This year, I decided I was going to revisit Red Hook, a waterfront district of Brooklyn. I discovered the charms of Brooklyn and its waterfront enclave of Red Hook just after Donald Trump was elected president. I had no time for the hysteria and street protests and wanted to go somewhere old-fashioned.
Brooklyn is just across the East River from Manhattan, via the Brooklyn Bridge — of course. There are also a few other bridges and a tunnel to Brooklyn these days, but they aren’t as famous as the Brooklyn Bridge, which was completed in 1883 and was significantly ahead of its time in engineering terms: the place where twentieth-century New York began.
Brooklyn is probably New York’s oldest suburb, founded by the Dutch in the 1640s not long after New York itself. It has a lot of charm.
Back at the time of the election, I had taken a boat-sightseeing tour of the harbour for the day and stopped at Fair Way Cafe, Red Hook. The food, the done-up wharf area, the brick buildings and the renewed warehouse area fascinated me, along with being so close to Manhattan and having a view of Lady Liberty.
Red Hook was the busiest freight port during the 40s and 50s and was inhabited by seafarers from all over the world, even Norway.
I had scored a room in Airbnb at a reasonable rate in Coffey St, next to the murals depicting life in the area. My editor Chris Harris had begun corresponding with a writer from Red Hook called Russell Bittner and his partner Elinor Spielberg. By chance or cosmic concern they lived at a house across the way in Coffey Street as well.
Bike lanes are everywhere. They are so extensive you could bike to Manhattan, and many do.
When I first arrived the bus driver took a detour and said it was a shooting and went around Coffey St. It was a film shooting, an episode of Law and Order, and the set was guarded by the NYPD.
I received a random invite to a music evening called Woman of Color, featuring Ki and Sonic at a club called Nublu 151.
It was rap and great intimate music.
I got familiar with baseball — the Brooklyn Dodgers.
A weekly bus and underground pass is 32 dollars and the ferries from Ikea Red Hook are free during the weekends.
I walked to the Brooklyn Historical Society and saw the sandstone (‘brownstone’) houses and churches. This area, which has now been urbanised for four hundred years, was one of the first to take up arms in the American War of Independence.
The ferry being free, off I went wondering and wandering with my photography on the only fine and sunny day. I went to Central Park in Manhattan and photographed all kinds of remarkable scenes.
The next day it went from a comparatively warm 57 deg F to snow — wow!
And such was Easter 2018!