Today we Jeeped our bikes over to Red Hook in Brooklyn, New York to explore a shabby neighborhood showing signs of gentrification — with an intriguing range of sights, restaurants and shops. It was an interesting adventure!
Researching an alternate reality game I created for my daughter which I called Here be Dragons I once explored Red Hook in search of the old Revere Sugar Refinery at the Erie Basin — which had recently been demolished. Although it was a missed opportunity to urban explore, the neighborhood sunk its hook into me and I knew I’d have to go back at some point to take a closer look. The New York Times published an article Dining Red Hook inspiring my daughter, with fond memories of her treasure hunt, to ask if I would take her there over Summer break from college. That we did this weekend.
We parked the Jeep outside a liquor store and chatted to the shopkeeper putting out a sign on the sidewalk — and later returned to buy a bottle of a locally made ginger liquor on our way home. Refreshing with ice cold soda water. There appears to be quite a bit of small time manufacturing going on it the food sector (baking, wine making, whiskey distilling, beer brewing and a chocolatier) as well as some surprisingly good, if not unconventional, restaurants. The only thing it lacked for me was a microbrewery serving pub food — I would have thought this place a natural location for such a restaurant.
Brunch at The Good Fork was Fried Sullivan Farms Chicken & Belgian Waffles and a Korean Bibimbop constructed on a foundation of rice topped with sautéed vegetables, ground bulgogi beef, a spicy gochogang sauce and topped off with a fried egg. An excellent start to several hours of biking around.
Ikea appears to have rehabilitated their harbor frontage, which includes a bike path and a dock for a water ferry. From here we arced around the Erie Basin and then up to the ballfields at Bay and Clinton where lots of cheerful folk were picnicking on fare served up from a line of food trucks — none of which seemed enticing enough to stop and try. We looped around and went back to the waterfront, zig zagging through industrial and residential streets, some very unevenly cobbled. We came upon Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 docked nearby and from nearby Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies you can see the statue of Liberty face on across the bay. Steve sells a mildly zesty tart and a refreshing Limonade, not too sweet.
Hope & Anchor, recommended to us by locals at the whiskey distillery and chocolate factory, put on a late lunch that was almost as good as breakfast. My choice was the Tuna Niçoise, medium pink, perfectly grilled on a bed of green beans, fingerling potatoes, crumbled hard boiled egg, arugula, cherry tomatoes, savory olives and salty capers.
Google maps provided a means to plot various target locations and to identify local bike paths.
Before 10am there is almost nobody about, by 2pm there are other bikes and quite a few tourists walking about. We may have looked like locals because a taxi and two other bikers stopped to ask us for directions. So much to see and do here, we’ll be back soon.