Shakespeare and Sandy on Red Hook

by Vanessa, New York Guest Sales Associate

Double double toil and trouble, Sandy’s surge, makes oceans double.

Flooding in Red Hook during Hurricane Sandy

In the day following the hurricane neighbors and residents alike made haste to soggy Red Hook, to “survey the damage” thus proving that curiosity is no longer a vice. While some of a certain variety ogled, many more set to work long before city officials could begin to assess the damage, to retrieve their surly section of Brooklyn. What sea water did not recede to where it once came, remained in the hallowed depths of basements, so that every house floated atop its own murky ocean.

Red Hook, without the storm, is a nook of salt and brine wedded precariously at the seam of the Hudson and the Atlantic along the southern tip of Brooklyn. As New York City officials assessed the incalculable damage of Sandy, old men of the neighborhood, besieged by tattoos, weathered skin, and oxen strength began the task of cutting back tangled trees, pumping basements, and ultimately rebuilding Red Hook with the same affection a captain feels for his ship. Red Hook with its myths and misdemeanors is the perfect demonstration of neighborhood pride where residents feel as much of an obligation to care for its streets as officials should. For them, there is no I in storm.

Crack of glass, rot of leaf, flood of basement, no relief!

Cacao Prieto’s former and future glory

Red Hook, as it always does, will return to its quiet glory of gnarled iron, biker bars, oysters, and moonshine. With it too, a renaissance of Cacao Prieto, Widow Jane, Key Lime Pies, and Red Hook Winery, mermaids of sorts who swim between the raindrops. These daring few have helped reestablished Red Hook as a mecca for “locavores”, “small-batch-avores”, and the artisanally crazed, redrafting the once entirely unsavory narrative of Red Hook into the perfect semblance of bitter and sweet. Widow Jane with Cacao Prieto are perfect examples of this marriage, recently hosting a fete for the launch of the former’s 7 year whiskey reserve. Between tastings of their various brews, party goers (myself included) feasted on heavenly roasts, thick cuts of chocolate, and pickled everything. When the band strummed its last tune, friends and I ventured nearby to Sunny’s for local beers and blue grass. The next day, we returned to Red Hook Winery where good friends ponder the outcome of this year’s harvest over bubbling cauldrons of fermenting Long Island grapes.

Ferment the flora, roast the pig, Long Island, wrong island to pick a fight with.

When tides recede, and doors reopen, I encourage you to make haste and taste for Red Hook. For more information on Red Hook or any of the locations mentioned this article don’t hesitate to contact us at


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