A waterfront blog about Red Hook, Brooklyn. From Columbia Street to the Van Brunt Stores and from Valentino Pier to Red Hook Rec Center.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

So where was I?

So I let the blog go for awhile... and not just because it was too much time. As of late Red Hook as a place has had me at about at wits end. I still like it here and I still find it to be a great and interesting place, but I don't think it wears the winter well. Through January, February and March it seemed that the streets got dirtier and dirtier. The whole place just seemed to get grim and grimy. Let's put it this way, during the course of the winter I found three dead animals in the streets. Okay, actually four. That's pretty grim.

And I think that is probably the reason I'm more in favor of Ikea and the Imlay Street projects, than not. Its a simple matter of hoping that if Ikea comes, there may be more traffic, but maybe there won't be the big piles of trash on Beard St. that are there now. Sure, the derelict buildings might make a poignant photo that captures the tragedy and desolation of urban life, but ya know what? I'm not that keen in living in a set piece for tragedy and desolation. At let's be honest, you know why they found asbestos on the Ikea site? Because the whole freakin' place is tainted by industrial waste. Its great history to know that they built many of the landing crafts from the Normandy invasion in Red Hook, but all that shipbuilding leaves some pretty rough stuff - the dirty underbelly of industrial history. Ya know where you can find the most comprehensive history of the Todd Shipyards Brooklyn operations on-line? At the website for some law firm that specializes in Mesothelioma cases. The site has been poisoned for years. Good luck to Ikea if they want to clean it up.

Regardless, though, I'm here in Red Hook for a while. I do like the place. But I also want to see it get better. And by better, I mean that I want to see it become a better place to live. Yeah, I know... "What about the working waterfront?!?" I've got nothing against the working waterfront, so long as that doesn't mean garbage on the streets, and derelict buildings.

52 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you read this latest article?

http://www.nynewsday.com/other/special/amny/

sorry you didn't like Red Hook in the winter. it's a little wild like that.

Mon Apr 11, 04:47:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'd like to know what attracted you to red hook in the first place. It seems that you also had a romantic vision of it as a desolate landscape, as you mentioned, but became disillusioned when you realized what the reality of the neighborhood is, and now you'd like to see it changed.

Red Hook has been getting a lot of press lately but it's not the hip, gentrifying neighborhood that it's being touted as -it's a gritty, working class neighborhood that also happens to have a small population of artists. Red Hook has an approximate population of 11,000 -about 9000 of whom live in the projects. But the small minority of artists and other creative-types are getting all the attention. None of the recent articles about Red Hook mention the fact that it's home to the 2nd largest housing project in the city and the poverty and unemployment rate here is much higher than the city's average.

New people moving into the neighborhood seem to think it's great at first and pride themselves as being hip or in on a secret or some sort of urban pioneer, but then they're upset that there's no grocery store, it's loud, it can be dangerous, and it's dirty.

It just makes me wonder what the real motivations are behind the push for gentrification, especially by new-comers.

Mon Apr 18, 10:46:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you think the derelict buildings would just disappear after you moved here?

the Todd Shipyards and other buildings have been vacant for ever! And what amazes me is that this neighborhood isn't more of a ghost town. It's got kids playing and lots of wonderful people in it, and stores opening and thank goodness it's NOT billyburg or whatever people are calling it. It's mostly a neighborhood of poor people. and the streets are pretty clean, cleaner than other parts of brooklyn, that's for sure.

One of my favorite winter treats is watching the wind make all the garbage cans dance up and down the block. It's like an urban ballet.

Red Hook winter, it's hard but now it's over. Get a cupcake at baked and chill out.

Mon Apr 18, 10:51:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when you say you've "got nothing against the working waterfront, so long as that doesn't mean garbage on the streets, and derelict buildings", you're really saying that you're fine with it as long as it doesn't inconvenience you or offend your aesthetic notions of a neighborhood. That's pretty lame.

Mon Apr 18, 11:23:00 AM

 
Blogger Mary Campbell Gallagher said...

Hello, I'm a blogger, too, and I concentrate on the effects of the proposed Ikea in Red Hook and the other proposed big boxes on the 400 local shopping streets we enjoy here in New York City. Please visit my blog at http://www.BigCitiesBigBoxes.com to find out more about arguments for and against--mainly against--Ikea and about the on-going litigation. I am gradually posting the court submissions on my blog.

Congresswoman Velazquez, by the way, represents the people in Red Hook, but Congressman Nadler represents the piers. That may explain why Congresswoman Velazquez says so little about the piers.

I enjoy reading your posts.

All the best,

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Sat Apr 30, 08:48:00 PM

 
Anonymous MCG said...

Hi, I really enjoy reading your posts. I am a professional writer, and I am a blogger, too. My blog concentrates on the proposed Ikea in Red Hook and the other proposed big boxes in New York City. I have published op-eds about Ikea-Red Hook and Wal-Mart in The Brooklyn Papers and Newsday. Contrary to Ikea's and Wal-Mart's claims, the economic evidence is that big boxes do not create jobs, they destroy jobs. Visit my blog at http://www.BigCitiesBigBoxes.com to find out more about Ikea-Red Hook and about the on-going litigation.

Congresswoman Velazquez, by the way, represents the people in Red Hook, but Congressman Nadler represents the piers. That may explain why Congresswoman Velazquez says so little about the docks.

All the best,

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Sat Apr 30, 09:04:00 PM

 
Anonymous MCG said...

Oops. Please save the comment signed MCG and delete the one signed Mary Campbell Gallagher. I thought it was a draft! And then delete this one.

PS. I used to have a Blogger blog, but I moved to Typepad. That is why if you go into Blogger you find me with an inactive blog. In fact, my blog is very, very active. I would love it if you would link to my blog: BigCitiesBigBoxes.com. I will do the same.

MCG

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