The discovery of germ theory at the second end of the 19th century, following the close of the industrial revolution, brought hygiene to the front of people’s minds. As a result, when they organized committees and groups to keep their communities running smoothly, cleanliness was one of the priorities. This article from the Brooklyn Eagle, details the Erie Basin’s new Board of Trade in 1910. In reading what they discussed, we also gain an insight into the priorities of the time. One of the board’s main projects had been obtaining resources for their street cleaning force, including “several extra sweepers, and a few additional carts.” Other items on the agenda included changing the name of their community to “Erie Basin Section” from “Red Hook Point” in order to influence “prospective tenants and purchasers to give the place a wide berth.” This highlights another priority of the day, the livelihood provided to the people of the Basin by their waterfront. A few of the other items on the agenda included looking to pursue a better streetcar service, and the creation of a new public playground.
Today the area is generaly just know as Red Hook (with no Point), although "The Point" may still be heard. Another name, more commonly used among long time residents in the 21st century is the "The Back." "The Front," refers to the area of Red Hook to the east of Richards Street, home to Brooklyn's largest public housing.
Text of Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 19, 1910 article:
NO MORE “RED HOOK POINT”
New Board of Trade Will Abolish Old Name.
“Erie Basin Section” Will Be Its Title Hereafter - Many Improvements Planned.
The street cleaning force of Erie Basin has been recently augmented by the acquisition of several extra sweepers, and a few additional carts. As a consequence, the streets in that section are assuming an appearance of cleanliness hitherto unknown to them.
Erie Basinites, who are not keeping abreast with the times, regard the era of reform with wonder. Those, however, who keep in touch with the happenings of the day smile in a satisfied way, knowing that the board of trade is working, and that other and more important innovations are scheduled to follow.
The newly organized board of trade is responsible for the sudden activities displayed by the street cleaning force, and it is predicted that through its influence, greater things than the basin ever dreamed of are imminent.
Street cleaning commissioner Edwards, in response to an apple by Chairman Silleck of the board, instructed the district superintendent of the section to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. The laxity of the Street Cleaning Department in “Red Hook Point” has long been a subject of concern to the residents, but a concerted action was lacking and things were allowed to drift from bad to worse.
It is claimed that all the maimed and aged sweepers were sent to this section to recuperate when not fit for duty elsewhere, and it became known, so it is said, as the “Red Cross Platoon.”
It has been resolved by the new board of trade to endeavor to abrogate the name “Red Hook Point” forever. The opprobrium, however undeserved it may be, is considered detrimental in influencing prospective tenants and purchasers to give the place a wide berth.
It is the aim of the board to have the neighborhood known as the “Erie Basin Section”, and to have everybody forget that it was ever known as Red Hook Point.
During the past week the park committee, consisting of A. C. Kassenbrock, P. McCabe, and Solomon Steiner, met by appointment Park Commissioner Kennedy, laid before him certain plans and discussed the need of a public playground. Mr. Kennedy is an old resident of the section, and expressed himself in accord with any plan looking for its improvement.
A committee, consisting of Charles Bauman, Miles McPartland, and G. Schufeldt, were received by the vice president of the B. R. T., who listened to suggestions for a better car service. Relief in this direction was promised, and patrons of the Crosstown line may experience much less inconvenience in the future.
The board meets again March 24th, at 8 P.M. in its rooms, 191 Richard Street, and it is expected that at least 100 new members will be enrolled.