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. 

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