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Brooklyn Bike Adventure: Red Hook

January 31, 2012

This Saturday it was so sunny and warm – 50 degrees in January! – I decided to push the laundry and cleaning off for one more day (I believe this procrastination is an inherited trait… My grandma and I were both cracking up on the phone the next day talking about how much we push off our cleaning!). But you have to enjoy those beautiful days when you receive them!

So… I dusted off my bike, pumped up the tires, made a quick stop at the local bike shop to replace my brake pads, and I was off! Destination: Red Hook. I’ve explored a bit down there, but wanted to see if I could follow my nose, find new places, and explore without falling into the same routine, aka no pupusas from the ball field or Swedish meatballs from the big blue box down there 😉 I can successfully report that I rode in many circles, took a lot of pictures, and stopped at some special spots along the way.

I headed down on Henry Street, biked over a creepy walkway that goes both over and under the highway and smells of marijuana, and came upon an abandoned graffiti lot, profuse with painted octopuses, tags, and this bittersweet reminder…

I kept riding, a lot of the time without watching too closely where I was going. The side streets of Red Hook are a perfect place to practice riding with no hands, as there’s not that much traffic. Though do look out for pot holes! Careening through the neighborhood, I often got that favorite feeling of being the only person around…

I did look up at a balcony at one point and saw a few dudes prepping for a January BBQ. I smiled up at them, but alas did not get an invite to the festivities… So I headed onward towards the water, passing a lovely bar called Botanica where they make the most delicious cocktails with muddled fresh fruit. I passed a ridiculous Halloween at their annual masquerade party last year, dressing up as what seemed like the wife of Zoro. The bar is closed for the winter, but made a note to stop by on April 1st for their re-opening…

Next I stumbled upon Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, a quirky spot in a warehouse by the water that boasts 15 years in the business. They take their pies very seriously, serving up only different sizes of their specialty creation – they have a sign on the door to inform the patrons that they don’t even have coffee! The man at the counter was very nice as he wrapped up my tartlette to go. The piecemeal nautical decor (a theme of the hood which has a big fishing/dockyards history) was quite charming too!


I thought I would save my treat for later, but heard the lapping of waves on the rocky shore and decided to sit at the park in from of the Waterfront Barge Museum.

One bite turned into two bites. And then two bites into four.. Before you knew it, my key lime confection was consumed… The gingery graham crust was simultaneously crisp and crumbly, and was the perfect container for the soft key lime filling. Pie lovers, it’s worth the trip!

I biked back towards Van Brunt Street, the main drag of Red Hook, locked up the old Bianchi, and wandered into a few shops. A strange miscellany store was going out of business, these signs (forgive the language!) hanging among the remnant vintage clothes, stationary, records, etc.

Lured by the sweet old dog and colorful fabrics in the window, next I entered the magical world of Foxy & Winston, where I could have bought one of each of her precious screen-printed cards, scarves, towels, and aprons! Somehow I managed to leave with just a onesie with two squirrels making tea (finally finished my Christmas shopping!) and an adorable pair of porcelain earrings for me, but will make it a point to remember the shop when my friends’ birthdays roll around!

A quick detour back to the water for the early setting sun,

I then settled into the bar at Homemade, as recommended by a few people I met during my adventure. The atmosphere was perfect- with couches lining the walls, candles and plants throughout, and the owner sitting with a few patrons during this late afternoon lull in the day, the restaurant feels more like a friend’s living room than a proper sit-down establishment… Just my kind of place!

The mushroom lasagna was absolutely heavenly! So delicious that I forgot to take a pic. Paired with a glass of earthy rose, I felt fortified to make the cold trip back home… Luckily I brought my bike lights!

I had a wonderful time in Red Hook and love the feeling of the hood – strong, crafty, sea loving, and changing. I will definitely be spending more time down there soon, and will definitely post more Brooklyn adventures soon too!

Post script: you can also get to Red Hook on the B61 bus from Atlantic Avenue.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    February 8, 2012 2:54 pm

    Gia! You are lovely, this was an adventure to read.

  2. March 2, 2012 7:40 am

    Thank you! Hope to see you soon at the studio!

  3. bellaumbrella permalink
    July 19, 2013 11:00 am

    This is such a beautiful post.

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