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BROOKLYN 102 structures and phenomena of Red Hook


Eva De FrĂŠ Dieter Leyssen Miguel Van Steenbrugge


Tom Thys Ward Verbakel


2012 Copyright by KU Leuven

Without written permission of the promoters and the authors it is forbidden to reproduce or adapt in any form or by any means any part of this publication. Requests for obtaining the right to reproduce or utilize parts of this publication should be addressed to KU Leuven, Faculty of Engineering - Kasteelpark Arenberg 1, B-3001 Heverlee (Belgium). Telephone +32-16-32 13 50 & Fax. +32-16-32 19 88. A written permission of the promotor is also required to use the methods, products, schematics and programs described in this work for industrial or commercial use, and for submitting this publication in scientific contests. All images in this booklet are, unless credits are given, made or drawn by the authors (Studio Brooklyn).

BROOKLYN 102 structures and phenomena of Red Hook

BROOKLYN 102: Structures and Phenomena of Red Hook is a sequel to BROOKLYN 101: Five Chapters on a City Life, which is produced as part of the Studio Brooklyn Graduation Projects. Studio Brooklyn is formed by 13 students of the Catholic University of Leuven, that perform ‘a research by design’ to address the different aspects of the urban and architectural conditions of the 21th century Brooklyn. In Five Chapters on a City Life, Brooklyn is analyzed as a whole, with a focus on a strip, called ‘from old port to airport’. The strip is home to three interesting neighborhoods, namely Red Hook, Crown Heights and East New York. We chose Red Hook for its mixed-use character, vibrant community life, and its exiting potentials for an unknown future. This book is a study of the neighborhood’s structures and phenomena. We would like to thank all people that made this analysis possible: Tom Thys and Ward Verbakel, our promoters; the Catholic University of Leuven; Columbia University and in particular Richard Plunz, for its lecture at the Leuven-based studio; NYIT and in particular Giovanni Santamaria, for the guided tour in Red Hook; Justin Moore, from the New York City Department of City Planning, for the introduction on zoning and planning, Nina Rappaport, for her vision on mixed-use neighborhood planning, and the Red Hook residents.



BROOKLYN 102: Structures and Phenomena on Red Hook is comprised of three chapters, that contain our urban analyses and site observations. The first chapter reflects on the rich history of Red Hook, beginning with the colonization of the Dutch Settlers in 1600, over the thriving port activities in the 19th century, to its current situation. The second chapter , called ‘Structures’, elaborates on the current situation and studies the existing infrastructure, the zoning and land use regulations and the morphological and typological patrimony of Red Hook. Out of our readings of the urban tissue, we were able to distillate 5 phenomena in the third chapter, that characterize Red Hook and its present transformations. The first is the decline of the industrial waterfront and the current tendencies to its recreational reconversion. Secondly, we observed the isolation of Red Hook from the rest of South Brooklyn and the establishment of the Red Hook Houses as a geographical enclave. The advent of gentrification is a third phenomena, which we clarify through designating initiators and resistors of gentrification. Fourthly, we recognize the unusual social networks between low-income residents and gentrifiers as viable for the Red Hook community. Finally the mixed-used character is investigated through different compositions of land uses. We conclude this book with the presentation of the two Graduation Design Projects, that build upon this analysis.



1. History 2. Structures Infrastructure Zoning & Land Use Morphology & Typology 3. Phenomena Waterfront From active to non-active waterfront Waterfront Destinations Industrial Potential Connectivity Isolation Isolation on a Macro Scale Isolation on a Micro Scale Gentrification Social Implications Resistors and initiators Networks Community-based networks Community organizations Mixed-use 4. Proposals Keeping the fence Community Empowerment Center

11 27 29 31 32 39 40 41 41 42 43 54 55 57 60 61 62 66 67 71 74 79 81 83

table of contents




Red Hook 1636



Traces of the Past

1841 - 1864 Atlantic Basin

1847 Grid

Red Hook’s instantly noticeable ‘Hook’ might suggest where the neighborhood got its name from. But in fact, the name is derived from the words ‘Roode Hoek’ or Red ‘Corner’, given by the Dutch settlers in the 17th century. It referred to the red appearance of the clay soil and the peninsular shape of the area pointing into the Hudson Bay. Because of this particular shape, residents still refer to their neighborhood as ‘The Point’. At the beginning of the settlement period, most of the area was covered with marshlands and little creeks. Despite the ‘tip’ pointing outwards, the area showed little resemblance with the Red Hook we see today. The Dutch transformed the landscape in the 18th and 19th century for cultivation and farming, adding ponds and mills. The low-lying open fields of Red Hook were chosen as the location of an important stronghold during the Revolutionary War against the British Army. At the end of the 18th century construction began of Fort Defiance. Together with other fortifications on Governor’s Island, the Revolutionaries defended the larger New York area against the British Army during the Battle of Brooklyn but were eventually forced to retreat to Manhattan. At the beginning of the 19th century, Red Hook started gaining importance for harbor activities because of its close vicinity to Manhattan’s docks. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the connection to the Great Lakes accelerated land speculation in the area for harbor development. In 1840, Brooklyn developer Daniel Richards, got the approval of the New York State Legislature to build a large shipping basin in Red Hook, facing Governor’s Island. The land that was dredged in order to build the basin, was used to fill up the surrounding marshlands. The basin sparked further development in the area thanks to the flourishing grain business in Brooklyn, with bulks being processed and shipped through the Erie Canal. Richards helped the implementation of the Brooklyn street grid in order to improve the connectivity of the basin. The City of Brooklyn already mapped out a street grid in 1839 but it was not until 1847 that South Brooklyn and Red Hook were connected. To do so, the Dutch ponds were filled up and low-lying areas were flattened. The neighborhood of Red Hook now became a part of the City of Brooklyn.


Marshlands & Creeks Anno 1766

Fort Defiance Anno 1776


Atlantic Basin Late 19th Century

The Grid Anno 1838


1866 - 1874 Erie Basin & Commercial Development



1900 - ...


Another important developer by the name of William Beard was inspired by the success of Daniel Richards and the Atlantic Basin. In the 1850s he had acquired a large amount of former farmland on the Southern part of Red Hook and construction began on what would become the largest man made harbor on the East coast. The Erie Basin became very popular in the Brooklyn grain business as well for ship repair. To this day, the basin is one of Red Hook’s most important pieces of old port infrastructure that remains. During the Civil War, Red Hook played an important role for the Union army in the region. A great number of warehouses were commissioned to be built along Brooklyn’s waterfront, so many that the City became known as ‘the Walled City’. Along with this increasing port activity, the Red Hook’s working class population grew. This resulted in commercial and residential developments to support the workforce. The large number of warehouses remained characterizing Red Hook’s waterfront for the next century and the created job base defined it as a bustling working and living neighborhood. At the turn of the 20th century, the thriving port industries in Red Hook, and Brooklyn as well, began to decrease. The construction efforts undertaken during the Civil War would never be matched again, although ship building and repair at Erie Basin remained important, especially during the two World Wars. Yet, the grain business of the 19th century left the region together with the early grain elevators resulting in disuse of warehouses. Many of the old brick warehouses were converted for other purposes and several new concrete storehouses were built on Imlay Street to support cargo and stevedoring businesses. In order to revive the grain trade through Red Hook, the New York Dock Company built a large grain terminal at the edge of Erie basin in 1922. Despite the astounding feat of engineering, the attempt to boost the grain trade proved unsuccessful. The high degree of other industrialization led to the decrease of property values in the residential areas and diminished the construction of new housing after 1915. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, the absence of building stock and uncertain employment gave rise to phenomena such as a ‘Hooverville’, a slum in the middle of a vacant lot next to the grain terminal.


Warehouses & Grain Elevators in Red Hook Anno 1880

Erie Basin at its Peak


Red Hook Grain Terminal




1950 - ...


1990 - 2000 ...

2000 - ...

