A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

New York City changes so rapidly. Buildings can literally be here today and gone tomorrow. We pass sites that are either big holes in the ground or construction sites, and think “What was here before?”

I was downtown only a few weeks ago, and was shocked to see the corner of Red Hook Lane and Livingston Street had lost its buildings. I especially remember the corner building, festooned for the past number of years with the map-like artwork of artist Steve Powers.

Red Hook Lane is the last remnant of one of Brooklyn’s oldest roads. Like many of Brooklyn’s original streets, it was a trail used by the Canarsee people who lived here centuries before the Dutch and English showed up.

In Colonial times, Red Hook Lane connected the town of Brooklyn to the shores of Red Hook. It was a major transportation road, one used by both the Continental Army and the British during the American Revolution.

By the end of the 19th century, there wasn’t much left of the Lane, only a one block oddity allowing people to take a shortcut to Fulton Street.

People lived here, especially in the days when Livingston was still a quasi-residential street.