Like Andy Vernon-Jones says in his video, Red Hook is surrounded by water by three sides and is cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by a Highway. The city subway system doesn’t go to there. This isolation had caused its problems in the neighborhood but has also helped develop a unique, poetic character.
Red Hook Waterfront warehouses still make up much of the neighborhood. To the east lays one of Brooklyn’s largest public housing projects, the Red Hook Houses.
The Gowanus Canal borders Red Hook in the east. It has a rich history but was last dredged in 1955. The growth of containerization in the early 1960s meant the loss of many jobs and with the failure of the city sewage and pump station infrastructure along the canal, Gowanus was used as a dumping place for many years. In 1975, the City of New York established a Gowanus Industrial Renewal Plan for the area until the year 2011.
The once thriving industrial area is filled with repurposed remnants of Brooklyn’s history. Old stone factories have been converted into performance spaces and artist studios. Historic bridges combine the banks across the calm and smelly canal. Low real estate costs allow for gentrification so new cafes, restaurants and galleries can pop up all the time and make it into a cultural hot spot. It is a perfect place for a research in neighborhood development.