Perhaps one of Brooklyn’s least visited neighborhoods, Red Hook is a peninsula in northwest Brooklyn. Red Hook played a major role in the American Revolution and was a major industrial site before its decline and revitalization in the 1900s and 2000s. Red Hook has experienced a rapid development recently with the opening in 2008 of a controversial IKEA. Today, unique food destinations including Red Hook Winery, Widow Jane Distillery, Steve’s Key Lime Pies and Red Hook Lobster Pound are popular options, many in old Civil War warehouses or buildings. From robotics studios to abandoned carriages to a museum on a barge, here are 10 secrets about Red Hook.
1. You can visit an abandoned trolley from the Boston Green Line
On the Red Hook waterfront behind the Beard Warehouse Food Bazaar is the last remnant of an experiment to bring carts back to Brooklyn. Urban researcher Bob Diamond, who discovered the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, wanted to revive the Red Hook trolley line that ran to Atlantic Terminal and Downtown Brooklyn. Diamond and Gregory Costillo founded the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA), which collected seventeen disused wagons and constructed new tracks along the Red Hook waterfront. The O’Connell organization, which owns and operates many of the historic buildings in the neighborhood, including the Merchant Stores Building, provided support for the project.
For a period, a 1.5km loop of trolley track from nearby department stores entered Red Hook along Conover Street and Van Brunt Street. The city, however, determined that trolleys were not the best option to improve transit access in Red Hook, and the railroad tracks were quickly removed. Four wagons remained on the Red Hook waterfront, though Hurricane Sandy damaged them, and the O’Connell Organization later donated the wagons. The one remaining trolley is the 3303 Boston T Green Line car from 1951, which was subsequently painted blue. The trolley now shows NO STOP on its front poster, and the doors are in rough shape and locked.