Landlords in Coney Island, Red Hook and Dumbo are helping out their Sandy-ravaged commercial tenants with rent and other aid, DNAinfo reported. Thor Equities has lowered rents by as much as 40 percent on Surf Avenue in Coney Island, benefitting Brooklyn Rock and Wampum, among others. Red Hook landlord Gregory O’Connell, whose own business moved back into its Red Hook HQ only last week, has offered low-interest loans and rent abatements to tenants. Two Trees Management in Dumbo has also been letting tenants pay rent later and talking to insurance companies on their behalf, as well as helping out with property repairs.
Brooklyn Waterfront’s Landlords Forgo Rent to Keep Sandy-Ravaged Tenants [TRD]
Photo by Lock
Good news for those trying to get from Manhattan to the notoriously out-of-the-way neighborhood of Red Hook: The City announced that, starting Memorial Day weekend, a ferry will run from Pier 11 in Manhattan to Van Brunt Street and Ikea. Called the Red Hook Ferry, it will run weekends from 10 am to 9 pm through the summer. It will also be free, with free transfers available to the northbound East River Ferry. Each landing will be served every 25 minutes, an improvement from previous service which ran every 40 minutes. The Van Brunt stop is currently an unused ferry landing owned by the O’Connell Organization. Bloomberg said the main goal of the summer transportation is to bring foot traffic to the small businesses of Red Hook, many of which are still reeling from Hurricane Sandy.
Photo via the O’Connell Organization
The New York Times yesterday took a look at the controversy over just how to rid the Gowanus Canal of its toxic sludge. If you’ve been following along, none of this will be news to you, but in brief: One group opposes the plan to shut down the Double D swimming pool to locate an overflow tank underneath it, while others don’t want the toxic sludge processed in Red Hook or encased in cement and used as landfill in Red Hook. The paper didn’t mention a new group that has formed to champion local processing on the grounds that it might bring jobs to Red Hook. In any case, the EPA has repeatedly said it’s open to shipping the toxic sludge out of state for processing, a more expensive remedy.
Neighbors Resist a Plan to Clean a Toxic Canal [NY Times]
A group of Red Hook residents say they are in favor of a controversial part of the Gowanus Canal cleanup plan because they believe it will bring jobs to Red Hook, The Brooklyn Paper reported. Residents of neighborhoods surrounding the canal are fighting over a plan to encase the canal’s poison sludge in concrete and use it to enlarge a pier in Red Hook. ”This is something to look forward to,” said coalition member Ray Hall of the idea. “People can change their lives tremendously by having a job.” Federal officials say the plan would bring 60 jobs to Red Hook over six years. The EPA will release its final plan this summer.
Sludge Fight! [Brooklyn Paper]
Photo by Jim.henderson for Wikimedia Commons
Remember the bizarre-seeming proposal by cement manufacturer John Quadrozzi to encase poisonous sludge from the Gowanus Canal in lumps of concrete and then use this as landfill to expand the size of one of his Red Hook shipping docks? Well, this idea was adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its official plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal, and now the proposal is pitting residents of different neighborhoods against each other, Gothamist reported. “The Gowanus Canal runs through Carroll Gardens,” shouted third-generation Red Hook resident Brian Melton at a recent EPA meeting at the South Brooklyn Community High School. “Put the stuff there!” A group called NoToxicRedHook has formed to fight the Red Hook portion of the EPA’s plan. ”We do not want toxic wastewater processed in our neighborhood,” said group co-founder Carly Yates. Meanwhile, supporter Marlene Donnelly, an environmental activist who owns a house near the canal in Carroll Gardens, said she believes the opposition to the Red Hook part of the cleanup plan is “an orchestrated campaign to discredit the Superfund” by developers, the City, and National Grid. A resident of Red Hook said she thought the plan to remove toxic chemicals from wealthier areas and put them in Red Hook had a “race aspect.”
