside eating Italian ice. In the early seventies my wife and I traveled from Greenwich, Connecticut, to my uncle’s wake at a Red Hook funeral home. The priest leading the Rosary was Puerto Rican. My cousin and some of his friends “escorted” us back to the BQE because he considered the neighborhood too dangerous. Yet I have only happy and nostalgic memories of the ice, the pizza, the seven course Italian dinners, and the unabashed Brooklyn ways of my relatives. It’s hard for me to imagine gentrification or IKEA in Red Hook. By the way, my father would say, “Let’s go down to the “Point,” when it was time for a visit. I assume he meant Greenpoint, another designation for that mysterious longshoreman, eel fishing in the river, known as Red Hook.

Tilda C October 4, 2013 - 5:16 am

Hi – The Point was Red Hook – There were Pointers and Creekers (also known as “Pie” and “Cake”) . Creekers lived to the north and east of the creek that became, roughly, the Gowanus Canal. There was some rivalry, sometimes violent, between the two groups in the mid-to-late 19th century, continuing into the 1930’s among teens from both sides. I had uncles who were born on the Creek side, moved as babies to the Point, and never let my poor old Dad forget that he had been a Creeker until he married my Mother. They were only half-joking.

lisa March 27, 2015 - 8:58 am

did you know the krudolf’s or a carol rasnick or any sepulveda families

Tilda C October 4, 2013 - 5:42 am

One small correction: The Justice Center, operating in the former Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary School, is at 88 Visitation Place – not on Verona Street.

And a bit of expansion: the Doughboy Statue and Memorial Plaque, which are now at the V.F.W. Post on Van Brunt Street, were originally a centerpiece of Coffey Park. They were placed in a small plaza of stone, with the Doughboy looking towards the Church. They were removed to their present location to protect them from vandalism.

George Henry Hayes November 20, 2019 - 7:13 pm

My old school, loved climbing on that statue. Loved growing up in Red Hook. We owned the baseball fields in the back. I think the people have changed more than what’s happening with the infastructure.
Lived in Red Hook since 1957, seen the decent; we were all like a big family…too the not too good : it’s a mess now, people don’t even come outside… big fllod lights everywhere?? You can’t look out for the village, because the youth have no respect for anything. Nothing last forever, good old Red Hook is dead!

ernesto mcfaline February 11, 2014 - 10:24 pm


Rich February 12, 2014 - 7:02 pm

Reagrding “Other than the Red Hook Houses themselves, there isn’t much in the way of apartment buildings in Red Hook, so this 6 story what I imagine is a walkup is a standout here at Richards and Sullivan.”
I grew up in Red Hook, thank you for the memories. The building on Sullivan use to be a YMCA or YWCA age has gotten my memory. I remember in the late 70’s early 80’s while abandon we use this building as our club house. “Hangout Brothers” of Red Hook. What a fantastic site and read.
Thank you again,
Rich aka Reo Hangout Brothers

Joe February 13, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Unfortunately you STILL take your life in your hands if you walk down the wrong street after dark.

nelson o February 20, 2014 - 2:52 pm

“Other than the Red Hook Houses themselves, there isn’t much in the way of apartment buildings in Red Hook, so this 6 story what I imagine is a walkup is a standout here at Richards and Sullivan”

Hi I grew up in The Hook I lived in the ” New Projects” when my parents first arrived around 1960 across from Richard and Sullivan that 6 story walkup in the photo was actually a flop house and if you walked up the block where the public school is now there was a spot where they had horses and ponies across from the liqour store on Van Brunt St ( I have a photo of me sitting on one) there some row houses on Sullivan St and Gaspars ( I think that was the name)barber shop was on the corner across from the flop house.
We also lived in the ” Old Projects by the flagpole and later brought a house on Wolcott St across from the ” Little projects”
Though there was a lot of gangs ” The Black Diamonds , Kovons, Sinclairs and the Webs” there was also a lot of joy and love among people families always watched out for each other and if you had something you always shared it with others.
This is a very nice website and compliments the changes in the hood nicely

