Walking Tour

Theme curated by: The Red Hook WaterStories Team

A walk around Red Hook starting at PortSide New York's MARY A. WHALEN, in Atlantic Basin, meandering to Red Hook's NYCHA houses and then ending up at the restaurants of Van Brunt Street.

The RMS TITANIC fatally struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, tragically cutting short her maiden voyage. Survivors were rescued and brought to New York by the SS CAPATHIA. Also on board were 12 or 13 of the Titanic’s lifeboats. Titanic's wooden boats…

Joe Ruggiero, aka “Joey Chips” since he always shows up at a party with a bag of chips, is a WWII vet who is still driving in 2016. He served as a Bosun Mate on the Navy vessel  THURSTON and participated in 6 D-Days in 4 years including Normandy,…

The Life Line Mission is the new name given to what has been known for twelve years as the Red Hook Mission in South Brooklyn, at No. 412 Van Brunt Street. It is devoted exclusively to sailors, and has a good reading room, chapel and dispensary.…

Sometime before 1689, Stephanus Van Cortlandt (d. 1700) erected a water-powered mill on his property, roughly at the corner of present day Dikeman and Van Brunt Streets. "The mill-pond, which was formed by damming off the creeks and natural ponds in…

Beginning at the end of the 1800s, New York City docked floating pools, known as baths, along the Brooklyn water front to provide relief from the summer heat. Bath No. 4 was docked at the foot of Conover Street. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac of…

"It seems there is a tradition at sea that a lost mascot means a lost member of the crew shortly after. Even worse, a lost mascot on the first voyage spells constant disaster for the ship in the future.     So Captain Boettger ordered ship put about.…

Devine Burtis started his shipbuilding business in 1840.  Originally in Manhattan, the shipyard moved in the 1850s to the foot of Conover Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn.   Between 1840 and 1901 they built ferries for New York ferry companies and the…

Night herons live around the Red Hook shoreline. PortSide staff have seen them in Erie Basin (this photo is in the O'Connell's marina) and the Red Hook Container Terminal. As their name implies, they usually fish at night, and are rather private, all…

Saltpeter, soap, and sugar, in succession, were key products in the area south of Beard Street, known as the “Richards bulkhead area."  By 1880, the land was developed and piers were extended into the Erie Basin. The first buildings were one-story…

Cave-in at Beard's Erie Basin, Pier A, at Richards Street. Beard's Erie Basin, Pier A June 14, 1941.Photos of a cave-in at Pier A, Beard's Erie Basin, foot of Richards Street, June 14, 1941, by the Wurtz Bros photogrophers.  Images in the collection…

John F. McKenna was a wholesaler and retailer of lumber for shipyards, industry, and heavy construction. His office was at 74 Beard Street and his depot in the Erie Basin. Lumber was a major Red Hook business, ships filled with it, and large rafts…

The Reliance Paint Co. had a facility at 50 Beard Street in the 1920s. The company manufactured structural and marine paint. Red Hook was home to many paint companies. Some of the others were the American Marine Paint Co. and C. A. Woolsley Paint and…

Labor strikes by shipyard workers, maritime workers, and many others were common in the years following WWII. In 1949, The Brooklyn Eagle reported on a union walkout at the Todd Shipyard in Erie Basin, after eight riggers were fired for refusing to…

"No man ever, perhaps, got so much the best of old Beard as did Louis Heineman, the housemover of the Twelfth ward.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 19, 1891)  When Louis Heineman died in 1904, he was reportedly 104 years old, and likely the oldest…

In 1921, the Brooklyn Spar Company advertised in The Marine Journal that it sold wooden masts and posts for derricks and flag poles, which the company made at its waterfront facility at the foot of Columbia Street.In O.R. Pilat's 1929 article, John…

In 1922, New York City Mayor John F. Hylan, a strong advocate for expanding the subways, held public hearings on the topic. George T. McQuade of Coastwise Lumber & Supply Co. supported a line that would run down Hicks and Lorraine Streets in Red…

A fair portion of today’s Red Hook was once water.  An 1887 article in the Brook Eagle marvels that Henry and neighboring streets have been extended nearly half a mile in ten years. Marshes with knee-high water, or deeper, were being systematically…

PS 27 is shown in 1938, then again 1939 with a new addition under construction. The view is the north side of Huntington Street, east from Columbia Street. The low building in the center background, seen across the lot, is Public School No.…