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Street scene in Red Hook

Gowanus and Red Hook is in Brooklyn. In addition to Gowanus and Red Hook, this travel guide also covers Carroll Gardens.


  • Red Hook is a formerly-bustling industrial area which is on the upswing. Although hard to access by train, it can be served by the F & G trains at Smith-9th Street or by taxi or by the B61 bus. Settled in 1636 by the Dutch, it has seen many a boom and bust is today caught between those who like it as the sleepy part of town that time forgot vs. those who seek to restore its crown as the Queen of Kings County Commerce. If you're looking for something off the beaten path, Red Hook is it. Many artists call Red Hook their home, so don't be surprised to see random sculptures, galleries, or creative gardens across from city housing or burned out buildings. It was also home to the MTV's Real World Brooklyn cast in 2007. While the property crime rate is higher than the national average, the violent crime rate is actually less than that of New York State. You have a 1 in 332 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in Red Hook versus a 1 in 263 chance in New York as a whole.
  • Carroll Gardens- Historians date the name to the 1960s and the real estate people like to enlarge its borders. It encompasses part of Smith St. and the nearby areas. In the 1950s and further back in time, this area was known, to the dismay of many, as Red Hook, and it still is called both Red Hook and South Brooklyn by many. Smith St. has a newly charged restaurant row, but there are still plenty of old school Italian-American gems to be found.

Get in[edit]

Map of Brooklyn/Gowanus and Red Hook

By subway[edit]

The F and G stop in Carroll Gardens at Smith-9th Street (The highest station in the system and an engineering marvel), Carroll Street, and Bergen Street for Carroll Gardens. The F, G, and R stop in Gowanus at 4th Avenue-9th Street. There are no subways in Red Hook, but the B77 bus goes there from Smith-9th Street.

By bus[edit]

The B57, B61, and B77 buses stop in Red Hook and Gowanus.


Street scene with front gardens in Carroll Gardens
  • 1 Gowanus Canal. The anchor of the Gowanus neighborhood is this famously polluted canal. The Carroll Street Bridge is the oldest retractable bridge in the US (and one of only four left).
  • 2 Kentler International Drawing Space, 353 Van Brunt St (B61/B77 buses to Van Brunt St/Dikeman St), +1 718 875-2098. Th-Su noon-5PM. A small 2-room gallery divided by a bizarre door.
  • 3 Statue of Liberty view. Red Hook is the only place in New York where you can get a frontal view of the Statue of Liberty from land.
  • 4 Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, 290 Conover St, Pier 44 (at Reed; Subway:  F  G  to Smith-9th Sts, then transfer to B77 bus to Conover St and Coffey St), +1 718 624-4719. Th 4-8PM, Sa 1-5PM. Donations suggested.


  • 1 Walk around the canal (especially near the subway) and look at the signs from factories long gone.
  • 2 The Bell House, 149 7th St (between 2nd and 3rd Aves: Subway:  F  G  R  to 4th Ave-9th St), +1 718 643-6510. Old Gowanus warehouse turned into a music venue.


  • 1 IKEA, 1 Beard St, toll-free: +1-888-888-4532. 10AM-9PM daily; restaurant hours 9:30AM-8:30PM daily. There is a water taxi (M-F $5, one way, Sa-Su free) from Pier 11 a few blocks north and east of the Battery in Manhattan's Financial District to the Red Hook IKEA store.
  • 2 Retrofret Vintage Guitars, 233 Butler St (between Nevins and Bond Sts), +1 718 237-2532, . M-Sa noon-7PM. Retrofret Vintage Guitars shop in the Gowanus deals exclusively in vintage, antique and used musical instruments, it is reported to be the largest store of its type on the east coast. The customer base is fairly evenly divided between local/tri-state area, national and international clients. Owner and founder, Steve Uhrik, moved the business to its current location from SoHo, Manhattan in 1983.


  • 1 Baked, 359 Van Brunt St (at Dikeman), +1 718 222-0345. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa Su 8AM-7PM. A well-priced cafe and bakery. Midrange.
  • 2 Hyssop, 293 Van Brunt St (between Pioneer and King), +1 929-295-0495. Sa 5PM-10PM. Supper club. Midrange.


  • 1 Botanica, 220 Conover St (at Coffey), +1 718 797-2297. A not-too-cheap homemade liqueur and cocktail bar.
  • 2 Other Half Brewing, 195 Centre St, +1-212-564-6065, . M Tu noon–8PM, W–F noon–10PM, Sa 10AM–10PM, Su 11AM–7PM. Small warehouse brewery in an industrial area of Carroll Gardens. Other Half has a big selection of beers on tap, 9 of which are IPAs. The taproom is small and can get pretty crowded. It has a funky vibe completed by the antelope head mounted on the wall.


  • 1 Holiday Inn Express Brooklyn, 625 Union St (between 3rd and 4th Aves; Subway:  R  to Union St), +1 718 797-1133, fax: +1 718-797-1163. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Opened in 2006, the hotel features complimentary breakfast, wifi access and comfortable furnishings.

Stay safe[edit]

Although New York is overall a safe city, Red Hook is known for having a high crime rate. In general, north of the Gowanus Expressway, in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens, is safe, while south of it, in Red Hook, is a place to be very careful, especially near the Red Hook Houses in the northeastern section of Red Hook, just south of the Gowanus Expressway.


Carroll Gardens Branch, Brooklyn Public Library
  • 1 Brooklyn Public Library (Carroll Gardens branch), 396 Clinton St (at Union; Subway:  F  G  to Carroll St), +1 718 596-6972. M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
  • 2 Brooklyn Public Library (Red Hook branch), 7 Wolcott St (at Dwight; Subway:  F  G  to Smith-9th Sts), +1 718 935-0203. M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Gowanus and Red Hook
Midtown ManhattanDowntown Brooklyn  N  S  Prospect ParkConey Island
Long Island City, QueensDowntown Brooklyn  N  S  Prospect ParkEND

This district travel guide to Gowanus and Red Hook is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.