After the Great Depression, the City of New York commissioned the rehabilitation of the former Hooverville site to provide green space for the families of dockworkers in the neighborhood. On August 12 1936 the Red Hook Recreational Park was inaugurated by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia. The design of the 235.000m2 park was laid out by landscape designer Gilmore D. Clarke under the supervision of the well-known Robert Moses.1 The latter was also deeply involved in the building of the Red Hook Houses in 1938, at that time one of the largest public housing projects in New York City. Originally built for the dockworkers, longshoremen and their families, the project housed about 11.000 people at its highest occupancy. In the 1940s it was also the work of Robert Moses to construct the Gowanus Expressway, an elevated highway that begins in the South of Brooklyn and runs along Sunset Park and Red Hook towards Downtown Brooklyn. This immense infrastructure isolated the neighborhood of Red Hook physically from the rest of Brooklyn, cancelling out the uniform street grid of Daniel Richards. When the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was constructed in the 1950s, the expressway was extended northwest to serve the new connection with Manhattan, even further isolating Red Hook from Brooklyn. The decline of old port activities after the Great Depression and the beginning of containerization in the early 1960s left out the need for small ports as modern container terminals of New Jersey’s port drew in the majority of cargo vessels. This gave rise to high unemployment in the area and transformed a vibrant community into a though crime plagued neighborhood. It was not until the early 1990s that efforts were made to improve quality of life and deal with the social isolation with greater Brooklyn. The abandonment of the working waterfront also sparked several reconversions into parks such as the Louis Valentino Jr. Park in 2003, to reconnect the neighborhood with its port heritage. But market speculation also plays a role in recent transformations of the neighborhood. In 2004, a zoning law exception was approved for an IKEA big-box store on the Erie Basin, at the former Robins Dry Dock. Ironically, this ‘unfitting’ development attracts thousands of Brooklynites and Manhattanites to Red Hook weekly.


Red Hook Recreational Park

Brooklyn Battery Tunnel “Holing Through”


Louis Valentino Jr. Park

IKEA Store


The Historic Footprint 1800 - 1824 1825 - 1849 1850 - 1874 1875 - 1899 1900 - 1924 1925 - 1949 1950 - 1974 1975 - 1999 2000 - 2012 Unknown Basin Park


Atlantic Basin

tt Ba ery n Tu lE

ne ce


ntr res





Go ay


Coffey Park

Recreational Park

Erie Basin


infrastructure ZONING & LAND USE morphology & typology



Infrastructure Red Hook is a neighborhood, located in Community Board 6 and covering 1116 square miles of the Brooklyn borough. The area houses 11.319 residents, according to the 2010 Census Data. The mixed-use corner of South Brooklyn is located opposite Lower Manhattan’s financial district and is the only part of New York City that has a frontal view on the Statue of Liberty.1 In the 1930s, Robert Moses constructed the Gowanus Parkway through Red Hook, as part of the Belt Parkway that enclosed Brooklyn and Queens. The Belt Parkway was designed to provide a better connection with Manhattan and was in line with the Triborough Bridge. The Gowanus Parkway was built as an elevated structure above Hamilton Ave to avoid the active docks and industrial area of Red Hook.2 In the 1950s the parkway had to be reconstructed as an expressway, in order to connect to the newly built Brooklyn Battery Tunnel that provided a new link to Manhattan. The Gowanus Expressway cut off Red Hook from the rest of South Brooklyn. The area is almost inaccessible by mass transit, behind the expressway. The only subway lines that come near the Red Hook neighborhood are the F and G line. The G line is the only subway line that connects neighborhoods outside the Manhattan core, namely Brooklyn and Queens, and the link has poor and infrequent service.3 The closest subway stops are at either Carroll Street or Smith-Ninth Street’s stations.4 The residents of Red Hook mostly depend on their car or on the B61 bus service that runs all the way to Downtown Brooklyn.

Gowanus Expressway & Elevated Railroad

Inaccessible Waterfront

Red Hook is bounded by water on three sides and therefore known as a former New York City port site. Due to its location at the mouth of the Hudson River, it became a strategic place for the Dutch to start colonizing the Brooklyn area in the 1600s. In the 19th century, the waterfront became the ideal destination for industrial port activity, housing large grain terminals, shipping wharfs and dry docks. After the port operations were shipped off to New Jersey, the waterfront of Red Hook was left with large parts of vacant land and desolate buildings. Today only a few companies are still active here. The waterfront industries are enclosed by the Gowanus Canal and an almost continuous fence that separates the waterfront from the urban tissue Green Interventions


of Red Hook. Residents tend to complain about insufficient waterfront access. The neighborhood is home to a few large parks, such as Coffey Park and the Red Hook Recreational Fields that structure the urban fabric. Coffey Park, for example, is located at the intersection between the two orientations of the Red Hook grid. The Recreational Fields separate the Red Hook Houses from the waterfront. The latter are known for the big football matches played there, and the large outside swimming pool. The park system also consists of a few smaller parks, such as the Louis Valentino Jr. Park at the waterfront. It is one of the few places where the waterfront is accessible. Under the Gowanus Expressway

Fenced Barrier

IKEA Waterfront Park


Zoning 1916

Zoning 1961


Zoning & Land Use

Zoning 2011

Land Use 2011

Business Industrial & Manufacturing Commercial Residential & Commercial Residential Public Facilities Park & Recreation Vacant Parking Unrestricted

Since New York City’s first zoning law in 1911 Red Hook is structured in terms of regulations and policy. In the first zoning law, the greater part of Red Hook is zoned as unrestricted except for two business strips, embracing a residential core. This unrestricted zoning reflects the way this zoning law was developed, focusing on Manhattan, ‘where the stakes in the land were the highest.’1 The mixed use that characterizes the area until today is a direct result of this zoning law, allowing industrial development next to residential and commercial uses. In 1961 a new zoning law was conceived since grounds in Manhattan were scarce and building activity moved increasingly to the other boroughs. With this new zoning law, the City promoted the building activity and attracted the real estate market in these boroughs. Optimism concerning industrial activity in the borough of Brooklyn is resembled in this zoning law. In Red Hook, the complete waterfront is zoned industrial and manufacturing and the residential core from the zoning law of 1916 is enlarged towards the waterfront. Recently, all amendments on the zoning law 1961 where synthesized in the zoning law of 2011. Additionally, various areas where rezoned, favoring new development. This rezoning happened mainly in transit-oriented neighborhoods or in area’s near the Hudson waterfront. The flexibility by which areas are rezoned in the zoning law of 2011, favoring private development, predict the possibility for the rezoning of Red Hook’s industrial zones into more profitable land uses. Since the 1990s, the department of city planning designated mixed use districts, of which one is located near the waterfront of red hook. The former industrial site houses now a big box warehouse and an artist colony. Between the heavy industries and the residential district, a light manufacturing offers a gradual transition. In addition, a commercial overlay is laid on the residential area to create a buffer for noise pollution. Despite the regulations of the zoning laws of 1961 and 2011, red hook’s tissue remains hybrid. The land use better reflects the specific condition of the neighborhood that differs from the near residential neighborhoods by its distinct mixed use.


Brick Storehouse

Big-Box Store


The Waterfront Morphology Storehouse Red Hook’s bustling port activities of the 19th century demanded specialised buildings that were suitable for various purposes of which storage was one of the most important ones. At its peak, during the Civil War, Red Hook’s waterfront was defined by an almost continuous wall of brick storehouses, designed for storing and processing large amounts of grain. These storehouses occupied a waterfront strip for direct loading and unloading of grain barges using wooden grain elevators (see also: Chapter History). It is one of these former storehouses that is now occupied by the popular Manhattan supermarket chain Fairway. Corrugated Warehouse

Brick Warehouse

Warehouse Besides the storehouses, there were other brick structures of the old port that still remain on Red Hook’s waterfront. The large, low-level warehouses were also used for storage and processing of grain but their size required the transformation of the shoreline with new piers. After most of the warehouses and storehouses were demolished in the early 20th century, the waterfront strip is now defined by free-standing brick structures that structure the open terrain in between. Pier 41 is one of these warehouses that is still being used today, albeit for other purposes. Corrugated Warehouse Although a large quantity of the old brick structures have been demolished, there were also new buildings added to the waterfront strip made in corrugated steel plates. They resemble the scale of the old brick warehouses, especially around Atlantic Basin. Big-Box Store When the IKEA store was approved in 2004, a large portion at Erie Basin was transformed from a dry dock with several storehouses to a waterfront park with a big-box store that appears similar in scale to the old warehouses. This store forms the second modern addition to the former port waterfront.


Public Housing: Tower in the Park

Old Row House



The Grid Morphology In the 1830s, City planners provided the urban tissue with a structuring system of orthogonal streets and blocks that connected the neighborhood to South Brooklyn. The regularity of the orthogonal streets allowed for quick development on a large scale. The size of the block is more or less uniform in Red Hook, with exceptions at the intersection of different orientations of street grids, where trapezoid and triangular shapes can be found. When we look at the scale of a block, the regularity and uniformity of the grid is opposed with a high level of diversity between blocks that corresponds to the different residential or commercial areas of Red Hook, or that relate to the neighborhood’s past as an active port. Vacant Lot

Old Row House Along Van Brunt and Coffey Streets there are remnants of old one-family row houses (this can be seen on the historic footprint in the previous chapter) and small shops that originated there at the end of the 19th century to support a growing population. Tower in the Park This housing project of the 1930s spans several blocks and houses over 3000 residents in more than 20 towers with green space in between. They are the highest residential structures in Red Hook and the immediate vicinity. Because the towers are clustered together, they contrast strongly with the surrounding low-rise blocks.