Ibon Pedraza July 10, 2014 - 2:37 pm

We moved to the Red Hook Projects in 1959….attended P,S, 27 and the JHS142. I loved Red Hook…I have many happy memories. I moved out of Red Hook when I got married…..every year I go back and ride up and down the streets and see many changes. I remember all those gangs…….there were nothing like the gangs today. It was more like club members protecting their turf….they would fight with their fist. The project can be a very nice place to live….just have to get rid of the
ones that are hurting the community. This Saturday I plan to go to Red Hook Pool….What a change! Brooklyn and Red Hook will always be in my HEART!!!!

Maria Corrales August 12, 2014 - 4:35 am

I’d love to learn a little history regarding the naming of Dikeman Street. I once resided at 21 Dikeman Street (beginning in 1960). I also know that John Francis and his wife Helen McCall once resided at this home too with John dying in 1939. John’s sister was Mary V. Fay.

When we moved in, we were the only Spanish family on the “block”. On Dikeman Street, most were Irish, Italian and Polish immigrants; McNamara, McCabes, Goldens, Valenti etc. And, almost all attended Visitation B.V.M. because I remember fondly walking to school altogether. It was a very large group.

My dad was known as the Spaniard that arrived in America in 1959 and while not speaking English perfectly, he was an educated man, very giving and talented. I was always amazed that he was able to land a Mechanical Engineering position at Pan American Airlines, later learning that his math skills afforded this opportunity. Neighbors knew this and quickly tapped on his talents; he fixed boilers, electrical systems, cars etc. yet, never took a dime from anyone. We were neighbors he would say. We did get trays of cookies and treats and as kids we loved it.

Thank you for the memories!!!
Now in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Richad Mancebo February 17, 2018 - 9:53 pm

Nice to see the information you posted. I remembered you right away. I graduated from Visitation in 1974 and remember you being in the same first grade class in 1966. My regards to Jose, Ferdinando, and I’m sorry I know you have a sister whose name escapes my memory. God’s Blessings.

frank cornacchiulo September 10, 2014 - 8:44 am

I grew up in red hook post WW II and yes, it was a tuff area for a kid to live in. Lots of bad stuff went on during our every day struggle to survive. But I try to recall many of the good times we had as kids playing street games and adventures we created. I am currently documenting my eye witness account of these events on my web page 18 chapters are posted as of this date. 20 chapters will be completed by the end of next month. These stories will continue with new chapters added until I run out of material. I still go back to the old neighborhood to buy a sandwich at Defonte’s on colunbia street.

Gladys Merced September 15, 2014 - 2:13 pm

I lived in Red Hook (507 Columbia St.) from 1956 to 1968 and went to Visitation BVM Catholic School from 1st to 6th grade. My family then moved to Puerto Rico in 1968. I have very fond memories of my childhood there.Would love to visit one day.

Mary Ann Skahan February 3, 2015 - 5:21 pm

Enjoyed the pictures and the comments. My grandfather ,Louis T Meyer. Grew up in Red Hook .Told us stories about learning to swim by jumping from the docks. He was raised Lutharen and converted toCatholism in 1901 @Visitation Church. He then moved toCambridge,Ma ,met my grandmother and never returned to Red Hook. I hope to visit soon. He lived on Conover St.

Perfecto Mangual February 8, 2015 - 12:04 pm

I enjoyed reading and looking at all the pictures posted in this article. I grew up on Fourth Place and Clinton. At the time we were the only Puerto Rican family in an all Italian neighborhood. I learned English and Italian living in that neighborhood. Most of my friends, which I hold dearly, are of Italian and Irish decent. Some of us have remained friends for over sixty five years, and yes, we are still in touch. I would not trade that for anything in the world. I live in Oregon, but my heart is still in Red Hook(Carroll Gardens). Thank you for your article.
PS. I miss the Pizza from the neighborhood, and DeFonte’s Sandwich shop.

