In Red Hook After Sandy

The most striking thing was the garbage. On Saturday, the curbs of Red Hook were lined with heaps of trash, like every basement had been turned out onto the street: shitty books, waterlogged luggage, cracked fish tanks, stacks of plywood. On one board on Dikeman Street, someone had spray painted “SANDY WAS AN INSIDE JOB.”

We wandered around offering assistance but were mostly turned away: lots of other people had the same idea, and plenty of those in homes and storefronts pumping out water and carrying out debris had a surfeit of helpers. The extent of the damage varied widely, almost arbitrarily: Fort Defiance was annihilated; it’ll be months, I heard, before it’s open again. A block away, up a slight incline on Van Brunt, Hope & Anchor seemed untouched; the menu was slightly limited.

One of the guys from the Waterfront Museum told us that, miraculously, it was fine; three of them stayed on board during the storm and watched the water rise calmly, like in a bath, before the winds came. Up the block, Sunny’s was closed, dealing with flooding. Outside, a group of young people drank beer from bottles and kept warm around tree limbs burning in a garbage can. Farther north, Bait & Tackle was ok; it was full of sandwiches and other relief supplies. The taps weren’t working, but they did healthy business off of bottled beer and straight liquor.

We stayed there until night, and discovered the power was still out in that part of Red Hook. A police car was parked on the corner, its lights flashing, while people walked around carrying flashlights. Several people, including some stationed on corners, wore helmets with lights attached, like miners. Street lights were bright on Van Brunt from Wolcott south, but a little ways east was different. Large lights on poles were stationed in front of the Red Hook Houses. In the liquor store on Lorraine, some kind of emergency lights were in use, flashing like strobes.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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  1. Red Hook is far more debased than your story tells. Bait & Tackle suffered huge damages, as has Ice House, Kevin’s, Home/Made, Ft.Defiance, Dry Dock and The Good Fork amongst many many others. Hope & Anchor had bad flooding in their basement, but luckily most of their equipment was ok, the same for Baked, and we really appreciate both of them opening their doors to create sanctuary for us while we begin to regroup and rebuild.
    If you’d like to support us in this effort, please go to:

    Thank you!!!!

  2. This article is all sorts of wrong. Did you bother to do any reporting? Seems to me like the writer of this piece just looked around for twelve minutes and made a half-assed assessment. Bait & Tackle, Ice House, Good Fork, Kevin’s, Home/Made, Dry Dock Wines and basically all businesses on Van Brunt St. took major damage, as well as the many basement and ground floor apartments in the area. The people outside Sunny’s were not “drinking beer and burning tree limbs”, you make that sound like a party was going on. The four or five of us outside in front of the the fire(not tree limbs) were Sunny’s staff and an owner attempting to keep warm after spending the entire day up to our knees in water which we were pumping out of the building. If you are going to report something in the future, it may help to ask a question or two, it might help give the reader some perspective on whats happening.

  3. also all that “healthy business” that Bait & Tackle was doing, it was pretty much getting friends in the ‘hood drunk, mostly for free.

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