I am passionate about many things, as you probably can easily tell. One of my favorite passions is Brooklyn. I love this place! While I was once a skeptical Manhattanite that never wanted to have my address read anything but 'NY, NY'. I knew people that moved to this borough across the East River and they were so in love with it that it was nearly impossible to pry them out for an activity in Manhattan. Well, five years have past and I now officially understand (full disclosure, I learned a few months into it why it is so great). So, I am excited to introduce the first installment of 'R&I Loves Brooklyn' starting today with Redhook.
Redhook, Brooklyn is an interesting place. Why do you ask? Well, for starters, it doesn't really feel like it is just across the river from one of the largest cities in the world, Manhattan. One thing is for sure, you also can feel like it is on the cusp of a major change. Situated to to the south of Carroll Gardens, this up and coming neighborhood is a study in contrasts. It is the interesting mixture between old and new, abandoned and occupied. There are cobblestone streets that are filled with warehouses and the occasional pretty brownstone that seems oddly out of place. Some streets are so desolate it feels like you could be in the wild, wild west. Dogs love it here, well especially my dog, because she can run off leash, splash in the river and roll around in the grass.
The one factor that has kept Redhook quieter than other areas of Brooklyn that are rapidly developing is due to the lack of transportation. You kind of need a car if you like there, since there aren't any subways, just the bus. What I love about Redhook is the bit of raw grit mixed with a few precious gems, in the form of good restaurants or boutiques stocked with highly edited goods. Having visited the neighborhood many many times, these are the mainstays that I go back to again and again.
Looking to grab a nice cup of coffee in Brooklyn? Visit the R&I guide to the best coffee shops in Brooklyn
The R&I Guide to Restaurants/Coffee Shops:
Home/Made - 63 Commerce Street
This light-filled space is a must for brunch with a great egg dishes, referred to as 'scrambles'. This location is a diamond in the rough!
The Good Fork - 391 Van Brunt Street
One of the oldest restaurants in Redhook that is still very popular. Come for brunch or dinner.
Fort Defiance - 365 Van Brunt Street
Great for brunch or dinner, Fort Defiance is a restaurant on Van Brunt Street.
Court Street Grocers Hero Shop - 116 Sullivan Street
The Redhook outpost of this famed sandwich shop is smaller than most and serves up a different menu than the other locations. I recommend the Ollie sandwich.
Hometown Barbecue - 454 Van Brunt Street
Be prepared to wait in line if you arrive during prime eating hours, but it is worth it. My favorite is the turkey that has been smoked until it practically melts in your mouth. Also, the corn bread is to die for, thanks to the honey that is glazed over it.
Steve's Key Lime Pie - 185 Van Dyke Street
I hear that key lime pie lovers make pilgrimages to savor a bite from Steve's Key Lime pie, situated close to where the river meets the Manhattan harbor. With three pie sizes to choose from, bring one home and try their Key Lim Pie on a stick that is dipped in dark chocolate.
La Newyorkina - 61 Commerce Street
The Brooklyn outpost serving ice cold paletas that hit the spot on a hot day.
Baked - 353 Van Brunt Street
Famous for their cakes, whoopee pies and cookbooks, Baked is a must-stop to fulfill your sweet tooth. They also brew good coffee too, which is essential in my book.
The Black Flamingo - 281 Van Brunt Street
This coffee shop made it into the R&I guide to the top coffee shops in Brooklyn. The glossy black walls and beautiful seating makes you want to linger for hours.
The R&I Guide to Shops:
Foxy & Winston - 392 Van Brunt Street
A pretty shop stocked with paper, stationary and some great gifting ideas for littles ones to adults.
Wooden Sleepers - 416 Van Brunt Street
For the man in your life that loves vintage everything.
Saipua - 177 Dwight Street
For flower and soap lovers out there, Saipua is the dreamy place that you want to venture.
Pioneer Works - 159 Pioneer Street
A small shop packed with an edited selection of publications and books.
Photography by Alison