Cowhey Marine Hardware, c. 1862 – 2006 by The Red Hook WaterStories Team

Cowhey Marine Hardware operated in Red Hook for about 150 years. The rump remains of the business was at 440 Van Brunt Street, the northwest corner of Van Brunt and Beard Street, and closed in 2005. Cowhey donated their final inventory to PortSide NewYork who has kept sample selections of their marine hardware and their 1941 […]

Title Fight: Louis Heineman vs. William Beard

By The Red Hook WaterStories team “No man ever, perhaps, got so much the best of old Beard as did Louis Heineman, the housemover of the Twelfth ward.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 19, 1891) When Louis Heineman died in 1904, he was reportedly 104 years old, and likely the oldest man in Red Hook […]

Spring Family Scavenger Hunt in the Cemetery.

Folks visiting from out-of-town are always surprised to hear that Greenwood Cemetery puts on events. From film screenings to evening parties to family activities, this space is more than a cemetery. It is a place to learn about Brooklyn history and also just a beautiful site that neighboring residents think of as a park at […]

“Tug Talk: Mariners’ Names for Red Hook” by The Red Hook WaterStories Team

Tug captains use landmarks (points on land visible from the water) to tell other mariners and the Coast Guard VTS (Vessel Traffic Service – the harbor equivalent of air traffic controllers) where they are.  This is not always as straightforward as it sounds, but it is proof that maritime history lives on. A typical radio […]

Shaft Alley Saloon by The Red Hook WaterStories Team

“We have mostly men here – very few women.  No unattached women permitted at the bar. That’s a simple way of preventing trouble.” One of the best known watering holes in Red Hook was the Shaft Alley saloon. Fortune magazine, in a 1937 essay about the New York Waterfront, said” You won’t find enlisted men over on […]

Spotlight on Brooklyn Historical Society’s Waterfront Exhibit.

The Brooklyn Historical Society’s second location in Dumbo (55 Water Street) recently opened it’s doors again after closing to install their latest long-term exhibit, Waterfront. It’s been open for about a month now and if you haven’t gone over to check it out you should! It’s lovely! It’s described best in this excerpt from their […]

Brooklyn Spar Company By The Red Hook WaterStories Team

In 1921, the Brooklyn Spar Company advertised in The Marine Journal that it sold wooden masts and posts for derricks and flag poles, which the company made at its waterfront facility at the foot of Columbia Street. In O.R. Pilat’s 1929 article, John J. Murphy, a 40-year veteran of the Brooklyn spar business, said that during World War […]

Tug Talk: Mariners’ Names for Red Hook

By The Red Hook WaterStories team Tug captains use landmarks (points on land visible from the water) to tell other mariners and the Coast Guard VTS (Vessel Traffic Service – the harbor equivalent of air traffic controllers) where they are.  This is not always as straightforward as it sounds, but it is proof that maritime […]

Another Chance – The Paul Robeson Theatre by Darlene Miller

I was so happy to learn recently that the Paul Robeson Theatre will hopefully be getting another chance to shine!  The 153 year old church-turned-theater nestled in the rich community of Fort Greene, Brooklyn has been approved by the Landmark Preservation Commission to be restored. I have been asking myself why hasn’t anyone (or group) […]

Overspreading on transit seats ca. 1850. Contentions on the Hamilton Avenue Ferry

By The Red Hook WaterStories team All was not peaceful on the new Hamilton Avenue Ferry.  People, particularly in the evening, were sprawling out across the benches, and extra deckhands were hired to keep the order. One of the directors suggested adding dividing armrests, but the Chief Engineer feared they would provoke ridicule. Overspreading to […]