Environmental Racism? Toxic Gowanus Sludge Is Heading for Red Hook [Gothamist]
Photo by wallyg
Amazingly, this Sunday marks the six month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The nonprofit PortSide NewYork and Realty Collective are hosting a Sandy Survivor Get-Together at 351 Van Brunt Street, the former location of the Sandy aid center in Red Hook. The hosts say, “There was a great community spirit in the days after the storm when everyone was working together to recover. We are hosting an informal open house to hear how you are doing, reconnect and celebrate the resilience of Red Hook. It would be so great to see our friends and neighbors and reconnect.” There will be free cake, coffee, and other beverages. It’ll be held Sunday from 4 pm to 7 pm at 351 Van Brunt.
Photo by Lock
Finally! After two years of reconstruction, the Smith and 9th Street subway station is up and running again. Marty Markowitz came out for the ribbon cutting, held at 11 am today. This subway station, the only one for residents of lower Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, is now sporting an expanded street-level control house, a new metal escalator enclosure, rehabilitated stairs and platforms, new lighting, closed-circuit television and a fancy PA system. After the jump, check out lots of photos and details of the new artwork gracing the station. It was all designed by artist Alyson Shotz, a Red Hook resident who was inspired by local maritime history. Above is pictured the art piece surrounding the entrance to the station, which is actually the highest station in New York City. The design is based on the design of a boat hull.
Ribbon cutting photo via Twitter (more…)
Just one hour ago, at 1pm, the Red Hook Library reopened for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. Because of severe flooding, almost half of the library’s thousands of books were destroyed and the mechanical and electrical systems needed to be totally replaced. Assembly Member Felix Ortiz, Council Member Sarah Gonzalez, Brooklyn Public Library President Linda E. Johnson, the BPL staff and the Red Hook community came out to 7 Wolcott Street to celebrate the reopening. Now the only two Brooklyn Public Library branches still closed since Sandy are the Coney Island and Gerritsen Beach branches. The Gerritsen Beach branch should open this spring; the Coney library won’t reopen until October.
Red Hook Library Makes Its Comeback Next Month [Brownstoner]
Photo by the BPL
On a nice day, there is nothing more pleasant than poking around Red Hook’s odd corners. A unique mix of seaside village and industrial waterfront, the neighborhood is one we make a point of visiting at least once a year instead of, say, Cape Cod, which is too far away and expensive. New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells likes it too, and recommends checking it out now that almost all of its eating and drinking venues have reopened post-Sandy:
But for variety, charm, oddity and rugged urban beauty, there is nothing in the city like eating and drinking your way across this Brooklyn neighborhood…Instead of destination dining, Red Hook offers an impressive variety of tastes: dizzying lobster bisque, marshmallows you want to hide from your children, crunchy and spicy Korean pancakes, wines and liqueurs that are fascinatingly far from ordinary, and a potato-and-egg sandwich that should be on the curriculum of every Brooklyn public school…Most impressively, Red Hook is a true community in a city where that notion is becoming more abstract all the time…As New York’s dining scene has come to be dominated by empire builders, Red Hook has stitched together a bunch of little ideas that add up to something big, something that’s become hard to find in other places.
He highlights a dozen food and drink places to try, starting with the food vendors at the Red Hook Ball Fields and ending with Defonte’s Sandwich Shop. What are your picks for a day in Red Hook?
Treasures on Every Block of Red Hook [NY Times]
The Red Hook Library branch, badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, is reopening very soon: on Tuesday, April 2, at 1 pm, according to the Brooklyn Public Library. This branch, along with four others, was shuttered immediately after the storm. The Red Hook Library was actually used as a distribution hub and a warming center in the weeks following Sandy, and the Brooklyn Public Library dispatched bookmobiles to the area to provide free books and activities for children. The Coney Island Library and Learning Center and the Gerritsen Library branch are the last two branches to remain closed after library reopenings started happening this January. The flooding was so bad at the Coney branch it will not open until October. The Gerritsen Beach branch should open sometime this spring.
Brooklyn Libraries Start Reopening After Sandy [Brownstoner]
Photo by the BPL
A look at Brooklyn, then and now.
