Red Hook is one of those neighborhoods people feel extreme emotions about, there is lots of love out there but equal pleasure in declaring its end. The area itself is odd in its visible contradictions. Low sailor buildings (photo from NewYorkology) next to giant chain stores, almost creepily deserted streets next to the bustling Van Brunt where my recommendations Fairway, Baked, and LeNell's all stand, housing projects next to fancy gardening shops.
Red Hook was once a hopping port area crawling with longshoremen and many of the buildings, restaurants (see this week's Defonte's sandwich shop) and bars including Sunny's (a reportedly fun quirky bar I plan to visit another time) have been around since those times. These businesses have also weathered the hood's notoriously dangerous times when it was known for its drugs and as a mafia body dumping ground. But it's the new businesses coming in that are redefining the neighborhood today.
The mega grocery store Fairway and soon Ikea will call Red Hook home and people are flocking to the area without direct train service. Despite it being a bit hard to get to, there are many reasons I have to visit again: the food destinations Good Fork and the Red Hook Ballfields (hoping, of course the ball field vendors are allowed to come back next season),?The Waterfront Museum, and The Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival.