Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year (and bus route), Red Hook!

A New Year's present from NYC Transit will arrive this weekend. The splitting of the B61 into two shorter routes - the B61 and B62 - will be put into effect on Sunday, this story from Gothamist is telling us.

The new B61 route will travel between the Ikea Terminal in Red Hook and Downtown Brooklyn (Smith Street and Livingston Street), while the northern B62 route will link Downtown Brooklyn (Boerum Place and Livingston Street) and Queens Plaza.

This has been a long anticipated improvement to the B61 route, one that should bring much better reliability and efficiency to the bus service. Hopefully, it will put an end to the long and frustrating waits at Jay Street for the Red Hook bound B61, often ending with the appearance of 2 or even 3 buses in close proximity, after winding their way through the long and congested route from Long Island City, Queens.

The new Red Hook bound B61 will begin at Jay Street - a change that is sure to, as NYC Transit is stating, "increase service reliability".

An excellent beginning to a better 2010.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New York Gets Its First Solar Electric Vehicle Charging Station - in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Following the recent news of New York's first zero-energy building coming to Red Hook, Brooklyn, here's more green energy, shipping container inspired innovation from "Beautiful Earth Group", a New York-based sustainable energy company that has its headquarters in Red Hook.

Story from Inhabitat here, and PR Press Release here.

And this, via Inhabitat, from Beautiful Earth president and CEO (and fellow ex-Cobble Hill Playgroup dad), Lex Heslin, about this innovative and "groundbreaking" development.

It never ceases to amaze me, when I get behind the wheel of this 95 mph sports car, that it doesn’t use a single drop of gasoline, and that all of its power comes from the solar energy we collect right here on the Brooklyn waterfront.

Go Lex!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

RED's "Holiday in the Hook" - 18th, 19th, 20th December

Red Hook Economic Development (R.E.D.) is a new group put together by many Red Hook businesses. They are already getting some things done, having created the "Red Friday" promotion that happened the day after Thanksgiving (post here), and I believe they've had a hand in helping Red Hook stores to get into the holiday spirit with lights and decorations in their windows, etc. as well as the RED HOOK lights on Van Brunt Street at Hamilton Avenue.

In that vein, RED has come up with "Holiday in the Hook", with many stores offering discounts or special offers.

This teaser from RED's Perian Carson -

Come out to RED's upcoming Holiday in the Hook! Discounts? Yes. But also blacksmithing demos, cute animal themed cards, and plenty of holiday drinks and treats! Fun for all, right in your own back yard.

There are many offers and discounts to be had - here's what's listed on the above flier and on RED's "Holiday in the Hook" Facebook page.


This weekend come to Red Hook and get the pre-holiday deals in stores, restaurants and bars. Walk along the festive streets and pick up gifts for your loved one...or YOU and when your bags are full stop and grab a bite or beverage

Look for the sign in participating businesses but here are just a few...

Foxy & Winston, 392 Van Brunt - open 11- 7 each day
10% off shopping plus a Foxy & Winston tote w/ $50 purchase

Home/Made, 293 Van Brunt
Bring photo taken w/ Red Hook Santa for sparkling pomegranate cocktail or hot cocoa

Kentler International Drawing Space, 353 Van Brunt - open Fri + Sat 12 - 7 and Sun 12 - 5
Big Idea art exhibition; enjoy holiday refreshments

Kevin's, 277 Van Brunt - open Fri + Sat 6 -11pm
After dinner, enjoy selection of free edible ornaments dipped in Belgium chocolate

LUCE onthehook, 281 Van Brunt - open Fri 12 - 8 Sat 12 - 8 + Sun 12 - 6
Free gift w/ $25 purchase

Lucky Gallery, 176 Richards - open Sat + Sun 1 - 6
View art and enjoy free beer and wine

Metal and Thread, 398 Van Brunt - open 10 - 8 each day
Tax Free shopping plus handmade gift bag with purchase

Red Hook Lobster Pound, 284 Van Brunt - open 12 - 6 each day
Taking orders for Christmas lobster; Buy 10 have one on us!