roz musacchia February 27, 2015 - 11:59 am

Hi, Perf and to whomever is reading this: I am one of those old-time schoolmates of Perfecto – and through Facebook we have been keeping in touch for quite a few years now! Perf, you should go onto frank cornacchiulo’s blog “Red Hook Stories” which is mentioned in these comments. (And don’t feel badly, but Vince just went to DeFonte’s for a shrimp hero, a virginia ham hero and some friend eggplant – which I’ll put together myself for some eggplant parmigiana tonight!) xoxox Roz

frank cornacchiulo February 8, 2015 - 3:33 pm

In September last year I commented that I completed 18 chapters of the red hook story book. As of this date you will now find 29 chapters completed on I am researching many new sources for new background material. I welcome any comments and suggestions that you may have on this subject. If you can forward old photos of kids playing these street games it would be a great addition to these stories. Enjoy!

Camille Santomauro(LaNeve) February 26, 2015 - 7:22 pm

I left a reply!

Ed Murphy March 1, 2015 - 5:58 pm

Some great shots and info.I grew up in on Dikeman between Richardsand Van Brunt in the 60’s.

Howard (Howie) March 24, 2015 - 3:37 pm

I think we were in the class. Visitation.

frank moran October 6, 2015 - 9:22 am

I knew a Murphy family that lived on corner of Sullivan and Conover St 1945 to early 50’s then moved to Dikeman St the father name was Ed I think the Mother’s name was Doris, they had 4 or 5 children Ed, Francis, I think a daughter and a son born just after moving to Dikeman St. early 50’s named John. I hung around with Francis mostly but lost touch when I went into Army around 1956, I lived at 166 Conover St from 1943 to 1955 I went to Visitation school graduated 1953

Kenny Winberry January 17, 2021 - 8:29 pm

My great grandparents owned a corner store in Red Hook Section in the 1920- 1950 period Licalsi and Palumbo were their families .

Barbara B. Booker, Ph. D. January 13, 2022 - 8:28 am

I lived at 166 Conover Street from around 1952 to 1957.

Brooklyn by Bike (Kid Friendly) – Iris Cafe to Steve’s Key Lime Pies and IKEA | March 28, 2015 - 8:58 pm

[…] articles on Red Hook history are available on Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new […]

frank moran September 12, 2015 - 9:03 pm

I lived in Red Hook for 12 years at 166 Conover St. across from P.S. 30 went there for 2 years then to Visitation to 8th grade, Ralph Balzano, Guy Izzo were classmates of mine, I remember most of the names of my class and still have the graduation photo in front of Visitation School with Father Maroney in the photo. One of the photos you called a 6 story walkup was the old YMCA on the corner of Sullivan and Richards Streets, you may have already known that but it wasn’t mentioned in the brief description. Red Hook was an interesting place to grow up and I was always proud to say I lived there, I now live in Ormond Beach Fl.

Kate February 13, 2019 - 7:06 pm

My mother was the child Father Maroney was in the car with when he died. Would love to here more about Father Maroney.

Ron Feldman October 5, 2015 - 9:08 am

I was born in the Red Hook Housing Projects in 1943. I attended P.S. 30 through 5th grade when we moved to the suburbs.
My time in Red Hook was indeed formative. Saturdays at the Clinton Theater. Swimming on hot summer days at the Red Hook Pool, or playing ball in the fields behind the pool. Coffey Park was a favorite place. Many firsts there: first time I rode a two wheeler, first time I learned to roller skate, first time I was mugged after getting a haircut on Van Brunt Street (sp. ?). Summers where active there. The Duncan Yo-Yo man came to the Statue of the Soldier and showed us new tricks with the yo-yo and sold us the newest ones. I visited the Park and the old neighborhood recently. I was disappointed to see the Statue was gone. Rumors that it was decapitated seemed unreal and certainly wrong on a million counts. But, Lady Liberty stills stands on her island for all to see and to understand the importance of freedom.

