red hook is a bit of a trek, especially without a car although the ikea bus and ferry service make things a little better, but there are definitely a few destinations worth visiting. if you’re already here you might as well spend a few hours. the highlights, at least for me, are the views off the piers looking toward the statue of liberty, the red hook pool and the red hook ball field vendors. this quirky little neighborhood, which still seems somewhat preserved with lots of low-rise buildings and cobbled streets as well as reconfigured warehouses, is very “new york” and great to walk around if you know where to go. in addition to the two big box draws of ikea and fairway, there are a few good restaurants and snacks as well as some fun shops to explore and as will become obvious, nearly all of these run down the happening strip of van brunt street.
baked: one of my very favorite bakeries in all of new york. i am especially fond of their cupcakes, their hostess cupakes and their sweet and salty brownies. they also carry some sandwiches from luscious food. 359 van brunt street between wolcott and dikeman streets, brooklyn, new york, 718.222.0345.
good fork: although i had heard of this place forever, i only recently went and was pleasantly surprised even though some of the reports in the last year had suggested some decline but since i had never been i couldn’t tell. amazing crisply fried onion rings, the really tasty “steak and eggs” korean style and and the fried oyster po’boy when we went. 391 van brunt street at coffey street, brooklyn, new york, 718.643.6636.
home/made: this is a cute, casual spot offering a heavy cheese menu (straight cheese, cheese sandwiches, fondue) and a nice selection of wine, beer and cider. definitely not a destination, but if you’re there and want a good place to relax, the atmosphere is so warm and friendly it’s hard to have a good time (just go light on that cheese). 393 van brunt street between pioneer and king streets, brooklyn, new york, 347.223.4135.
and just a few other mentions: kevin’s (a newly opened very affordable place for sunday brunch and dinner), 277a van brunt street between visitation and pioneer streets, 718.596.8335; steve’s authentic key lime pies, excellent pies obviously, 204 van brunt street between conover street and van brunt streets, 718.858.5333, fort defiance, currently cafe and about to become, maybe today, a restaurant and cocktail bar, which i am eager to try out, 365 van brunt street at dikeman street, 718.522.7996.
saipua: this is one of those places that keeps coming up on cherrypatter, but i just cannot help it. great soaps and flowers in an amazing little shop. they are just moving to new location so i haven’t gotten to check it out yet. 147 van dyke street at van brunt, brooklyn, new york, 718.624.2929.
erie basin: a beautiful antique jewelry store featuring 19th century and early 20th century works as well as more contemporary jewelers, and they also have a few select pieces of furniture too. 388 van brunt street at dikeman, brooklyn, new york, 718.554.6147.
liberty sunset garden center: a great garden center with a tremendous selection of whatever plants you might need if you have a garden inside or out in new york city. 204-207 van dyke street (at the most western edge of the street at pier 41, brooklyn, new york, 718.858.3400.
perch!: amy adams designs beautiful ceramic pieces including great modern-looking bird feeders, fun trays and napkin rings, and really great pot holders in beautiful nonearth colors. they have a teeny tiny spot right next to steve’s authentic key lime pies and the liberty sunset garden center.