SAIPUA, 147 Van Dyke - open 12 - 6 each day
Visit our new shop, enjoy hot cider and ginger cookies

She-Weld, 151 Van Dyke - open Fri + Sat 12 - 6
Specials on forged red hooks + other metal ornaments, gifts; blacksmithing demos

Space 414 Van Brunt - open Sat + Sun 12 - 6pm
20% off all artwork, complimentary wine

Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie, 204 Van Dyke @ Pier 41 - open 10 - 5 each day
Gift certificates available and pies aplenty!

Thrifty Couture, 294 Van Brunt - open 11- 7 each day

Red Lipstick 390 Van Brunt - open Fri Sat + Sun
10% discount when you purchase $100 or more

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let it Salt, Let it Salt, Let it Salt.

The Columbia Waterfront is getting a White Christmas courtesy of ASI - American Stevedoring, the operators of the Container Port. "The Word On Columbia Street" blog has coverage and pics here.

Unfortunately, this is a re-run of a movie we've seen before. In April this year, the Columbia Waterfront District was peppered (ahem, again) with salt from the huge uncovered salt pile that is stored on one of ASI's piers (my post here). At the time, after much uproar from the community, certain representatives took a role in "resolving" the issue. The remedy - now proved to be patently ineffective - was deemed to be covering the mountain of salt with a large black tarp (or something like that).

Here's what I wrote at the time -

"Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Councilman David Yassky have been working on the salt pile issue with Councilman Bill DiBlasio. As Mike McLaughlin in his Brooklyn Paper article stated,

"DeBlasio has been working with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D–Coney Island) and Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) to get the port’s operator, American Stevedoring, to control the buffeting problem. Nadler and Yassky are staunch supporters — and large donation recipients — of the port company."

Bill DiBlasio is moving on to take the post of Public Advocate, though, by the look of this "Pardon Me For Asking" story (here and here), he doesn't seem to be doing much preliminary "advocating" for the public - for the people of Carroll Gardens, at least. So, hopefully, Brad Lander, the Councilmember-elect and Messrs. Nadler and Yassky will advocate for a quick resolution to this latest situation. Mind you, judging from the pictures I've seen on "The Word", it looks like the damage is already done.

To me this all gets back to the whole matter of the responsible and equitable use of the piers.

Salt blows over residential neighbors, ships emit their dangerous fumes, trucks pollute our air and congest our neighborhood streets - all avoidable consequences of the activities at the port.

Where's the push for a long-term fix?

As I wrote in my previous post -

"Neither salt nor carcinogenic diesel fumes belong in our back yards."

General Red Hook News and Ephemera - via Amy Haimerl

Local resident, Amy Haimerl, sends out a (mostly) weekly email titled “General Red Hook News and Ephemera”. I’ve copied the most recent mailing below, but if you would like to receive this comprehensive update of Red Hook news and information, she told me you can email her at amy.haimerl(at) and she’ll put you on her list - whether you’re naughty or nice.

Happy Holidays.

Dog News:

1. In the spirit of the holidays, I want to draw your attention to two groups organizing pet-food drives.

First, the city’s shelter, Animal Care & Control, is looking for gently used toys, along with unopened pet food, blankets and towels. They are underfunded and overwhelmed by the sheer number of animals they have to care for. As dog owners, maybe we can help out. Because really, even though I’m not religious, I can hear my mother saying: “There but for the grace of God goes Maddie.”

Second, the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged is hosting a food drive through Dec. 31. This helps the elderly keep their pets in their homes and cared for. Plus, the organization needs for volunteers to help walk dogs (or clean cat boxes if you’re more inclined toward felines).

2. We are going to be losing one of our members: Richie Nelson, who owns Achilles, is leaving us for New Jersey. Though we will be sad to lose him and his family, congratulations are in order. They recently closed on a home.

3. Save the date: On January 20, Red Hook Dog will host our quarterly membership meeting/public dialogue on park issues. Representatives from Parks as well as officers from the 76 and parks police will be on hand to answer questions. Starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Park House.

4. How do you plan to dispose of your Christmas tree? Set it out on the curb or bring it to Coffey Park on the morning of Jan. 9 for Mulchfest!

Red Hook Dog volunteers will be scouring the neighborhood for trees, dragging them to Coffey Park and then driving them to a chipping station to be turned into mulch for the Parks Department.

We will need volunteers on the day of the event (super fun!) and also people to help post fliers in the neighborhood. If you’re interested, email me back.

General News:

1. The blog Brokelyn says the Red Hook Community Justice Center needs present wrappers this Sat. You know you’re good with tape.