Lars-Åke Andersson March 9, 2016 - 12:58 pm

The family in Sweden related to Curt O Lindgren are looking for the pub etc there he worked or was a employee
we have a name Red Hook Pub, but it seems forgotten.

Michael Thompson April 1, 2016 - 11:48 am

My Grandfather came from Red Hook and was married in the visitation in 1904. Can someone help me find what type of building stood at 128 Sullivan Street. His name was Charles Thompson and his father was Henry Thompson. I am doing ancestry on them. Also, does anyone have any information on “Catholic” adoption services in Red Hook in 1904. I am trying to solve a family mystery.

Robert christian March 2, 2017 - 5:10 pm

Very nice story. I am a product of the red hook houses on Dwight St. I long since moved away, but I love my roots in red hook. i watched redhook go through its many phases from neglect by government to the crack era and then saw the influx of the yuppies you mentioned.

Pamela Ratajczyk Wendt March 25, 2017 - 6:36 pm

My name is Pamela Ratajczyk
. I lived in Red Hook at 248 Conover St until my graduation from Visitation in 1964. Red Hook was the best place to grow up. Nuffie’s lemon ice (on Conover st), swimming at redhook pool or the docks, playing kick the can, skellzies and the bond fires in the street on election day! I remember getting ice cream at Mantie’s and charolette rouches (spelling ?), dill pickles and Mission grape soda from Frank’s (van brunt st). I’ve been back there many times and sometimes I’m not sure where I am. It’s so different. My dad worked at Todd’s shipyard (Big Pete) and other family members worked at Sucrest Sugar. I hung out with Theresa Nespoli, Lynn Sandberg, Maryellen Smith, Linda Antrella, Bobby Balzano, Dennis Lyons, Jackie Murphy, Joey Dietric and Douggie Donahue. My all time crush was Henry Larsen from Conover St (anyone seem him lately?). Still miss “the hook”!!!!

Ruth V. September 2, 2017 - 4:45 pm

Just came across your site, it’s great. Bring back a lot of good memories of Red Hook and the Houses. Lived at 791 Hicks from age 5 to 26 when I moved to Queens. I worked at 170 Imlay Street for a while, but I see the building isn’t there anymore. Remember walking from the Smith and 9th Subway station to the Houses past the warehouses and houses late after going to nite school. Will never forget Red Hook.

Ada DeMario October 19, 2017 - 8:46 am

Did you a family by the Taborda, lived at 797 Hicks,apt.3D, moved away about 1956.

Corky Valente January 1, 2018 - 3:43 pm

I grew up in the 40s, 50s, 60s In Red Hook. I lived at 54 Wolcott street next to Dougherty’s bar.My name is Corky Valente. I attended Visistation school, now the Red Hook Justice center. I served as an altar boy for father Moroney who passed in 1964. I hung out on Van Brunt and Kings street. In the summer me and my friends would trek down to pier 38 and go swimming in the East River.We played football in Coffey park.A popular hangout for longshoremen was Tony Pimpernelli’s bar on Pioneer and Van Brunt street. For lunch a lot of Red Hook ate at DeFonte’s hero shop which still stands. I loved Red Hook. The city tore down my home and built a school at Wolcott street. We had to move.

Anonymous March 3, 2018 - 1:40 am

My mother and father always talked about DeFontes

Jim Barry May 17, 2020 - 9:12 pm

Heard your name from my parents many times over the years. Madelyn and Stephen Barry.

