Historian Henry Stiles writes in his 1884 history of Brooklyn: "The southern portion of the Hook was a high hill covered with locust, poplar, cedar, and sassafras trees. This hill was cut down in 1835 by Messers. Dikeman, Waring and Underhill for the purposes of filling up the neighborhood mill ponds, lower ground and drowned marsh."
Tide mills played a significant part in the early industry and development of Red Hook. Water from the twice daily tides was captured in mill ponds and then released in a controlled way converting the flowing water into power to mill grain, and other items such as ginger.
Brouse more about tide mills in Brooklyn's Red Hook.