Red Hook, Brooklyn encompasses the very essence of New York City’s rugged charm with its urban vibe, which has made it a haven for artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and designers. Despite its many under-construction building sites, Red Hook’s spectacular food scene, picturesque view of the Statue of Liberty, and endless stylish boutiques make it the ideal spot for a day trip devoid of bustling crowds and masses of tourists.
Red Hook is one of New York City’s greatest shipyards of the past, and the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge preserves and celebrates the glory of this major transportation system from the period of 1860 to 1960, when the waterways were teeming with cargo ships transporting goods. The Museum is located on the last remaining wood-covered barge of its kind, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge number 79, and offers free admission to those willing to explore its alluring antiquity as the museum sways back and forth with the water’s tide. The barge hosts delightful musical and theatrical performances which include a showboat circus, river songs, a pirate show, dance, theater, and opera, while tugboat tours and special exhibitions are also present year round.
Baked takes culinary and baking skills to a whole new level with their nationally acclaimed, mouth-watering scones, muffins, cakes and cookies. Recognized and praised by Oprah and Martha Stewart for their delectable baked goods, the two master chefs behind the counter have turned their baking dreams into a wild success by transforming the woodsy feel and rustic orange décor of their Brooklyn bakery into a dessert heaven. With their ideal combination of classic American favorites such as brownies, pies, and cupcakes in perfect balance with unique treats such as The Red Hook Red Hot cupcake (a red velvet confection made with Valrhona cocoa and drizzled with cinnamon buttercream), caramel coconut cluster bars, and The Salted Caramel (a shortbread base, with a salted caramel center and topped with dark chocolate ganache and fleur de sel), Baked is instantly savored by any tourist or local who sets foot in its doors.
Throughout Brooklyn, in spring, summer, and fall, gourmet food stands pop up all across the map, shouting and selling their tasty ethnic street cuisine to passerby. Traditionally, the ball fields are populated by the Red Hook Latin American Food Vendors hailing from El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Aside from the well-known and loved stuffed tacos, burritos, and empanadas, the pupusas (a corn tortilla filled with cheese, zucchini and meat), elotes (corn on a stick, dipped in mayo and chili powder) and tamales draw crowds from all across the city with their unique flavors and spices. Combined with a sweet tamarind drink or a light watermelon juice, these finger foods will leave you walking back to the food vendor carts within minutes for second helpings!
Located in the heart of Red Hook’s flourishing art scene, the Look North Inuit Art Gallery is housed in a newly renovated Civil War-era building which once served as a shipping warehouse but has since been transformed into a haven of artistic expression. The Inuit art gallery, founded less than a decade ago, offers visitors a gorgeous waterfront view of New York Harbor and the skyline in the distance while presenting the brilliant artwork of nearly 30 Inuit communities in Canada‘s Arctic region. Traditional Inuit stone sculptures, photographic prints, paintings, and etchings are on display, introducing to New Yorkers a lesser-known form of creative expression with informative tours and exhibitions.
Louis Valentino Junior Park and Pier lies nestled in a cove off the New York Bay with a million-dollar view of Lady Liberty, Lower Manhattan, Governors Island, Staten Island and the Civil War-era Red Hook Stores Building. Besides the lovely view, Louis Valentino Park consists of an expanse of fresh green grass for recreational sports and lounging, free outdoor film screenings in the summer, and a shoreline next to the pier which caters to canoeing and kayaking (which is free on Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings in the summertime). This location, which once served as a shipping industry, is now a family favorite for kite-flying, picnics, or a peaceful late-night stroll.
Pioneer Works, an eclectic cultural institution, showcases a wide range of artwork and open studios series (on the second Sunday of each month), while offering free musical performances, exhibits, and other special events to the general public. Pioneer Works serves as a center for research and experimentation to artists, scientists, theorists, educators, and musicians, studying and exploring modern-day cultural expression with in-house arts and science residencies as well as educational programs. The main exhibition and artist-in-residence studios as well as tours are free and open to all who wander in from Wednesday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This Brooklyn diner with the red-and-black color theme and live weekend karaoke serves up the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner New York diner plates, with an endless array of eggs and omelets to hot sandwiches, soups, juice burgers and salads for the health conscious neighborhood locals. However, Hope & Anchor refuses to bore diners by only offering a basic selection, and instead livens up their menu with mac and cheese critters, a ravishing falafel platter inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, and a Thai salad with a unique spin. Lined with brick walls and concert posters along the interior walls, the diner features a full bar service, and recommended dishes such as the chicken pot pie, New English clam cakes, and Cobb salad all at reasonable prices for those reluctant to splurge for a delicious meal.
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