Carol Annunziato March 21, 2018 - 11:49 pm

Remember Chi Chi tobacco and candy store, Mike’s Ice cream parlor. Frank’s fruit and vegetables store, Gabe’s
Bianchi”s Bar on the corner of Van Dyle St. Sucrest Sugar factory. PS 30. Visitation church. ,Father Maroney who was killed in a car accident. Rosens deli, Gambidela’s had the best lemon ice ever. Cheneskis deli, owner was shot to death. I lived on Dikeman St, Knew Yvonne Davenport, Connie Gator, Marilyn Gator. Lucille Castagna. Patsy Di Simone of the Passions. Sylvia Sylvestri, Bubbles Silvestri, Pie McCabe. Tom and Honey McCabe. Dotty Murphy and family

Anna Annunziato Rapaccioulo, and Sal. Petri”s Rosie Negrone, grew up in Red Hook. Also lived on Van Dyke St. Went to Coffee Park, The Pioneer movie as a kid, the Red Hook pool. The RKO and Avon movies on 5 th Ave near 9th St. How about Tony’s Italian Restaurant on Van Brunt St had the best pizza. Bitziola. Or Pie as we used to call it. Union and Henry St the Impala club. Was in love with Georgie Spic they used to call him. I never forgot him he was special and boy could he sing.To bad I was only15 he was 24. What a hunk and a real gentleman. I loved the song “born to late.” But swooned to Misty if he asked me to dance. 58-59.
Best Pizza on Union St, and Mazxola”s bakery. Wow I can’t: believe Iam remembering all this It seems like yesterday. Went to Bay Ridge High School. St Joseph’s Hall grammar school. Miss the good old Does any one remember Begging on Thanksgiving, long before Trick or treating, and everybody watched out for everybodies kids they
would say get home or I”m going to tell your mother”.

Mission soda there was a factory there in Red Hook. The American house had the best subs. Or that was what we called it. I remember it all so well. Loved growing up there.

bunny Cashen October 23, 2018 - 8:24 pm

Just what I needed. A stroll down Memory Lane. Born and raised in Red Hook. Went to Visitation graduated 1964. My grandmother lived at 330 Van Brunt St. My family lived at 160 King Street over the bar. My mother also grew up in Red Hook. We stayed until our father died in 1969. My best memories are the summers. Red hook pool and swimming off the docks. I use to think my mother was psychic cause she would always know. As a kid I had no idea I must have smelled like the old East River. It sad to say but I haven’t seen anyone from the neighborhood. The Harnet’s ,Greco’s, Salerno’s, Affe’s, Stewart’s, Persico’s, Martino’s I could go on and on. Margie’s deli Hyer’s Ice Cream Parlour Amendola’s Grocery, Butcher’s, and Fish Markets and the infamous Skinny Andy’s all on Van Brunt St just around the corner from my house. It may have been rough but it was fun. Every time I go to New York I always drive thru and it seems like yesterday. Yeah they are putting all the “cutesy” places but the old Red Hook is still there. All the new places are a shot in the arm and will keep it from vanishing but memories they are imbedded. Thanks so much I’ll surely visit again

Gregory Forte June 10, 2021 - 6:45 pm

Hi Bunny! Gregory Forte. 70 years young. Hope you are well. Long long time!

Barbara Smyth Starrs March 23, 2019 - 2:21 pm

Initial observation: what a misnomer for a site. Forgotten? From my own experience, that of my three brothers and from the many posts here, the stuff of lifelong memory. The pizza store was Bianchi’s when we lived there and as part of very longtime Irish American “Hookers”, eating pizza was exotic fare. There was an unidentified building with a mansard roof which, if memory serves, was across from the Pioneer and had a candy store on the street level. We passed it twice daily as we walked back and forth to school at Visitation. We went home for lunch every day and back for the afternoon classes (a temptation for some of the young scholars to play hooky). Of course they
rarely enjoyed their free time because the neighbors had a most effective wireless system , nosey mothers passing on the news. Long before cell phones we had instant information.
But one of Red Hook’s glories was the Library on Richards St., a few doors beyond that building and just before Visitation Place. My brother and I were just discussing whether it was a Carnegie library because of it’s classic design. If it was what desecration that it was torn down. Climbing the steps, going into the vestibule, hiding our skates behind the radiators were our rites preparing for the sacred space of the library itself and all the pleasures waiting in the books we could borrow. I wish someone could unearth the history of the Library, and more especially,
how it was torn down. No historic preservation for it?
Our house was on Wolcott St. and was very old. Today it might be desired for restoration but too late since it
went when the Project was expanded and we left, too, taking so many memories along.
Mr. Block had his butcher shop on the corner of wolcott and Richard St. and opposite was Mr. Benken’s deli.
Further up Wolcott at the corner of VanBrunt was our Fairway, the A & P. In the 1940’s it was as modern as Red
Hook got. There wasn’t even a bank, I believe, when I was a child. Lots of bars but no banks.
To really understand the Point was to remember the isolation caused by it’s geography. We had the trolly line to get to downtown, city hall, the department stores and, yes, banks. Or the bus to the subway elevated stop at Smith and 9th but snow storms could close us off from the larger world and then the isolated reality took hold. I can re-
member one evening trying to get home from a church dance at the church at 4th Ave. and 9th or 10th St. We got a
cab and the driver, obviously an outlier, marveled as we directed him to RedHook. “Where’s this place?” he asked.


