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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]