2. The blog TravelEatDrink featured Red Hook is week. They have the old standbys, but it’s worth checking out to see where the Good Fork’s owners like to eat and drink in their off hours.

3. The horror flick “Red Hook” is now available on Time Warner On Demand. I can’t give you a review, though, because I’m a big scaredy cat. Anyone else seen it?

4. Ever wondered about the crazy-looking sea shack across from Fairway? It’s the Red Hook Yacht Club. Answers here.

Food News:

1. Wine from the Red Hook Winery is finally available. Yay! But at $45 a bottle. Boo! The new Brooklyn Wine Exchange at Atlantic and Court is carrying the vintages, if you want to try them. And the owners are “among the best winemakers in America” whose other labels can go for $200 a bottle.

2. Red Hook’s own Brad Farmerie, and the chef at Public, could be NYC’s “Hottest Chef.”

3. The blog Gastrochic discovered Red Hook Beef Jerky, which is quite amazing. And it’s run by a couple in the neighborhood who also have a lovely Rottie. You can find the snacks at Ice House.


1. SATURDAY: “Kids Picks” at Kentler International Drawing Space. Reception from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Kids Picks is curated by local 5th graders from the Brooklyn New School, who chose selections from the Kentler Flatfiles to produce this show.

2. SATURDAY: Bi-Annual Butter by Nadia Sample Sale. 11 to 7. 405 Van Brunt St. These are the great jersey dresses that can be twisted into a million configurations. (Well, if you are talented. I am not. I have dress fail.)

3. SUNDAY: Ditto the sample sale. But from Noon to 5.

4. FUTURE: Monthly Red Hook Dog cleanup of Coffey Park. 9 a.m. We start right after dog hour; bring bags for trash and gloves. (We do this the first Sunday of every month.)

5. FUTURE: Monthly Sunday at Sunny’s literary readings. January 3 at 3 p.m.

6. FUTURE: Monthly meeting with the 76th Precinct. January 5 at 7 p.m.

7. FUTURE: NYC MulchFest 2010: Jan. 9 and 10! What to do with your X-mas tree? Bring to Coffey Park and other parks to be chipped into mulch.

8. FUTURE: Community Board 6 meeting. 6:30 p.m. January 13

9. FUTURE: Quarterly Red Hook Dog meeting. 7:30 p.m. Coffey Park in the Park House

10. ONGOING: Yoga comes back to Red Hook. Classes are on Monday and Thursday, 6:15 to 7:30 p.m., in the Red Hook Studio building. $10 or pay what you can.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

NYC's First ‘Zero Energy Building’ Coming to Red Hook

Image courtesy of

Redhook Green (their website here) has just distributed this press release for their innovative new project - a live-work, "net zero energy building" to be constructed on the corner of Dikeman and Conover Streets in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

From Redhook Green's website -

" The first floor consists of large live/work loft areas arranged on either side of an exterior court. Glass walls adjoining the court can be opened to allow the complete integration of the garden, living, and work areas. The form of the house is inspired by the shipping containers stacked along the adjacent waterfront. Modular units, proportioned similarly to shipping containers are stacked and shifted to create a variety of terraces and overviews."

Redhook Green is the brainchild of New York technology and media entrepreneur, Jay Amato. Mr. Amato states in this press release that this will be a project "that can serve as an example of how we can live and work responsibly."

Live and Work responsibly .... sounds good to me.

From the release, Mr. Amato states that -

Redhook Green "will become a very visible symbol of the continuing reinvention of one of New York City’s oldest neighborhoods,” and will "practically illustrate the movement towards zero-energy building to the world’s greatest city."

Additionally, explaining how this is to be acheived,

"Bringing to bear exciting new building materials, improved wind and solar technologies and more energy-efficient HVAC and home appliances, as well as state of the art sustainability strategies, Redhook Green will be a powerful answer to the question of what urban centers can do to reduce our dependency on foreign oil via renewable resources and to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.”

This project seems like an excellent example of how a neighborhood such as ours, with a mix of industry and residential use - something local artist and resident John P. Missale apparently dubbed "Residustrial" - can retain its character, build on its residential stock and increase economic activity, without adding further to the burden of pollution - locally or globally.

To quote Mr. Amato again -

An example of how to "live and work responsibly".

View Redhook Green in a larger map