The Mary A. Whalen By The Red Hook WaterStories team

The MARY A. WHALEN is an early example of lap welding – the transition between riveting and the butt welding of today. She is also a rare surviving example of a bell boat. The oil tanker MARY A. WHALEN was launched May 21, 1938.  The ship is PortSide NewYork’s ambassador to the BLUEspace and site of our offices and many […]

Winter Life on Canal Boats, 1915

By The Red Hook WaterStories team Residents of Erie Basin Celebrate the Holidays in Much the Same Fashion as Folk Ashore. Near Christmas time, 1915, a female reporter and an illustrator for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, visited a few of the many canal boats and barges moored for the winter in Erie Basin “in search […]

Good News for Kensington Stables.

A couple of years ago we learned that Kensington Stables had declared bankruptcy and the building was on the market. Residents of this area near Prospect Park were upset to hear this news. Not only were these stables a historic part of the community but they added charm to this section of Brooklyn. It’s so […]

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 […]