Linda June 12, 2019 - 10:44 pm

Oh my God the candy store, the candy store !!!!
That was Mabel’s Candy Store !! Me and my brother would sneak in there before and sometimes after church. We would always put the money in the church basket, but let’s just say it didn’t all always get there. Some of it went to Mabel for Mary Jayne’s, Dot candies and Chunky’s. The Great big church bazaar with the big Ferris wheel that came every year . I remember with such hard Fr. Marioney. We lived at 82 Dwight St. until moving to Long Island in the 60s . A lot memories of families. And yes, “ Get home or I’m gonna tell your mother !” Mothers didn’t do you have their own communication system and they did a great job !!!! Do you live on the top floor Of the project I remember my mother yelling from that top floor that’s someone that was hitting my brother. She yelled : “ get your hands off my son I’m coming down ! “. All incredible memories Thank you for remembering the candy store !!! It is a beautiful memory Mables

Tricia January 5, 2020 - 11:54 pm

Mabel Caldwell was my great Aunt. We loved her store as well! We got to help whenever we were off from school! Sadly, she died of cancer when we were in elementary school. Her sister Isabelle eventually moved in with my family for the last 20 years of her life. They had both had a hand in raising my mom!

Arthur Rudolph Larsen May 23, 2020 - 3:44 pm

ARTHUR LARSEN I was born and lived at 155 Sullivan Street to 1965 when I married Josephine “Jorene” DeMaggio of 111 Wolcott and we moved to Hauppauge. Yes Skip Molander. I remember when Mikey McClernon, your cousin Tommy Buglosi and I visited you. We were in the bakery on the Vets Hgwy. Do you remember the party in the “club” in the basement of 111 Wolcott, I have a picture of us hanging all-over each other. My family attended Christ Chapel. I have done some research on the Point for an action novel I’m trying to complete, hope to get it published. Anyone interested in discussing the Point contact me at
My great Grandfather Herman Meader came to Red Hook from Germany in 1848,he was severely wounded in the civil war and walked with a bad limp. His family was very involved in business. civic and social affairs for generations. My Uncle Rudolph Meader’s name is on the brass table that used to be on the Doughboy monument in Coffey Park. He was awarded the Silver Star for bravery on Saipan. His unit was the first sent to Hawaii in February 1942. He fought on five islands and was killed in action April 24, 1945 on Okinawa.
Red Hook has an amazing history and was a truly unique community which due to the lack of direct access to the growing railroad system maintained many of the characteristics of a European village.

Gregory Forte June 11, 2020 - 11:45 am

Bunny Cashen?? I think you were the first girl I ever kissed! I know you remember me- no doubt. In your class for 8 years!! Nice to read your memories.

Kenny Winberry January 17, 2021 - 8:20 pm

My great grandparents owned a corner store in Red Hook Section in the 1920- 1950 period Licalsi and Palumbo were their families .

Richardene Belk January 18, 2021 - 9:22 pm

What was the name of School P.S.30?


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