“Mary A Whalen” is an oil tanker. It was built in 1938 and sailed quite a long life till early 90s when she was decommissioned and docked for many years in an area of Red Hook used for the boats suspected of trafficking drugs. It took more than 10 years for a group of enthusiasts to bring the oil tanker into the Atlantic Basin where it finally can be visited in a place that is called today “Portside”.
This weekend, the boat visiting event was augmented by music and food being somehow converted in a kind of local festival. It was one of the several things to do in Red Hook, a more industrial area of Brooklyn where some manufacturing still happens, the area remaining zoned as industrial, and safe for the moment to the advancement of the luxury condominiums.
The pleasant waterfront occupied by a large “Fairway” has a winding promenade with a couple of piers from where water taxis leaves to Manhattan, free on the weekends. Galleries started to spread in old factories and fancy coffee places and restaurants are popping up on the main street. But it is just the beginning and thankfully is still looking more like Greenpoint in the 90s. People are relaxed and in any store you enter the chat is a priority and way more important than the purchase. The back gardens, so famous in Brooklyn are also enticing making you explore the back of the stores.
Being relatively far from the subway, Red Hook was always considered remote even by Brooklyn’s standards. Deeply advanced in the estuary it is placed right behind Governor Island, from where you get a completely different perspective over Jersey City and the Statue of Liberty.