Red Hook is a secluded, charming waterfront neighborhood in South Brooklyn. It isn’t easy to get there, but once you’re in the area it’s worth staying to explore, eat, drink, and shop. This tiny neighborhood holds a lot more amenities than people realize, not to mention excellent views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. This Red Hook walk, which should take up a day, will take you passed all the local favorites and along the gorgeous waterfront.
The Waterfront photo courtesy of Red Hook Waterfront.
Your walk begins at the Smith and 9th Street subway station (serviced by the F and G trains), which is technically located in Carroll Gardens. There is no direct subway access to Red Hook, so you’ll have to walk underneath the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to actually get to the neighborhood.
From the subway station walk west along 9th Street, over the Gowanus Canal and under the BQE. This will take you through the gritty, manufacturing area of the neighborhood. When 9th Street ends at Columbia Street, take a right and then a quick left onto Verona Street. Walk two blocks along Vernoa until you hit Van Brunt Street [GMAP]. (Wear your walking shoes, as this walk from the subway into the neighborhood takes about 20 minutes.)
Red Hook Lobster Pound | via Facebook
Van Brunt Street is the main drag of Red Hook, and where the majority of businesses are located. The first business you’ll spot is the Red Hook Lobster Pound which is renowned for its lobster rolls. Try something at this quirky, New England-style lobster shack, but don’t fill up. You’ll want to snack all the way down Van Brunt.
Continue south along Van Brunt and be sure to check out Home/Made, a cozy cafe/restaurant; Brooklyn Ice House, delicious and affordable BBQ; Hope & Anchor, excellent diner food; Baked, which has baked goods to die for; and Fort Defiance, yummy cocktails and brunch. Once you’ve had your fill of Van Brunt, take a right on Van Dyke Street.
Steve’s Key Lime Pies | Howard Walfish via Flickr
Along Van Dyke, follow the signs to Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, which is located in an old warehouse at the end of the block. Order a Swingle here, a mini key lime pie dipped in chocolate and served on a stick. Continue to walk south along the old warehouses and you’ll soon hit a waterfront promenade — the Pier 44 Waterfront Garden. Here, you’ll find great views of the Statue of Liberty, as well as the Red Hook Waterfront Museum, located inside a historic barge.
The Waterfront Museum | via Facebook
When you exit the waterfront garden at Conover Street, and you’re ready for a drink, take a left and walk a half block up to Sunny’s Bar. If it’s open (sometimes the hours are unpredictable), check it out. This bar pretty much epitomizes what Red Hook is all about, and we’ll leave it at that.
Sunny’s Bar | Chris Goldberg via Flikr
From Conover Street, walk east along Beard Street. You’ll pass by the massive Fairway Supermarket and the IKEA store. Once you see Columbia Street, take a left. You’re at the Red Hook Ballfields, known for its amazing food vendors. Vendors are out through the summer until October, and if you catch them be sure to order a papusa. Even if you’re not hungry — and at this point, why would you be? — this park is a nice spot to relax after all that walking you’ve done.
Papusas | Wally Gobetz via Flickr
When you’re ready to leave the neighborhood, you can either walk back to the Smith and 9th Street station, or retrace your steps along Beard Street and head back to IKEA. From there, you can take the New York Water Taxi into Manhattan, or catch a bus leaving Red Hook. You can also call a car to pick you up there.