Storehouse The need for storage space required the construction of storehouses that were adapted to the scale of a block, often built near the waterfront but sometimes in between a residential area Workshop These can be found in the northern part of the neighborhood near the Expressway and are mostly low-rise and deep buildings suitable for car repair industry. Vacant Lot Not all blocks are fully built up. Open lots appear throughout the neighborhood and are used for all sorts of purposes such as farming, storage and parking.


Structures Synthesis Storehouse Brick Warehouse Public Housing Big-Box Store Corrugated Warehouse Park Old Row House Workshop


wa y

re ss

sE xp

Go wa nu

l Fie lds








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Bro o


Rec reat

klyn Brid g

B klyn

eP ark


FG in







waterfront isolation gentrification networks living & working

3. phenomena



“The Walled City”

Working Waterfront Today

Erie Basin Benches


From an Active to a Non-active Port

Red Hook Stores Before Reconversion Anno 2005

Red Hook Graving Dock Before Displacement Anno 2005

The active port of Red Hook that made the neighborhood flourish in the 19th century declined gradually in the 20th century. Despite some large scale industrial development in the first half of the century, such as replacing the old Grain elevators by a new grain terminal, the decrease in port-activity could not be stopped. In the 1950’s, the global trend of containerization hit ‘the walled city’ notably hard and a great part of the port activity in New York’s Upper Bay shifted to the modernized New Jersey side of the bay. Red Hook’s wharfs, once the location of multiple intensively used brick store- and warehouses, where left abandoned and only a few industries remained. A large part of the old wharfs and other port infrastructures remained but were continuously threatened by conversion into new devices for private development and the City of New York. In the 1980s plans where conceived to transform Erie Basin into a major waste plant and more recently, IKEA overbuild an active shipyard that used to repair large shipping vessels until 2005. Another way of transforming the industrial waterfront is to be found in the reconversion of the industrial patrimony. The old brick storeand warehouses turned out to be an attractive typology for artists looking for big, airy spaces for their ateliers. This phenomena meets Jane Jacob’s principles that old buildings with low rents will act as ‘incubators for new activities.’1 The reconversion of Red Hook Stores, a storehouse from the 1860s, into a branch of Fairway, a popular Manhattan Chain, combined with artist studios, is part of this trend. Today, the waterfront is characterized by a mix of wastelands, active heavy industry sites and both abandoned and reconverted industrial heritage.

Waterfront Destinations Regardless the industrial zoning and the continuous fence that are ought to safeguard the industrial use of the waterfront, certain ‘waterfront destinations’ can be defined that are in conflict with this zoning and create accessible spots near the waterfront. With the relentless demolishment and reconversion of industrial infrastructures into public functions such as parks, retail and residences, the remaining industries came face to face with Pier 41 Waterfront Park


new types of uses. The first development that injected public accessibility into the industrial waterfront was the construction of the pedestrian promenade on the Colombia Street Pier on the Erie Bass in 1994. Also the creation of Louis Valentino Jr. Park in 1996 played a pioneering role in the change of use of the waterfront. The summerfestival held in this park attracts hundreds of visitors to the water’s edge every year. In the same trend of providing green recreational space on the waterfront, the development of Pier 41 is to be found. This green walkway is a popular destination for the residents of Red Hook en serves as a pedestrian access to the adjunct located Fairway building. This supermarket represents together with IKEA the arrival of retail on the waterfront. They attract costumers from all over the city. IKEA enhanced the accessibility to its site, not only by renewing the near streets, but also by arranging both a bus and water taxiservice that carries its costumers to the store. The new transit is, however, mostly used by IKEA-clients and not by Red Hook residents. As a ‘sweetener’ for the environmental claims about traffic overload, IKEA’s wide-spread parking is surrounded by a green waterfront esplanade, the latest waterfront reconversion into park until now.2 Although certain dominant trends can be recognized (park en retail), the development of the publicly accessible ‘destinations’ does not dominate the waterfront (yet). The fence that protects the industrial activity remains but gets penetrated on specific places by new types of use. Due to these penetrations, the waterfront becomes more fragmented, resulting in a mix of uses and typologies that benefit their location in their own specific way.

Industrial Potential The creation of public accessible waterfront spots meets the trend of recreational development at the waterfront that approaches Red Hook from the north with the continuation of Brooklyn Bridge park. However, this kind of waterfront rehabilitation often goes hand in hand with private development of luxury apartments and gentrification that result in rising real estate prices and ultimately the replacement of the original communities. This


Louis Valentino Jr. Park

Fairway Supermarket

Industrial Business Zone

IKEA Big-Box Store

scenario fits the neo-liberal policy of NYC and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an enthusiastic proponent of the free market, that tends to prefer economical interesting developments in favor of the private sector. Red Hook, with it’s good view on Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, is a specifically vulnerable spot for high-rise residential development. However, on long term, the increasing departure of industries out of the city of New York may turn out to be economically detrimental and sites such as Red Hook, with its original industrial infrastructure, have all the potencies for remaining successful locations and even attract new industries. Lately the mayors office tends to acknowledge the importance of industries for the city, as in 2005 they presented the policy ‘Protecting and Growing New York City’s Industrial Job Base’ to ‘support industrial employees, companies and the sector as a whole.’3 In this policy, the city introduces the initiatives that provide industrial players certain incentives and improve the supportive services for all businesses. Therefore, the policy involves multiple departments, among which the Department of City Planning (DCP), the New York City Economical Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Department of Small Businesses Services (SBS) play a leading role. Red Hook is indicated in this policy as an Industrial Business Zone (IBZ). Businesses and industries located in, or planning to relocate towards an IBZ, can profit a range of incentives and tax breaks and the supportive services of a proposed ‘Business Solutions Centers’ located in every IBZ. Additionally, an ‘Industrial Ombustman Area’ is defined near the Red Hook IBZ. In these zones, the combination of industries and residential land use, presents ‘unique challenges to industrial businesses and their neighborhoods.’4 ‘The new Business Solution Centers will provide an “on the ground” ombudsman to assist the local businesses as necessary.’ 5 At last, the mayor’s office guarantees not to rezone industrial zones into residential in these IBZ’s and will ‘take strong measures to discourage’ the destruction or reconversion of industrial space. This industrial-friendly policy reveals a certain concern of the city with its industrial future. However the objectives in the policy remain contradictory to the ongoing


trend of the destruction and reconversion that is taking place in various industrial zoned waterfronts such as Williamsburg and Red Hook. Little of the objectives of the industrial policy is clearly visible in Red Hook but it’s designation as an IBZ possibly protected the

Connectivity In the Industrial policy of the Mayor’s Office, the importance of the infrastructure, connecting the IBZ’s with each other and with the rest of the region is stressed frequently. One of the objectives is to ‘improve transportation access for goods and employees.’ Today, the industries of red hook can directly profit access to trucking and shipping routes. But since the modernized infrastructure of New Jersey’s port receives the most of the containership traffic in the New York Upper Bay, the major part of Red Hook’s companies uses trucks for the supply and discharge of their goods, except for one working container ship terminal in the north. This dependence on truck traffic is also due to the lacking of a railway connection between the New Jersey- and the New York-side of the bay. Today, the goods arriving in New Jersey port and destined for New York state must go north by train to Albany, ‘cross a bridge over the Hudson and than go south.’ Due to the railway’s detour, today the city of New York is ‘choked by truck traffic’ and suffers its pollution.6 A freight tunnel for train traffic, constructing a new connection between New Jersey and New York was proposed in 1990s by the Rudy Giuliano administration but was never approved.7 An alternative for this tunnel is the freight rail car-float in Sunset Park, near Red Hook, that was renewed in 1999 and makes the connection with a freight yard in New Jersey’s port. However, the service has never been used because of disputes between the different stakeholders and until now, despite the existing railway infrastructure, the predominant mode of freight transport in and towards the Brooklyn’s waterfront remains truck traffic. Another evolution in the freight traffic network of the region that could largely affect Red Hook can be found in the transportation of goods by cargo vessels. In the wake of the recent melting of the north pole ice caps,


