Photo of the Week: Red Hook beating Sandy back

Well, Red Hook was slammed by Hurricane Sandy.  There are several photographs on our Storify page documenting the high water line that submerged many businesses and homes along the waterfront.

@ginjula This is the collapsing waterfront by the Barge Museum. #RedHook #BrooklynPhotos @brooklynhistory


@leahloscut Still pumping water from 543 union street, the third day pumping #gowanus #sandy #brooklynphotos

As with Coney Island, the Rockaways, and Staten Island, Red Hook has become a hub where donations from cleaning supplies to food to books and toys are being collected and distributed to the surrounding families and businesses in the flooded streets of the neighborhood and being sent to other parts of the city affected by the storm.

@leahloscut Red hook free store, open tmw from 10-4 at 59 Walcott st. They need toys and books! #sandy #redhook #brooklynphotos

@nycservice [Photo] Our volunteers unloading food and water in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

 Red Hook has played a central role in Brooklyn’s waterfront economy since the early nineteenth century.  It has also been a thriving working-class neighborhood for much of that time.  By the 1960s and 1970s, containerized shipping moved most commerce away from Red Hook to New Jersey, and the neighborhood’s industrial buildings crumbled with disrepair.  But in the following decades, the architecture and history of this post-industrial neighborhood captured the imaginations of artists, small business owners, and other creative and innovative people, who joined a diverse group of longtime Red Hook residents.

Atlantic Dock by A.R. Young, ca. 1878, v1972.1.496; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.


Club house at the foot of Court Street by A.R. Young, ca. 1878, v1972.1.498; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.

South Brooklyn by A.R. Young, 1877, v1972.1.838; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.





Northwest corner of Wolcott Street, 1959, v1974.4.1248; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.



H. & L. Co. 101 – Engine 202, 1959, v1974.4.1256; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

It seems inevitable that Red Hook’s community will return with the same combination of industry and inventiveness it has nurtured for many years.  To see more old photographs of Red Hook, visit our online gallery, or add more post-Sandy photographs to our Hurricane Sandy: Brooklyn Stories page.  To continue with Sandy relief efforts, look to twitter and Red Hook Initiative.

Everyone at Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is keenly aware of the wide impact that Sandy has had on Brooklyn and surrounding areas and we hope that services are reaching you and life is getting back to normal.

BHS is working on collecting information about Sandy and the effects of the storm on our borough to add to BHS’ collections. Over the next several weeks, PHOTO OF THE WEEK will document Sandy and its impact on Brooklyn. We encourage you to check out our Storify website, documenting our progress so far. Click here: Hurricane Sandy: Brooklyn Stories.

Interested in seeing more photographs from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery which includes a selection of our images.  To search our entire collection of images, visit BHS Othmer Library Wed-Fri 1:00-5:00 p.m.

About Julie May

I am the Head of Collection Management at Brooklyn Historical Society.
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