Red Hook Doesn’t Sleep with the Fishes

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The good people of Red Hook are a tough lot. No one could survive the kind of beating they endured at the sadistic hands of Superstorm Sandy and come back swinging the way this on-the-waterfront neighborhood has—with a combination of grit, dignity and scrappy style.

From Red Hook Winery’s blood, sweat and tears rebirth, to St. John Frizell’s genius junk-bond fund-raising idea to get his aptly named Fort Defiance back up and running, to Dry Dock’s brush with a watery death, to Baked, to the Lobster Pound to Sunny’s to Jack from Brooklyn to Cacao Prieto—so many providers of heart-and-soul sustenance in this hardscrabble spot who, despite uncooperative insurance carriers, FEMA fast ones and general exhaustion, have come back from the brink by their own might and with the help of volunteers by the dozens, nonprofits like Restore Red Hook.

And, of course, each other—this tight-knit community has never been a place that leaves its neighbors to sink or swim.

Even the almighty Fairway, perched right on water’s edge, was nearly washed away. The retailer incurred more than $3 million in damages, not to mention nearly that amount in loss of stock (we weep for the cheeses alone). But four months after Sandy, on Friday, March 1, Fairway’s fabled doors opened once more, signaling loud and clear that Red Hook businesses are back in action. At the grand reopening, grim faces were exchanged for big smiles with a lineup of celebrants that included Senator Schumer, Mayor Bloomberg, borough pres Marty Markowitz and, yes, Miss America, proving that you can’t keep a good
neighborhood down.

Once-in-a-century storms? Biblical rains? Fuhgeddaboutit.

There she is. Celebrants at the grand re-opening included Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Schumer and Miss America. Photo credit: Kimberly Gail Price. 

Amy Zavatto

Amy Zavatto is the daughter of an old school Italian butcher who used to sell bay scallops alongside steaks, and is also the former Deputy Editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She holds her Level III Certification in Wine and Spirits from the WSET, and contributes to Imbibe, Whisky Advocate, SOMMJournal,, and others. She is the author of Forager's Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients and The Architecture of the Cocktail. She's stomped around vineyards from the Finger Lakes to the Loire Valley and toured distilleries everywhere from Kentucky to Jalisco to the Highlands of Scotland. When not doing all those other things, Amy is the Director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance.

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