|Lady Sunset, Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York|
New York City off the beaten path > RED HOOK
If I have to pick the very best moment out of my week in New York, it would be admiring the sunset from Red Hook pier with a full frontal view of Lady Liberty (which –I swear- is actually way closer than it seems from the picture… and I still don’t get why!).
Red Hook itself is the New York neighborhood I loved the most (well, it comes joint first with Bushwick, of course! ;-) ), with its relaxed attitude (the area is not even reachable by subway and thus the pace is way less hectic over here!) and its abandoned factories lightened by the sunlight coming from the open sea.
This working class area originally hosted one of the most important harbors in the country and all the related economy, slowly becoming a district of crime, drugs and homeless. Now it’s the lively, young neighborhood elected home by the artistic community, among which the founders of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. And it is also a great place for a rewarding graffiti hunting!
During the latest years, the slum has become a cultural neighborhood without a hint of gentrification and with a lot of post-industrial charm characterizing a romantic and decadent atmosphere.
Moreover, in Red Hook we had the best meal of the whole holiday at Brooklyn Crab, a very unique seafood restaurant that includes a playground area and several cocktail terraces, plus a bigger terrace on the top overlooking the most romantic skyline ever. The food was exceptional, but it’s Brooklyn Crab’s genuine atmosphere I miss the most; it’s rare to find places like that, especially in such a big city as New York.
New York City off the beaten path > CANARSIE
Still on the seaside, but at the opposite side of Brooklyn, there is Canarsie, a working class residential hood mostly inhabited by non-white people. We ended up in Canarsie by taking the wrong train to Rockaway beach, proving that -as always when travelling- it is by getting lost that you are going to discover the best spots. What I loved about Canarsie is that there I found all those little details I have always associated to the United Stated -such as the basket case in the yard or USA flags hanging outside the main door- and I couldn’t help feeling glad for being exploring a very authentic hood.
After a long walk we arrived at the Canarsie Pier, a fishing spot and recreational area (part of Gateway National Recreation Area) where locals come to fly a kite, play card games and have BBQs with neighbors. There was such a relaxed atmosphere over there!
New York City off the beaten path> ROCKAWAY BEACH (via BROAD CHANNEL)
The day after we took the right train until the last stop and then a train shuttle to Rockaway beach, the last outpost of New York ending straight into the Atlantic Ocean.
The ride itself was very interesting because as we were going forward we could observe New York changing, becoming always more raw and authentic, while the buildings became shorter and more spaced apart; we even spotted some stilts!
Before taking the shuttle, we had a quick tour of Broad Channel ‘cause I was really fascinated by that kind of small houses which sounded so American to me; the streets were empty and all we could hear was a television noise coming from a terraced house; it was quite poetic in its way, with cherry-trees blooming and all…
Once we arrived to Rockaway beach we went straight to the Ocean, but we didn’t last long at the beach ‘cause it was a very windy evening; I would love to experience it on a sunny summer day!
Rockaway beach is another authentic hood with several impressive mansions and many American flags all around, a beautiful beach and a great view of Manhattan’s skyline from far away.
It is actually part of the Queens borough, even if it is a quite detached area.
Businesses in the area include a car wash, a mattress shop and all those retailers we, foreigners, are used to associate with American suburbs; that’s why I loved this area so much, besides of course the fact that it seems as if time, in Rockaway, has stopped.
New York City off the beaten path > WINDSOR TERRACE
Windsor Terrace is a small area near Prospect Park. Besides walking by a garage sale (how American is that?!?), while wandering around Windsor Terrace I was amazed by the uniqueness of its houses, all so nice and peculiar.
New York City off the beaten path > GOWANUS
Let’s say this is an area full of potential, even if the Gowanus Canal surely already did a long way from its past as a mafia dumping ground!
The Gowanus area has been an active centre of industrial and shipping activity since the 1860s, with many bad consequences concerning pollution; in 2009 some major clean-up works have started, but both the area and the water are still very polluted.
There is still not so much to do around here besides following the Gowanus Canal until the harbor in Red Hook, admiring –along the way- abandoned factories, rusty bridges, the overpass and many decadent buildings: the post-industrial charm is the only thing that isn’t missing in Gowanus!
And now, I want to hear from you, New Yorkers and New York lovers:
what are the most unusual, unconventional and unexpected areas of New York?
You can hover over these (or any image) to quickly pin it!
////////// MORE ABOUT //////////