Truck Traffic on Van Brunt

Cross-Harbor Rail Freight

Eastern Arctic Shipping Route

two new arctic shipping routes opened the possibility for new global shipping routes. Before, seafaring via the north pole was merely possible a few months per year and the two passages where never simultaneously open. The shipping routes could be shortened in comparison with the current traffic through the Panama and Suez Canal. Once the arctic shipping routes are used more intensively, this will influence the sea ports on the east coast of the United States. Virginia will most probably gain in importance, receiving global cargo vessels. From Virginia, the goods are ought to be distributed by smaller vessels to feeder ports, a function which can suit New York harbor. The New York Side of the Upper Bay has the ideal location for receiving these smaller cargo vessels, thanks to its direct connection with the inland state and position at the mouth of the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal is the historic connection between New York port and the inland ports at great lakes. In this presupposition, Red Hook will regain its port activities. Thanks to Red Hook’s remaining port infrastructure that could be modernized and the natural depth of the bay near Red Hook, the accessibility for small cargo vessels can be more easily provided than at other places on New York’s waterfront.8

Western Arctic Shipping Route


Dover S

New York



Yucatan Channel Windward Passage

Mona Passage

Panama Canal

Magallan Passage



Bosphorus Magallan Passage

Suez Canal

Strait of Hormuz

Taiwan Strait Luzon Strait

Bab el-Mandab

Strait of Malacca Makessar

Sunda Lombok Torres

The World’s Major Shipping Routes Primary Routes Secondary Routes New Routes





Lake Erie



Hudson River



The World’s Major Shipping Routes Truck Routes Feasible Canal Route Feeder Port Inland Port World Port

Hudson Bay IBZ’s & Connections Industrial Business Zone Ombudsman Area Primary Rail Road Secondary Rail Road Cross-Harbor Rail Freight Port Terminal

Waterfront Destinations 52


Gowanus Expressway & Elevated Railroad

Red Hook - South of the Expressway


Isolation on a Macro Scale

Bordering Gowanus Expressway

Red Hook was once one of Brooklyn’s poorest crime-ridden communities, especially after the New York Port Authority displaced the majority of its Red Hook based port activities to the more modern New Jersey container terminals, leaving a large part of the area in a desolate state and prevailing employment among the majority of the residents. The neighborhood was unpopular due to its location in the corner of the Brooklyn outer borough and because of its poor and colored residents. Therefore the accessibility of the neighborhood of Red Hook was not considered a priority by the City of New York. The closest subway stops can be found at either Carroll Street or Smith-Ninth Street stations, which is about a 20 minutes walk from ‘downtown’ Red Hook.1 In addition, the Red Hook peninsula was cut off from the rest of South Brooklyn by a Robert Moses elevated expressway that was constructed in the 1940s en 1950s.2 The neighborhood is still to this day considered an isolated area, even by it own residents.3 The crossing highways in the North make the entrance to the neighborhood difficult on foot or by car. To go to the nearest subway stop residents have to take the bus or walk across the six-lane Hamilton Avenue, underneath the elevated expressway and then walk three blocks through a predominantly Italian neighborhood that many members of Red Hook’s Black and Hispanic majority view as hostile territory.4

Carroll Gardens - North of the Expressway

In addition to the expressway the area is surrounded by water on three sides. People don’t pass Red Hook to go anywhere. As a result of its isolation, it had been bypassed by the global marketplace and the gentrification wave, which raged through nearby Carroll Gardens and Park Slope in the 1960s.5 This is resembled in the different morphological and typological evolution of the two neighborhoods. Carroll Gardens was, before the construction of the expressway, considered part of Red Hook. Although, due to gentrification, it has transformed from a mixed-use neighborhood into a mostly residential area with middleclass Brownstone development. Red Hook, however, retained its diverse character, working-class and waterfront ambiance and it has only recently begun to feel the effects of gentrification.6


Black Population - Census 2010

Hispanic Population - Census 2010

White Population - Census 2010


Isolation on a Micro Scale Since the thriving industrial activities of Red Hook, which begun in the 19th century, the area is characterized by working-class residents. ‘In the mid 1900s the neighborhood predominantly housed Italians and remnants of older Irish and Scandinavian communities, and the first Puerto Rican enclave. These groups shared a dependence on the waterfront industries.’7 In the 1930s, Robert Moses constructed the Red Hook Houses, the largest public housing project in Brooklyn, to house the neighborhood’s dockworkers. Due to the relocation of the port activities to New Jersey, many of the blue-collar workers became unemployed and depended on public welfare and housing. The decline of the economic development and the poor and colored population of Red Hook caused a considerable housing abandonment and ‘white flight’. The population fell from more than 22 000 in 1950 to 11319 in 2010.8 Currently, approximately 70% of the Red Hook residents live in public housing.9

Family Size - Census 2010

About half of the residents of the Red Hook Houses live below poverty level. The project is geographically and demographically isolated from the rest of Red Hook and a section of the neighborhood, called ‘the Back’. Although a part of the Back is also poor, a number of relatively prosperous working-class families and a handful of middle-class pioneers10, who have arrived in the late 1980s or with the recent wave of gentrification, have come to house in this part of Red Hook. The Back consists of a small group of homeowners and shop owners and a larger group of renters and has a wider range of incomes, providing a contrast to the population of the Red Hook Houses.

Household Income - Census 2010

2,25 - 2,5 Persons 2 - 2,25 Persons 40 - 60%

1,75 - 2 Persons

< 20%

< 25.000$

40 - 60%

25.000 - 45.000$

20 - 40%

45.000 - 65.000$

40 - 60 %

65.000 - 85.000$

< 20%

> 105.000$

The morphological and typological status of the public housing project, doesn’t offer much possibilities for future change. The opposite is true for rest of Red Hook with its historical industrial buildings and vacant land, which recently again began to feel the effects of gentrification. The location of the low-income Red Hook residents and the middle-class population could be compared to the difference in grid orientation. Gentrifiers tend to live in the western grid, near Van Brunt Street. The lower social classes house mostly in the eastern grid. The Red Hook Houses form ‘an isolation in isolation’.


Double Isolation 58

Accessibility of Downtown



Iso of k






in is





Change in Population since 2000

Change in Vacanct Housing Units since 2000


The Social Implication In the 1940s, a wave of gentrification arrived in Brooklyn starting in Brooklyn Heights1 and subsequently heading towards multiple neighborhoods near the Hudson waterfront such as Fort Greene, Cobble Hill and Park Slope in the 1960s and 1970s. Carroll Gardens, the neighborhood adjacent to Red Hook was the last of the chain of neighborhoods where the original inhabitants got progressively replaced by a new, more wealthy residents. Red Hook itself was not affected by this process, mainly due to the bad living conditions that characterized the neighborhood at that time and the isolation from the transit system.

Dominant Ethnic & Racial Groups Anno 2000

Dominant Ethnic Groups Anno 2010

> 20% increase 10 - 20% increase 0 - 10% decrease 20 - 40% increase 20 - 40% decrease > 40% decrease Black Hispanic White

In the late 1980s, the process of gentrification expanded beyond the quarters with appealing brownstones and excellent transportation access, into those with ‘considerably less desirable housing, challenging transportation connections and few amenities.’2 Red Hook was one of those neighborhoods and it experienced a slight influx of new residents, many of them artists or young professionals. They got attracted by the high vacancy rate and cheap real estate prices that offered the potential for an ‘alternative’ lifestyle.3 This first wave of gentrification in Red Hook affected especially the area near Van Brunt Street and some of the industrial patrimony near the waterfront.4 The influx of a more wealthy middle class population enforced the opposition between the poor population of the Red Hook Houses and the traditionally rather wealthy working class population of ‘the Back’.5 A second wave of gentrification took place in the beginning of the 21st century. Although the process was slowed down by the foreclosure crisis in 2008 and various gentrifying businesses such as galleries and restaurants faced bankruptcy, the population shifted in this period from a Hispanic towards a White majority. The reconversion of some warehouses into artist lofts and some new residential development resulted in a slight decrease in vacancy near Van Brunt street and an increase in population. In the Red Hook houses the living conditions were improved and the New York city housing authority tackled the problem of overpopulation, resulting in a decrease of population.