By the beginning of the 20th century, Brooklyn’s waterfront was the most important commercial entity in New York City. It’s hard to believe now, since it’s all virtually gone, but at one time, the piers and their adjoining warehouses and railroad lines were developed and busy, from the Brooklyn Bridge, through Red Hook, Sunset Park and on to Bay Ridge. That is a huge amount of waterfront, once bustling with men, truck, trains and ships, all moving vast amounts of goods here and there; everything from coffee to subway cars.
The two and a half mile stretch of piers, warehouses and train tracks between the Brooklyn Bridge and Red Hook’s Erie Basin belonged to the New York Dock Company. The company was the successor of the old Brooklyn Wharf and Warehouse Company, the company associated with some of Brooklyn’s oldest merchant names and places, like the Pierrepont and Woodruff families, and the Empire Stores. The Dock Company bought them in the largest foreclosure sale to date, in 1901, which at the time also included the docks and warehouses between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges: the DUMBO area. They sold that part in 1911, still leaving a huge amount of shoreline, which was divided into the Fulton, Atlantic and Baltic Terminals.
The Dock Company was a direct competitor with the huge Bush Terminal in Sunset Park, and was run in much the same way. Goods came in via the water from all over the world, were off-loaded into the huge warehouses that lined the piers, and were shipped out via rail, trucks, or other ships. They owned 35 piers, 150 warehouses, two factories, grain elevators, three rail terminals, tugboats, car-float bridges and more. (more…)
Over the weekend, the New York Times profiled Andrea and Stephen Kondaks, homeowners in Red Hook who, four months after Hurricane Sandy, still have not received enough money from their flood insurance policy to repair their three-story, 150-year-old house two and a half blocks from the water. The sticking point is that the claims adjuster who processed their claim overlooked much of the damage, they said. He estimated they need $49,000 and they estimate they need about $200,000. The couple removed five layers of flooring to dry out the joists so they wouldn’t get dry rot or mold. The joists are still exposed, and they sealed the staircase to the living space above. If they ever get the money, they may design the first floor space as a “sacrificial” area that can withstand flooding in the future. “Our goal is to never make a claim again,” said one of the homeowners. While they are among the lucky ones in that they were insured in the first place, they are not the only ones having trouble getting insurance companies to pay claims. Senator Charles Schumer and Governor Christie of New Jersey have both criticized FEMA and the insurance companies for poor service, according to the article.
Fighting the Insurer Over Hurricane Sandy Damage [NY Times]
Photo of Red Hook flooding via @johnrobb on Twitter
Today is the big day in Red Hook. Fairway reopened this morning at 7:30 am, revealing a brand new grocery store post Sandy. This morning they held demos, giveaways and a ribbon cutting ceremony. Borough President Marty Markowitz and Miss America Mallory Hytes also made appearances. The doors officially open to the public at 11 am. The Red Hook store, which was entirely rebuilt after it was flooded with five feet of water, now has wider aisles, a better navigation system, a bakery three times larger, a new cafe, and an expanded bulk foods section. According to The Daily News, the repairs cost a total of $10 million. And, even more good news for the neighborhood: Red Hook Lobster Pound and the Brooklyn Winery Tasting Room also open their doors today! Click through for an interior picture from a tipster, and send in your own pics if you make it down to the celebration today…
Photo via Fairway Market’s Twitter (more…)
Yesterday both Grub Street and Eater reported that the Red Hook Lobster Pound would reopen this Friday, March 1, after rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy. According to Grub Street, “The Van Brunt Street’s holding tanks were destroyed, most of its inventory spoiled and, in all, the business had assessed more than $100,000 of damage by the time power was turned back on.” The owners pushed back the targeted opening day from Valentine’s Day, and the new opening date coincides with the return of Fairway Market. To start off, the Lobster Pound’s new hours will be from noon to 8 pm Wednesdays through Sundays and until 9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Red Hook Winery is also aiming to open its tasting room by March 1, so it’s looking like there will be a big party in Red Hook come Friday!
