"Give it Ur Best, Sandy," taunt the spray-painted words on the side of some scaffolding on Van Brunt Street.
Sandy did. And, nearly two weeks later, Red Hook has not yet recovered, and probably will not fully return to normal for months more. A walk down Van Brunt and up Conover recently revealed that few businesses had repaired their facades and interior enough, and restored their lost inventory sufficiently, to reopen. Fairway, the neighborhood's anchor, isn't expected to reopen for some time, a loss that will effect trade at other nearby businesses. Sitting on the very edge of the harbor, the Civil War-era warehouse suffered some of the worst flooding.
Local favorites like The Good Fork and Fort Defiance (below) are still closed, and, by the look of their interiors, a long way from opening their doors again. Their interiors are empty of the attractive tables and chairs that once filled them. Instead, there are buckets and boxes and tools. More longstanding eateries, like Mark's Pizzeria (above)—which was feeding Red Hook long before it became a trendy neighborhood—was also shuttered. Reports had it that Mark's lost all its equipment. Hard to make pizza without pizza ovens.
Signs like the one below were pasted all over the neighborhood, some declaring that the property indicated was safe, some warning of structural damage.
There were also signs like the one below, illustrated the extent to which locals have been trying to help each other out since the storm.
This Frankenstein figure left over from Halloween seems to have done its job. I have heard of no attempts to loot businesses during this low point in Red Hook's history.
There's still a lot to do in the neighborhood, obviously. One of the best ways to help it to check in with the Restore Red Hook and the Red Hook Initiative and see what sort of work needs to be done.
I was particularly sad to see this sight. This old storefront on Red Hook was always a joy to pass. It's window displays were frozen-in-time dioramas, filled with old artifacts and antiques from the days when this was a business concern. And at Christmas, the facade was bedecked with boughs of evergreen and wreaths. Now it's covered with plywood. I can only imagine the antiques the windows once held are now destroyed.