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

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Goodbye to Guyville

Well, this is it. We've moved out of Red Hook. I probably should of written this in the sentimental flush of the week of the actual move, or sometime before that while I was still in Red Hook, soaking in its ambiance (for lack of a better word), but there was just too much going on. So now its two or three weeks on, and we're well out of Red Hook. Sentimentalities have faded, and my inclination is to look forward to figuring out the new neighborhood rather than reflecting on the old.

But I told myself I'd make one last post, so here it is. Yeah, Red Hook was/is Guyville. To the point of sometimes making me wonder. I mean, jeez, some of the locals were the classic "more interested in their cars than their girlfriends" kind of guys. Of the various Red Hook characters walking the streets, its got to be two to one guys. And doing all the guy things, whether they were tricking out their cars, or hanging out in one of the multiple neighborhood clubhouses, these were guys. Of course there are a couple of ladies that stuck out of the crowd, mostly the nice ladies of the Red Hook Ladies Club. They have their own clubhouse - for those of you in the neighborhood who couldn't figure it out, that sort of store with the great pane glass window on Van Brunt near Sullivan, where they set up the holiday decorations in the lot next door, that's the Red Hook Ladies Club. Mostly they're affiliated with Visitation, B.V.M. Visitation is, of course, the beautiful old Catholic Church by Coffey park. One of my favorite memories of Red Hook will no doubt be Visitation covered in snow late on the night of the big January snow storm last year. With the snow on the church and in the park and in the street, too fresh to have been plowed, you could have been in one of the old upstate post-industrial towns. Hell, it could have been Bedford Falls. But it was beautiful.

I always wanted to post about Visitation. For all the angst about the newcomers and the old timers and the gentrifiers and preserving this old factory or that old piece of the working waterfront, not much got said about Visitation. If anyplace was an institution down in Red Hook, Visitation was and is. Of all the places we frequented - the bars, the stores and the restaurants - very few really gave you a chance to meet the rest of the neighborhood like Visitation did. I'm not going to say much about it. It gave me an insight into the neighborhood that I wouldn't have had, and that you can't get from most other places. Stop by, take a look at the stained glass. If you own one of the newer businesses on Van Brunt, do them a favor and put an ad in their church bulletin - seriously, they need the help and its important to a lot of the people in the neighborhood.

But why leave?, you must be asking. Ah, the rent was raised, you probably figure, bitten on the ass by our own gentrification. No, we just found ourselves in a position to look for something more permanent and there's not much available in Red Hook. We couldn't afford, and didn't want a house, and there are no co-ops, and few condos for sale. Besides that, lets be honest, Red Hooks got its problems. I won't go into them because its not my problem at this point, and far be for me to badmouth someone else's neighborhood.