Photo by TheGirlsNY
While the Brooklyn Greenway gains traction in Williamsburg, it’s also set to make progress in Red Hook. This Thursday, February 21st, the city’s Department of Transportation will present a proposal to Community Board Six’s Transportation Committee to extend the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway from Van Brunt and Summit Streets to Valentino Park. According the the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, the DoT will reveal improvements that they can act on within the year. Of course, it is part of the bigger, long-term capital project to extend a greenway all the way from Greenpoint to Sunset Park. If you’re interested in attending the meeting, it’s at 6:30 pm at Long Island College Hospital, Room A.
The proposed Red Hook route, via BGI
Tonight the EPA will host a meeting for Red Hook residents concerned about the EPA’s proposal to construct a facility in Red Hook that decontaminates the material dredged from the Gowanus Canal Superfund site and uses it as landfill. You can read lots of details about the proposal over at the Red Hook Star Revue. The proposed “contaminated disposal facility” would go in the Gowanus Bay Terminal. There the Gowanus soil would be coalesced into a solid mixture of sand, dredge and cement to create a landfill. According to the Revue, “the plan creates developable land for the GBX’s owner, John Quadrozzi, Jr. The land’s use would ultimately be the decision of Quadrozzi alone.” Quadrozzi first proposed this in the fall, and at that point the EPA’s involvement was uncertain. The plan is now in its public comment period, which lasts until April 27th. The public meeting on the matter will be held tonight at 6:30 pm in PS 15 on Sullivan Street (between Van Brunt & Richards).
EPA Seeks Input on Placement of Gowanus Sludge [Red Hook Star Revue]
Developer Wants Gowanus Sludge to Create Landfill [Brownstoner]
Photo by Jim in Times Square
The website On The Real just posted a long, informative interview with St. John Frizell, Red Hook resident and Fort Defiance owner. They chat about the state of Red Hook in the late nineties, what drew Frizell to the neighborhood before any bars had opened on Van Brunt Street, where he learned to make cocktails and opening Fort Defiance. Of course he discusses the huge challenges the neighborhood faced after Hurricane Sandy and what it took to reopen Fort Defiance. Definitely worth a listen.
Radio On The Real. St. John Frizell. [On The Real NYC]
Photo by Craig LaCourt via OTR
Here’s a one-bedroom, floor-through apartment at 95 Dikeman Street in Red Hook. It looks the part of a renovated condo unit that’s turned rental, although we’ve only got photos of the living room and bathroom. This particular unit is renting for $1,700/month.
95 Dikeman Street [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark
The New York Times profiled a handful of Red Hook businesses hit hard by Sandy and still aiming for a reopening date. According to the Times, “February has become the target month” for many. Red Hook Lobster Pound is shooting for Valentine’s Day. Home/Made plans to offer brunch this weekend, but has also set its sights on Valentine’s Day for a full-scale reopening. Sunny’s Bar, still badly damaged (along with the owner’s house next door), has no estimate on when they will be back in business. Fortunately, several operations are already up and running: Fort Defiance opened the night before Thanksgiving with a pig roast; The Good Fork restaurant reopened to big crowds on New Year’s Eve; and Baked, Hope and Anchor, and Brooklyn Crab survived the storm relatively unscathed. Finally, the Times reports that Fairway is hoping for a late February opening date, although the grocery store announced yesterday that it will reopen in March. The repairs to the store cost close to $10 million.
Flooded Businesses Set Goal to Reopen, But Obstacles Emerge [NY Times]
Photo by 0rpheus_in_NYC
Hurricane Sandy wiped out the Red Hook Fairway, but the massive grocery store won’t stay down for long. Here’s an announcement they posted today on Facebook: “WE’RE HIRING ADDITIONAL STAFF IN RED HOOK!! Red Hook is scheduled to open in March and we are currently hiring in addition to our employees returning.” If you’re interested in applying, go here. Can’t wait until this store is back in action!
Photo by greenelent