Resistors & Initiators The factors that influenced the process of gentrification in Red Hook can be identified in a group of resistors, factors that retain or delay the process, and initiators, factors that attract gentrifiers to the area. Proximity of Manhattan Traditionally, gentrifiers have a job and a network in Manhattan, as the intellectual ‘pioneer’s’ in Brooklyn Heights did in the 1940s.6 Today, gentrifiers are less depended of Manhattan-based activities and tend to create their own networks in Brooklyn. However, the impressive view on manhattans skyline makes Red Hook a vulnerable spot for gentrifying luxury waterfront development. Industrial Patrimony The big airy spaces of the many old or vacant industrial ware- and storehouses made Red Hook an attractive area for artist searching for cheap live- and workspaces. However, these reconverted lofts evaluate often from housing for ‘artists ‘living poor’ outside the mainstream of society, into luxury housing for urbane ‘artistic’ bourgeouisie.’7 Such an evolution is taking place in the Former Red Hook Stores, now housing a branch of the Fairway-chain and artist lofts Arrival of Brooklyn Bridge Park The current trend of waterfront development into recreational parks approaches Red Hook from the north edge of the waterfront. This kind of development often goes hand in hand with private development of luxury apartments and gentrification that result in rising real estate prices and ultimately the replacement of the original communities.

Industrial Heritage

Connection with Manhattan

Industrial Zoning The Zoning of 2011 designates the waterfront of Red Hook as industrial, in line with the city’s industrial policy of 2005 that defines a large part of Red Hook as an Industrial Business Zone (IBZ). In this policy, the city promises that it will ‘take strong measures to discourage’ the destruction or reconversion of industrial space.8 Isolation The neighborhood is physically isolated from the rest of the borough by the Gowanus expressway Rise of Brooklyn Bridge Park


and bypassed by the city’s transit network. Public Houses The Red Hook Houses deliver an important resistance to gentrification. This social housing projects tend to devaluate the surrounding properties and in that way may obstruct or slow down gentrification. The Houses ensure mixed income in the area ‘because they will always be there, they want go away.’10

Working Waterfront

Infrastructure Isolation

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Community-based networks

two grids with different orientation

As explained in the second phenomenon ‘Isolation’, the Red Hook population has two ‘types of residents’: The low-income residents on one hand and the more wealthy workingand middle-class inhabitants on the other hand. These groups are demographically, as well as, geographically separated from each other. The contrast can be laid on the urban tissue of Red Hook, namely its grid, which has two different orientations. The low-income residents live in the eastern grid, where the Red Hook Houses are located. The richer local residents and gentrifiers, that arrived in two waves (see ‘Gentrification’), house in the western grid, near the industrial waterfront buildings at Van Brunt Street. Conventionally, gentrifiers and local residents, and, poor and rich people, tend to socially oppose each other, especially in New York City. In Red Hook, however, these two types of residents are intensively intertwined through various ‘community networks’. This active community bounding is the consequence of several historical events. Long-time residents and business owners of Red Hook are already working together since the construction of the Gowanus expressway and the Red Hook Houses by Robert Moses in the late 1930s. The Red Hook residents opposed these modernization and urban renewal projects that led to the displacement of local residents and the isolation of the Red Hook peninsula from the rest of South Brooklyn.

community-based collaboration

In the 1960s the Red Hook neighborhood was hit hard, the Port Authority shifted its port operations to New Jersey, leaving a large part of the residents unemployed. The relocation of the waterfront activity was the result of containerization. The area of the Red Hook waterfront was considered too small to receive containers. But the city secretly developed a plan to make room for an alternative port, ‘that would have wiped out a large swath of housing and industry’1. Rumors about this urban renewal plan resulted in ‘planners blight’. ‘Small property owners sold to speculators and move out. Red Hook lost half of its population and many of its small industries.’2 Red Hook became one of the poorest communities of Brooklyn and had been bypassed by the gentrification wave that raged through near


Carroll Garden and Park Slope in the 1960s. 3 With its large vacant land, zoned for industry, its waterfront and low land values, Red Hook became the ideal place for waste facilities, according to the City of New York. Waste plants were located in the outer boroughs, in poor and colored waterfront communities. Community movements started to originate in Red Hook out of environmental justice principles. Local businesses joined the Red Hook Civic Association and the Red Hook Tenant Associations in their fight to shut down two privately owned waste-transfer stations. Additionally, they were able to face down the city’s plan to build two new sludge facilities: one at the former Revere Sugar Refinery and one at the Erie Basin. ‘The victory of the Red Hook residents helped to create the personal and organizational ties in the neighborhood. The shooting of, Patrick Daly, a highly respected white elementary school principal, brought residents and local businesses even more together. The close relationships between community members led to a community plan. In 1992, the Red Hook Houses, the ‘Back’4 and a local real estate developer, named Greg O’Connel, filled a 197a community plan. The residents of the ‘Back’ opted for new housing and retail development on vacant, industrial land. Greg O’Connell wanted to achieve zoning changes for the industrial waterfront in order to develop his waterfront (and upland) properties with greater flexibility. The tenants of the Red Hook Houses plied for more education, economic development, employment possibilities and community services in the area. Together they pursued the preservation of Red Hook’s mixed-use character. The biggest problem they encountered was the lack of city owned land to develop the community plan. Therefore, Greg O’Connell allied with local property owners to assemble vacant parcels, and to control future land use. The community plan was approved by Community Board 6 but after two years overruled by the Planning Commission. Instead the Commission approved for all zoning changes proposed by business leaders. The integrity of the community planning process was undermined several times by the City. During the planning process, for example, the local residents and


construction of Red Hook Houses in 1939

proposed waste facility for the Erie Basin

Community Board 6 won public access to the waterfront at the end of Columbia Street. This site was in 2004 designated to IKEA for the construction of a big box store. The opinion of the community was divided as the tenants of the Red Hook Houses saw an opportunity for employment and the Back rejected the trafficgenerating commercial waterfront enclave. However, this didn’t diminish the intensity of their relationships.

shooting death of Patrich Daly

construction of IKEA

The history of community planning established in Red Hook resulted in a wide range of community networks today. These networks consists of several nonprofit, community organizations, that work together with local businesses, residents, schools, local restaurants, etcetera. The unusual and lasting collaboration between gentrifiers and local (low-income) residents is made possible through the unique character of the neighborhood. Red Hook didn’t gentrify in the conventional manner. A first gentrification wave in the 1980s, resulted in a small group of new middle-class gentrifiers, now considered local residents. A second wave at the beginning of the 21st century brought along the first young hipsters. However this wave was slowed down by the economic crisis of 2008. As the old creative gentrifiers had already joined forces with the tenants of the Red Hook Houses in the late 1980s environmental justice movements, they influenced the young professionals to socially engage with the active Red Hook community. On top, the isolation of the neighborhood resulted in the common feeling of ‘being isolated together’.



Community organizations Added Value and Herbal Solutions Added Value is a non-profit organization promoting the sustainable development of Red Hook by nurturing a new generation of young leaders. The organization’s objectives are the creation of opportunities for the youth of South Brooklyn, the expansion of their knowledge base and skills and the engagement of this young residents in their community, through the operation of a socially responsible urban farming enterprise. Added Value provides longterm training to neighborhood teenagers and educational programs for elementary schools all over Brooklyn. Through the urban farm, they want to educate communities in a sustainable future with healthy food and economical independence. Bwac The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition is a non profit organization, active in Red Hook since 1973. Started by a small group of artists, the organization now counts over 400 members. The involved artists remain until today in charge of the management, leadership, board and staff. Their activities are driven by two ‘synergistic missions’, firstly ‘to assist emerging artists in advancing their artistic careers’ and secondly ‘to present the art-of-today in an easily accessible format.’ They organize events in both their gallery, such as three annual exhibitions and weekly music performances, and outdoors on community events, such as the Red Hook Film Festival and Red Hook Fest. Caro Dance Theatre The dance studio’s mission is to ‘bring access to professional dance training to everyone.’ Since their establishment in 2009 in Red Hook, they provide the community an accessible dance education based on a ‘pay-what-you-can’ basis, ensuring that everyone can access their programs regardless of their financial situation. They organize a broad program of courses, for both youth and adults including classical ballet, modern dance, yoga, etc. In addition, they organize in collaboration with PS 15 a ‘walkover service’ that ensures the participating children of PS 15 a safe walk to the dance school. Dance Theatre Etcetera Dance Theatre Etcetera creates the opportunity for artists to collaborate with the community out of their belief that art can operate as ‘an effective vehicle for social transformation.’ The organization is active in Red Hook since 1994 as a cultural programmer organizing dance performances, festivals and parades. In June, they organize the popular annual festival ‘Red Hook Fest’, ‘featuring world-class music, dance, and spoken word poetry.’ Currently, the organization focuses mainly on art education and giving the opportunity to local youth to showcase their work and to work together with professional artists. In order to keep the involvement of the community , they work together with other community based organizations such as Red Hook Initiative and BWAC. Falconworks artist group Falconworks Artists Group is a non profit organization empowering Red Hooks communities and inhabitants ‘through theater and applied drama.’ The organization aims since 1997 to create an awareness among the inhabitants of ‘systems of oppression in order to effect their change’, by letting young people express themselves in their own voices and letting inhabitants perform theatre plays based on Red Hook’s history and the struggles throughout this history.

