A walk around Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, USA
We revisit Al Capone's old haunt in Brooklyn
(Photos Dec 2008, words August 2009 ©urban75)
Situated in the southwestern corner of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, Red Hook has enjoyed a long and sometimes shady history.
Named by Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam in 1636, 'Roode Hoek' got its name from the red soil and 'hook' (point) of land projecting into the East River.
From the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, Red Hook was one of America's busiest ports, populated by mainly Italian and Irish American dockworkers.
The neighborhood acquired a tough reputation - the notorious gangster Al Capone started his life of crime here - and was immortalised in movies such as the On the Waterfront (1954), starring Marlon Brando.
With containerisation replacing traditional bulk shipping in the 1960s, Red Hook industries abandoned the area and headed to the new ports at Jersey, plunging the local economy into rapid decline.
By the 1970s and '80s, it had acquired a reputation as a dangerous and desolate neighborhood. LIFE declared Red Hook to be one of the worst neighborhoods in the United States in the 1990s, dubbing it the 'crack capital of America.'
Recent years have some revival in Red Hook's fortunes, with an eclectic mix of artists and industrial businesses moving into the area. More recently, the controversial opening of a ruddy ginormous Ikea store has generated increased visitor numbers.
A free ferry runs from lower Manhattan to Pier 11 at Red Hook, a service that was apparently promised by Ikea to the Planning Commission and the community.
However, recent reports say that Ikea now intend to start charging $5 to weekday riders who don't go on to spend at least $10 at the store.
Nice one, Ikea.
Street graffiti, Red Hook.
'In Money We Trust... God I'm sorry.'
Rocky Sullivan's at 34 Van Dyke St, which moved to Red Hook from Midtown Manhattan in 1996 after suffering a 'colossal rent hike.'
I suspect that this isn't a real Ikea Annex!
View of Richards & Van Dyke Streets.
Pier 41 on Van Dyke Street between Conover and Ferris.
Statue of Liberty in the distance.
Electric cables and stop sign by Ferris Street.
We came in from the cold to enjoy a coffee and a cake at the Baked cafe.
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