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It’s Like the Key West of NYC

This missus and I celebrated my birthday this past weekend by spending the day in Red Hook.

Quite a few years ago, like (Jesus!) ten years ago, during some of my single days in New York City, I was hanging out a fair amount with three other single, bald men. We were a real sight to behold. Sad, really. For some reason, we liked going to Red Hook. If you’da told the four of us then that we’d all end up happily married, we would’ve called you an idiot. We were utterly aware of our loserness.

Right. So I hadn’t been back to Red Hook in ten freakin’ years. For those of you outside of NYC, Red Hook is a Brooklyn neighborhood that’s utterly underserved by public transportation. There are buses, but they’re unreliable. Unless you have a car, getting to Red Hook is quite the pain-in-the-ass. Part of why it’s been so long since I’ve been there. Never mind that I’ve had a car for about five years.

Anyway, Red Hook is also surrounded on three sides by water. Like so many neighborhoods that used to just be cool and shitty, it’s become cool and gentrified, but not overly developed or totally overrun by hipsters.

In recent years, Red Hook has become known for its food vendors at the ballfields. The health department has been threatening to shut them down for some time. It’s one of those things I’ve been wanting to try, but effort, or lack thereof, gets in the way.

Well, conveniently enough, around my birthday, some of those Red Hook food vendors celebrated the grand opening of the Red Hook Mercado.

It turned out to be a lot cooler to be there on opening day than we expected. Brooklyn12 (Brooklyn’s answer to NY1) was there to cover the celebration, and the local politicos graced the Mercado with their presence. One of my favorite local politicians is Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. He’s an unabashed champion for the borough he so clearly loves. He’s both charming and ridiculous. Just like Brooklyn.

The food at the Red Hook Mercado was everything I dreamed it would be. 2009 Vendy Award winners Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck served seriously delicious huaraches on corn tortillas they were pressing and frying up on the spot.

That’s a huarache on the right. It was delicious and not terribly easy to eat. That’s a fancy-pants corn dog on the left. Although it was probably the best corn dog I ever ate (from Grindhouse – or at least I think that’s what they were called), in the context of the Mercado, $6 seemed like a lot for a corn dog. The huarache was $6, but look at the size of that thing!

Anyway, outdoor seating, waterfront locations, the gorgeous weather, and the boat going by really made Red Hook feel like Key West. And then we came upon the key lime pie place. I didn’t get a picture of it. But the missus and I split a tiny key lime pie.

I’m running out of steam for more writing, so I’m just going to put some more photos in here. This is Pete Seeger’s boat, the Hudson Clearwater Sloop with Lady Liberty in the background.

Lots of buildings like this one along the water. Note the kickass train too.

Someone lost their desk chair.

Nautical themes recur around Red Hook.

A little graffiti advertising.

The smallest car in the world.

We watched a Latino baseball league for a while, and they were playing on this diamond with these giant grain elevators in the background. It looked awesomely post-apocalyptic to me.

Got a pretty nice sunset even.

This is a banh mi burger. If you don’t know what a banh mi is, read this. I now know that it tastes amazing in burger form too.

It was a damn fine day.

One comment on “It’s Like the Key West of NYC

  1. Carrie on said:

    New York makes me hungry.

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