Good Shepherd Services City-wide development, education and family service agency that focuses on the empowerment of vulnerable youth. They help youth to build up their own future and engagement within their family and community. In Red Hook, Good Sheperd Service has programs running in the South Brooklyn Community High School and in PS 15.

Hook Productions Hook productions is an educational program organized by the City Parks Foundation, providing audio-video production and technology training for teenagers. The classes are given in the Red Hook Recreational Center where the youths get lessons on multimedia programs, ‘media literacy and new media training.’ The results of the work in these classes are shown on community events such as the Red Hook Film Festival. In addition, the participating students work on a ‘green map’ of the neighborhood, an ‘Internet-based participatory map that includes site icons, site photographs, video interviews with community members, and written site descriptions documenting the past, present and future of Red Hook green space.’

Kentler International Drawing space The Kentler International Drawing Space displays since 1990 contemporary drawings by local, national and international artists, and gained in time an important spot in ‘the cultural fabric of the community’. They collaborate with the community through workshops in the neighborhood’s schools and on events, offering various art-making programs to teachers, students and families. They aim to deploy contemporary art as ‘a platform for ‘inquiry, exploration, and empowerment.’’ In addition to these workshops, they organize afterschool programs in collaboration with various non profit organizations in the area.

Kidd Yellin Studio and exhibition space that offers space for various community based happenings such as theatre shows and meetings. Lucky Gallery A gallery that works with, and displays the work of ‘underrepresented and emerging artists’. The gallery aims to interact with the community through workshop, performance, education and opportunity. The gallery was shut down in July 2010 because the landlord ended the lease of the building. However, the gallery remained organizing events from time to time in other businesses throughout the neighborhood.

Red Hook Community Justice Center This center handles criminal, housing and family court matters in an innovative, multi-jurisdictional problem solving court. Their method is based on the dissident’s own determination of the underlying reason of the criminal activity and a casespecific strategy to avoid reoccurrence of criminal behavior in the future. The Red Hook court threats cases from entire South Brooklyn including Red Hook, Park Slope, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, Carroll Gardens, and Boerum Hill neighborhoods. They collaborate closely with other community based organizations and let offenders often ‘perform community service as a means of recompensing the community that they harmed by the commission of the crime.’ In addition, Red Hook Community Justice Center houses a Youth Court, in which youths are trained ‘to serve as jurors, judges and attorneys, handling real-life cases involving their peers.’

Red Hook Economic Development Organization that aims to vitalize Red Hook’s local businesses, focusing on the ones located on or near the commercial part of Van Brunt Street, by creating partnerships between the businesses, the residents and the industry. To do so, RHED organizes a wide range of events, from flea markets to ‘treeplanting’, from ‘neighborhood clean-ups’ to providing new street infrastructure. They collaborate with the PS 15 school and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp. Red Hook Film Festival (October) An annual festival that organizes a competition open to all filmmakers, artists or animators attracting predominantly local Red Hook or Brooklyn-based productions. The events takes place in the building of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition. The festival aims to promote films and short films about Red Hook’s history, its struggles and character such as ‘Red Hook High’, a docu-soap made with students of the South Brooklyn Community High School. Red Hook Initiative An organization addressing Red Hook’s youth with programs concerning education, employment, social and emotional health, physical health and community development. Started as a side-program of the local hospital, the initiative grew into an independent non profit organization with an own ‘green’ building, ‘addressing their commitment to justice and sustainability Red Hook Rise This non profit organization aims to ‘provide sports, educational and physical fitness programs’ for the communities youth. They ‘seek to create the kinds of opportunities for Red Hook’s young people that more fortunate children may take for granted.’ The organization is based on a partnership with the parents to help organizing sport games and reading classes. They collaborate with the local school, PS 15, where they organize events such as a ‘fun day.’ Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp. This corporation with branches in both Sunset Park and Red Hook, assists ‘businesses with accessing incentives, finance, real estate selection, procurement, advocacy and commercial revitalization.’ They have programs for the employment of locals in local businesses for which they collaborate with other non profit organizations. The organization assisted the commercial revitalization of Red Hook’s Van Brunt street, thanks to the Avenue NYC Storefront improvement Program through the Department of Small Businesses and the Red Hook main street program through the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal. On top they organized a District Marketing Program for Red hook in 2008, promoting some local businesses, predominantly located near Van Brunt Street. The Fatato Gallery Founder Antony Fatato organizes next to his artist practice an educational program, ‘World Education Endeavor’, that provides opportunities for students by arts and science education and supports them to advance their careers. The world education endeavor expanded throughout the borough, creating a network of professionals that are committed to ‘share their knowledge with the educational needs of their community.’ In Red Hook, world education endeavor organizes workshops and classes in the Coffey Park Club House. In partnership with local businesses, they have an community-art program in which youth can work on the design and realization of large-scale paint murals. For the young children, they organize football classes on the Red Hook Recreational fields. In addition, they help the local youth with finding a job, mediating between them and local businesses.


Community-Based Networks 72


Residential & Commercial

Residential & Manufacturing

As explained in the Chapter ‘Planning the City’ in Brooklyn 101: Five Chapters on a City Life, the first zoning of New York City in 1916 primarily focused on Manhattan, because here the stakes in land were the highest. Most parts of the other boroughs outside Manhattan were zoned as “unrestricted”. That meant that industry, housing and commerce could be mixed.’1 The land outside Manhattan became the place were small developers could establish themselves. The other boroughs permitted low- to midrise housing development and the location of smaller businesses on Residential & Worshops


relatively cheap land. They generated typical mixed-use neighborhoods, such as Red Hook.

Shop at Van Brunt Street

Residential Unit facing a Manufecturing Business

Two specific scopes in Red Hook, resemble this mixed-use character. The area, that is called the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Backâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, near Van Brunt Street and an area next to Hamilton Ave. The Back houses prosperous working-class and middle-class gentrifiers and is featured by a mix of residential, industrial and commercial development. Specific for this zone is the homeownership, although also a larger group of renters is located here. An important street in this area is Van Brunt Street, a commercial strip, where the renovation of storefronts, and the interior of shops is stimulated through grants and tax incentives. The street is the prime location of the creative industries, biological restaurants and coffee shops of the gentrifying inhabitants. The first scope also locates the older industrial storehouses, of which a few are still active. The area is partially zoned industrial, at the waterfront, and partially residential with a commercial overlay. The zoning demands the separation of the different uses, while today these uses tend to be mixed. The second scope is located near Hamilton Ave. The area is characterized by a mixture of residential development and workshops that mainly house the car industry. The residents of this area also work in the workshops there. The advantage of this mixture is the proximity of work to the living environment. The scope is originally zoned as manufacturing or industrial area. Conventionally, neighborhoods are zoned in districts that have one specific use. Because of the many mixed-used neighborhoods that originated in the boroughs outside Manhattan, several mixed-use zonings were applied as a trial (for example in Williamsburg in the 1970s). In the 1990s, the Department of City Planning, created a new mixed-use district for the zoning maps. The designation of this district legitimized the rapid conversion of industrial buildings and land into housing, without the public review that normally is required for rezoning. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why the Department of City Planning now puts mixed-used zones in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, such as Greenpoint in Brooklyn.2

Residential Unit next to Workshop


Mixed Use Clusters Industrial & Manufacturing Residential Residential & Commercial Commercial Parking Vacant Park




KEEPING THE FENCE The advent of gentrification in the town of Red Hook We envision a threefold Red Hook, consisting of an industrial waterfront, a residential core and an intermediate zone, based on the existing zoning maps of NYC. The first fold is the abandoned industrial waterfront, that we believe, has a great potential to rebecome an active port for the wider region of NYC. We propose to landbank the industrial sites by keeping the existing fence that encloses the waterfront and so safeguard this territory for future industrial development. In order to start attracting big industrial players, we implement a new and modern infrastructure system, consisting of a freight railway and a revising of the local trucking routes. The second fold is the residential core, which today is inhabited by two different groups of residents: the rooted and more recent gentrifiers and a local, poorer population. These two groups are connected through a vibrant social network but this collaborations are not reflected in the physical structures of the residential core. By revising the design of the public park and implementing a greenway on the fault line, we want to create common spaces, that physically connect these two types of residents. In between these two folds, we define an intermediate zone, which still consists of a few active but small industries and housing and is characterized by a high vacancy rate. We want to identify this zone as an incubator for the development of both the industrial waterfront and the residential core by indicate the spaces for it and elaborate two examples. The overall goal is to enforce the identity of the industrial waterfront and residential core and to create an intermediate, almost free state, zone, which bilaterally influences these two identities. by Eva De FrĂŠ and Dieter Leyssen



A COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT CENTER for the neighborhood of red hook in Brooklyn, NY Red Hook is a small neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY that has been shaped historically by different actors, resulting in an urban fabric that is isolated both physically and socially. On one hand there is an intriguing waterfront once dominated by warehouses and large scale infrastructure that connects Brooklyn to the larger metropolitan area. On the other hand there is a fragmented community that has to deal with high poverty rates, unemployment, a lack of facilities and gentrification phenomena. A new community facility located on a waterfront parcel will provide a place for education, recreation and rehabilitation, building upon community involvement, social interaction and instructional programs. Through a mixture of program, atmosphere and relations between spaces, the willingness of the community to improve life conditions will become tangible on a location that has always been excluded to the neighborhood. by Miguel Van Steenbrugge



RED HOOK BAIT & TACKLE, Red Hook History, unknown,, last visited: 16/04/2012 WIKIPEDIA, Red Hook Brooklyn, April 2012,_Brooklyn, last visited: 16/04/2012 BACCACH, B.; COX E.; LANIER L.; A Preservation Plan for Red Hook, Spring 2009,, last visited: 16/04/2012 WIKIPEDIA, The Battle of Brooklyn, April 2012,, last visited: 16/04/2012 PLACE MATTERS, Atlantic and Erie Basins, unknown,, last visited: 16/04/2012 SIMON, M., The Walled City; Industrial Flux in Red Hook, Brooklyn, 1840-1920; University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2010 NYC PARKS & RECREATION, Red Hook Recreation Area, 2012,, last visited: 16/04/2012 NYC HOUSING AUTHORITY, Red Hook Houses East & West, 2010,;jsessionid=936BE0B3481A39E5A93F55E 1291FA554?, last visited: 16/04/2012 EASTERN ROAD, Gowanus Expressway Historic Overview, unknown,, last visited: 16/04/2012 BLANCK, M.; Atlantic Basin, unknown,, last visited: 16/04/2012 BACCACH, B.; COX E.; LANIER L.; A Preservation Plan for Red Hook, p11, Spring 2009,, last visited: 16/04/2012 ENDICOTT & CO, Bartlet & Greeneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Free and Bonded Warehouses and Elevators, ca. 1880, 0/3b52700/3b52742u.tif, last visited: 16/04/2012 UNKNOWN, Erie Basin, unknown, jpg, last visited: 16/04/2012 PHATTIRE, M, Red Hook Grain Terminal, December 7 2008,, last visited: 16/04/2012 UNKNOWN, Red Hook Hooverville, ca 1930,, last visited: 16/04/2012 MTA BRIDGES & TUNNELS SPECIAL ARCHIVE COLLECTION, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Holing Through, September 16 1948, news/stories/images/BBTHolingthrough.jpg, last visited: 16/04/2012 BACHE,














RUMSEY~8~1~33352~1170772:Map-of-New-York-Bay-and-Harbor-and-?sort=Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:Brooklyn;sort:Date%2 CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=6&trs=122, last visited: 06/04/2012 JOHNSTON, P. H.; Plan of the Battle of Long Island and the Brooklyn Defences, 1776, map02lg.png, last visited: 16/04/2012 RATZER, B.; Plan of the Town of Brooklyn and Parts of Long Island, 1766, SITE, last visited: 16/04/2012 JOHNSON, unknown, Map of Brooklyn, 1866,, last visited: 06/04/2012

DRIPPS, M., Map of Kings County, 1872, jp2&style=gmd&itemLink=D?gmd:2:./temp/~ammem_yeT2::@@@mdb=mcc,gottscho,detr,nfor,wpa,aap,cwar,bbpix,cowellbib,calbkbib,consrvbib,b dsbib,dag,fsaall,gmd,pan,vv,presp,varstg,suffrg,nawbib,horyd,wtc,toddbib,mgw,ncr,ngp,musdibib,hlaw,papr,lhbumbib,rbpebib,lbcoll,alad,hh,aaodys sey,magbell,bbc,dcm,raelbib,runyon,dukesm,lomaxbib,mtj,gottlieb,aep,qlt,coolbib,fpnas,aasm,denn,relpet,amss,aaeo,mff,afc911bib,mjm,mnwp,rbc millerbib,molden,ww2map,mfdipbib,afcnyebib,klpmap,hawp,omhbib,rbaapcbib,mal,ncpsbib,ncpm,lhbprbib,ftvbib,afcreed,aipn,cwband,flwpabib,wpa pos,cmns,psbib,pin,coplandbib,cola,tccc,curt,mharendt,lhbcbbib,eaa,haybib,mesnbib,fine,cwnyhs,svybib,mmorse,afcwwgbib,mymhiwebib,uncall,af cwip,mtaft,manz,llstbib,fawbib,berl,fmuever,cdn,upboverbib,mussm,cic,afcpearl,awh,awhbib,sgp,wright,lhbtnbib,afcesnbib,hurstonbib,mreynoldsbib ,spaldingbib,sgproto,scsmbib,afccalbib,mamcol&title=Map%20of%20Kings%20County%20%3a%20with%20parts%20of%20%20Westchester,%20 Queens,%20New%20York%20%26%20Richmond%20%3a%20showing%20farm%20lines,%20soundings,%20%26c., last visited: 06/04/2012

COLTON, G. W.; COLTON, C.B.; New York City, Brooklyn and Vicinity; 1885, gmd380/g3804/g3804n/rr002680.jp2&style=gmd&itemLink=D?gmd:4:./temp/~ammem_43Rp::@@@mdb=mcc,gottscho,detr,nfor,wpa,aap,cwar,bbp ix,cowellbib,calbkbib,consrvbib,bdsbib,dag,fsaall,gmd,pan,vv,presp,varstg,suffrg,nawbib,horyd,wtc,toddbib,mgw,ncr,ngp,musdibib,hlaw,papr,lhbumb ib,rbpebib,lbcoll,alad,hh,aaodyssey,magbell,bbc,dcm,raelbib,runyon,dukesm,lomaxbib,mtj,gottlieb,aep,qlt,coolbib,fpnas,aasm,denn,relpet,amss,aae


o,mff,afc911bib,mjm,mnwp,rbcmillerbib,molden,ww2map,mfdipbib,afcnyebib,klpmap,hawp,omhbib,rbaapcbib,mal,ncpsbib,ncpm,lhbprbib,ftvbib,afcre ed,aipn,cwband,flwpabib,wpapos,cmns,psbib,pin,coplandbib,cola,tccc,curt,mharendt,lhbcbbib,eaa,haybib,mesnbib,fine,cwnyhs,svybib,mmorse,afcw wgbib,mymhiwebib,uncall,afcwip,mtaft,manz,llstbib,fawbib,berl,fmuever,cdn,upboverbib,mussm,cic,afcpearl,awh,awhbib,sgp,wright,lhbtnbib,afcesn bib,hurstonbib,mreynoldsbib,spaldingbib,sgproto,scsmbib,afccalbib,mamcol&title=Map%20of%20New%20York%20City,%20Brooklyn,%20and%20 vicinity%20showing%20surface%20%26%20elevated%20railroads%20in%20operation%20and%20proposed., last visited: 06/04/2012 - BIEN, Joseph Rudolf, City of New York and City of Brooklyn, 1895,;sort:Pub_ Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=58&trs=101, last visited: 06/04/2012

