Gowanus and Red Hook is in Brooklyn. In addition to Gowanus and Red Hook, this travel guide also covers Carroll Gardens.
Red Hook is a formerly-bustling industrial area which is on the upswing. Although hard to access by train, it can be served by the F & G trains at Smith-9th Street or by taxi or by the B61 bus. Settled in 1636 by the Dutch, it has seen many a boom and bust is today caught between those who like it as the sleepy part of town that time forgot vs. those who seek to restore its crown as the Queen of Kings County Commerce. If you're looking for something off the beaten path, Red Hook is it. Many artists call Red Hook their home, so don't be surprised to see random sculptures, galleries, or creative gardens across from city housing or burned out buildings. It was also home to the MTV's Real World Brooklyn cast in 2007. However due to a massive low income public housing project which houses most of the neighborhood's residents, precautions should be taken. Violent crime including robbery is a problem in the community.
Carroll Gardens- Historians date the name to the 1960's and the real estate people like to enlarge its borders. It encompasses part of Smith St. and the nearby areas. In the 1950's and further back in time, this area was known, to the dismay of many, as Red Hook, and it still is called both Red Hook and South Brooklyn by many. Smith St. has a newly charged restaurant row, but there are still plenty of old school Italian-American gems to be found.
The F and G stop in Carroll Gardens at Smith-9th Street (The highest station in the system and an engineering marvel), Carroll Street, and Bergen Street for Carroll Gardens. The F, G, and R stop in Gowanus at 4th Avenue-9th Street. There are no subways in Red Hook, but the B77 bus goes there from Smith-9th Street.
Gowanus Canal. The anchor of the Gowanus neighborhood is this famously polluted canal. The Carroll Street Bridge is the oldest retractable bridge in the US (and one of only four left). Recently, the canal and surrounding buildings has been considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kentler International Drawing Space, 353 Van Brunt St (B61/B77 buses to Van Brunt St/Dikeman St), ☎ +1 718 875-2098, . Th-Su noon-5PM. A small 2-room gallery divided by a bizzare door.
Statue of Liberty. Red Hook is the only place in New York where you can get a frontal view of the Statue of Liberty from land.
Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, 290 Conover St, Pier 44 (at Reed; Subway: F/G trains to Smith-9th Sts, then transfer to B77 bus to Conover St and Coffey St), ☎ +1 718 624-4719, . Th 4PM-8PM, Sa 1PM-5PM. Donations suggested.
Walk. Walk around the canal (especially near the subway) and look at the signs from factories long gone.
Metal and Thread, 398 Van Brunt St (between Coffey and Dikeman), ☎ +1 718 414-9651, . Th-M noon-6PM. Sells many peculiar items made from, unsurprisingly, metal and thread.
Baked, 359 Van Brunt St (at Dikeman), ☎ +1 718 222-0345, . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8AM-7PM. A well-priced cafe and bakery.Midrange.
Home/Made, 293 Van Brunt St (between Pioneer and King), ☎ +1 347 223-4135, . Wed-Sun 10am-11pm. A good place to go for homestyle brunch, lunch or dinner. Try a delicious grilled flatbread!Midrange.
The Grocery, 288 Smith St (between Union St and Sackett St; Subway: F/G trains to Carroll St), ☎ +1 718 596-3335, . Tu-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F 5:30PM-11PM, Sa 5PM-11PM. A tiny spot in the middle of Smith Street's restaurant row, with outstanding American food and caring service. Reservations highly recommended.
Botanica, 220 Conover St (at Coffey), ☎ +1 718 797-2297. A not-too-cheap homemade liqueur and cocktail bar.
Holiday Inn Express Brooklyn, 625 Union St (between 3rd and 4th Aves; Subway: M/R trains to Union St), ☎ +1 718 797-1133 (fax: +1 718-797-1163), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Opened in 2006, the hotel features complimentary breakfast, wifi access and comfortable furnishings.
Although New York is overall a safe city, Red Hook is known for having a high crime rate. In general, north of the Gowanus Expressway, in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens, is safe, while south of it, in Red Hook, is a place to be very careful, especially near the Red Hook Houses in the northeastern section of Red Hook, just south of the Gowanus Expressway.
Brooklyn Public Library (Carroll Gardens branch), 396 Clinton St (at Union; Subway: F/G trains to Carroll St), ☎ +1 718 596-6972, . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Red Hook branch), 7 Wolcott St (at Dwight; Subway: F/G trains to Smith-9th Sts), ☎ +1 718 935-0203, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
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