WILLIAMS, unknown, Map of Borough of Brooklyn, 1923,,g ottscho,detr,nfor,wpa,aap,cwar,bbpix,cowellbib,calbkbib,consrvbib,bdsbib,dag,fsaall,gmd,pan,vv,presp,varstg,suffrg,nawbib,horyd,wtc,toddbib,mgw,n cr,ngp,musdibib,hlaw,papr,lhbumbib,rbpebib,lbcoll,alad,hh,aaodyssey,magbell,bbc,dcm,raelbib,runyon,dukesm,lomaxbib,mtj,gottlieb,aep,qlt,coolbib,f pnas,aasm,denn,relpet,amss,aaeo,mff,afc911bib,mjm,mnwp,rbcmillerbib,molden,ww2map,mfdipbib,afcnyebib,klpmap,hawp,omhbib,rbaapcbib,mal,n cpsbib,ncpm,lhbprbib,ftvbib,afcreed,aipn,cwband,flwpabib,wpapos,cmns,psbib,pin,coplandbib,cola,tccc,curt,mharendt,lhbcbbib,eaa,haybib,mesnbib, fine,cwnyhs,svybib,mmorse,afcwwgbib,mymhiwebib,uncall,afcwip,mtaft,manz,llstbib,fawbib,berl,fmuever,cdn,upboverbib,mussm,cic,afcpearl,awh,aw hbib,sgp,wright,lhbtnbib,afcesnbib,hurstonbib,mreynoldsbib,spaldingbib,sgproto,scsmbib,afccalbib,mamcol, last visited: 06/04/2012 UNKNOWN, unknown, Map of Borough of Brooklyn, 1961,, last visited: 06/04/2012


INFRASTRUCTURE 1 UNKNOWN, Red Hook,, last visited: 16/04/2012 2 UNKNOWN, Belt Parkway,, last visited: 16/04/2012 3 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008 4 UNKNOWN, Red Hook,, last visited: 16/04/2012


1 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008


BACCACH, B.; COX E.; LANIER L.; A Preservation Plan for Red Hook, Spring 2009,, last visited: 16/04/2012 BACCACH, B.; COX E.; LANIER L.; A Preservation Plan for Red Hook, p11, Spring 2009,, last visited: 16/04/2012 WIKIPEDIA, Red Hook Brooklyn, April 2012,_Brooklyn, last visited: 16/04/2012 NYC HOUSING AUTHORITY, Red Hook Houses East & West, 2010,;jsessionid=936BE0B3481A39E5A93F55E 1291FA554?, last visited: 16/04/2012 RED HOOK BAIT & TACKLE, Red Hook History, unknown,, last visited: 16/04/2012


WATERFRONT 1 JACOBS, Jane cited in ZUKIN, Sharon, The Naked City: The Life and Death of Authentic Urban Places, Oxford University Press, Oxford, USA,

2010, p 38 2 ZUKIN, 2010, p.169 3 BLOOMBERG, Michael R., New York City Industrial Policy, Protecting and Growing New York Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Industrial Jab Base, City of New York, New


York, 2005, p. 3 4 BLOOMBERG, Michael R., New York City Industrial Policy, Protecting and Growing New York City’s Industrial Jab Base, City of New York, New York, 2005, p. 21 5 BLOOMBERG, Michael R., New York City Industrial Policy, Protecting and Growing New York City’s Industrial Jab Base, City of New York, New York, 2005, p. 18 6 Float On! Cross-Harbor Rail Freight Gains Support, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, 2012, on:, last visited: 16/04/2012 7 PLUNZ, Richard, Leuven, 16/11/2011 8 PLUNZ, Richard, Leuven, 16/11/2011 IMAGES

1 UNKNOWN, The Red Hook Graving Dock, 2007,, last visited: 17/04/2012 2 UNKNOWN, Live from Red Hook: Curbed Inside The Fairway Building, 3, last visited: 17/04/2012 4 UNKNOWN, Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier, 2012,, last visited: 17/04/2012 5 UNKNOWN, Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival, 2010,, last visited: 17/04/2012 6 UNKNOWN, Pier 44 Waterfront Garden, unknown,, last visited: 17/04/2012 7 UNKNOWN, Float On! Cross-Harbor Rail Freight Gains Support, 2012,, last visited: 17/04/2012

ISOLATION 1 UNKNOWN, Red Hook,, last visited: 16/04/2012 2 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008 3 KASINITS, P., ROSENBERG, J., Missing the Connection: Social Isolation and Employment on the Brooklyn Waterfront, University of California Press, s.l., 1996 4 KASINITS, P., ROSENBERG, J., Missing the Connection: Social Isolation and Employment on the Brooklyn Waterfront, University of California Press, s.l., 1996 5 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008 6 UNKNOWN, Carroll Gardens,, last visited: 16/04/2012 7 KASINITS, P., ROSENBERG, J., Missing the Connection: Social Isolation and Employment on the Brooklyn Waterfront, University of California Press, s.l., 19968 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008 9 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008 10 The ‘Back’ is a section of Red Hook with a small group of homeowners and shop owners and a larger group of renters. The largest part of the gentrifiers lives here.

GENTRIFICATION 1 For more information on this wave of gentrification, see STUDIO BROOKLYN, Brooklyn 101, five chapters on a city life, 2012, p.70 2 NEWMAN, K. and WYLY, E., Gentrification and Resistance in New York City, on:, last visited: 07/12/2011 in: STUDIO BROOKLYN, Brooklyn 101, five chapters on a city life, 2012, p.70 3 This lifestyle was an alternative to the expensive and hectic life in the big city Manhattan as wel as to the suburban lifestyle. For more information on this subjest, see: STUDIO BROOKLYN, Brooklyn 101, five chapters on a city life, 2012, p.70 4 For more information on the reconversion of waterfront typologies see below: Waterfront, Decline of Waterfront, p. 71 5 The back is a section of red hook with a small group of home owners and shop owners and a larger group of renters. 6 this expression is borrowed from Neil Smith, SMITH, Neil, The New Urban Frontier, Gentrification and the revanchist city, Routledge, London and New York, 1996


7 Zukin, Sharon, Loft Living: Culture and capital in urban change, Rutgers University Press, Baltimore, 1989 8 BLOOMBERG, Michael R., New York City Industrial Policy, Protecting and Growing New York City’s Industrial Jab Base, City of New York, New York, 2005, p. 18 9 For more information in this subject, see below, Isolation, p. 10 RAPPAPORT, Nina, New York, 04/10/2011, on:, last visited: 17/04/2012

NETWORKS 1 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008 2 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008, cited in STUDIO BROOKLYN, Brooklyn 101: Five Chapter on City Life, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, 2011-2012, p93 3 STUDIO BROOKLYN, Brooklyn 101: Five Chapter on City Life, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, 2011-2012, p106 4 The ‘Back’ is a section of Red Hook with a small group of homeowners and shop owners and a larger group of renters. The largest part of the gentrifiers lives here. ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008 and: UNKNOWN, Red Hook Initiative, 2012,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Falcon Works artist group, 2009,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Lucky Gallery, 2010,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Drawing Together Spring 2012,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Kentler Gallery, 2012, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp., 2012,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Red Hook Economic Development, 2009,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Red Hook Fall Flea Market, 2011,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Good Sheperds, 2012,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Good Sheperds, 2012,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Red Hook Community Justice Center, 2012,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Cora Dance Theatre Brochure Fall 2011, 2011,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Cora Dance Theatre, 2012, ,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Dance Theatre Etcetera, 2012,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Hook Productions, unknown, :, last visited: 12/03/2012 Unknown, Kidd Yellin, unknown,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, unknown,, last visited: 12/03/2012 CRONSTEIN, Jessica, This Weekend: Red Hook Film Festival, 2011,, UNKNOWN, Red Hook Film Festival, unkown,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Fatato Gallery, unknown,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, We Endeavor, unknown,, last visited: 12/03/2012 CLARCK, Jim, Look Noth, unknown,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Red Hook Rise, unknown,, last visited: 12/03/2012 UNKNOWN, Added Value, 2009,, last visited: 12/03/2012 IMAGES

UNKNOWN, Patrick Daly, unknown,

80&tbm=isch&tbnid=yUTs7NZJWtioOM:&imgrefurl= albums/v373/Incuphisto/daly1.jpg&w=150&h=210&ei=I3WNT7CnEKPR0QWSqtn8DA&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=329&sig=101310427954903256236&p age=1&tbnh=140&tbnw=100&start=0&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0,i:67&tx=15&ty=38, last visited on: 17/04/2012 UNKNOWN, Red Hook Houses, 1936, send by Clara Schulte, 10/10/2012 UNKNOWN, Erie Basin Marine Associates, unknown,, last visited on: 17/04/2012


MIXED-USE 1 ANGOTTI, T., New York for Sale: Community Planning confronts Global Real Estate, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 2008, cited in STUDIO BROOKLYN, Brooklyn 101: Five Chapter on City Life, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, 2011-2012, p93 2 STUDIO BROOKLYN, Brooklyn 101: Five Chapter on City Life, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, 2011-2012, p106


GOOGLE, streetview,, last visited: 16/04/2012



Brooklyn 102 Structures and Phenomena of Red Hook  

A site analysis book on Red Hook, part of the Studio Brooklyn Studio, Leuven, Belgium.