You can’t take the subway to Red Hook, so it sort of feels like a neighborhood that decided to secede from the rest of Brooklyn. Here’s the plan.
Ferry: Catch the ferry at Wall Street Pier 11 or Corlears Hook if you’re coming from Manhattan, or in Dumbo if you’re coming from Brooklyn. The South Brooklyn line (look for the yellow sign) runs roughly every hour on weekends. The fare is $2.75, and you can download the NYC Ferry app ahead of time.
Bus Or Citi Bike: If you aren’t taking the ferry, plan on taking the B61 bus or biking. There are a ton of Citi Bike docking stations in Red Hook, which we’ll get to in a second.
Stop One: A Lobster Roll Snack
You’re by the water, you’re very sweaty, and it’s time for lobster. Plus, stop two involves biking, and you don’t want to peddle in the sun on an empty stomach and become a ruder version of yourself. Red Hook Lobster Pound is a few blocks from the ferry stop, and it’s the best option around for cold seafood on a buttery roll. The rolls are fairly small, and come with delicious thick-cut fries and a pickle. Sit at one of the first come, first served outdoor tables, or get something to-go and eat on a bench on the waterfront. There’s a little room right by their to-go ordering area that has a big tub of live lobsters. Go check them out, and think about which species has it better off right now - us or the lobsters. We fear it may be the lobsters, despite the fact that they are being eaten as snacks.
Stop Two: Bike Around And Explore
Now that you have lemony lobster fuel, find a Citi Bike (there’s a station around the corner from Red Hook Lobster Pound), and explore the area. In our experience, Red Hook has more cyclists than cars, and there’s a great bike path that heads north toward Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’ll take you 15-20 minutes to bike there. Alternatively, you could stay in the neighborhood and bike around the waterfront area and the main Van Brunt Street strip where you’ll find a record shop called Record Shop, and delicious gelato at Dolce Brooklyn.
Stop Three: BBQ Or A Burger
After you bike, you should probably eat again. What do you think this is? A day of exercise? You likely already know about Hometown Bar-B-Que and you also likely already know that you should eat their pork ribs. But you might not know that they are currently only accepting online orders ahead of time. You can, however, pick up a beer or a cocktail at a cash-only takeout window. But for food, you have to plan ahead. It’s possible the wait time may be as long as 150 minutes (you can check at the top of the page here. They have a bunch of nice picnic tables for you to eat at once you get your food.
If you get burned by Hometown’s wait time or you’d rather eat a big juicy burger, know that their sister restaurant, Red Hook Tavern has a handful of tables set up around the corner from their spot on Van Brunt Street. You can think of the burger here as a distant cousin of the one at Peter Luger. It’s a minimalist sandwich with one thick patty, melty cheese, and a bunch of semi-sweet onions resting on top like they’ve had a long day. Red Hook Tavern is also selling nice bottles of wine, merch, and other specialty goods inside their restaurant.
Stop Four: Frozen, Chocolate-covered Key Lime Pie On A stick
While in Red Hook, you are legally obligated to eat a frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick from Steve’s. We don’t make the rules. The industrial space on the water has a bunch of picnic tables, and you can always take your pie-sicles to Louis Valentino Jr. Park right next to Steve’s - it has a glorious view of the water and the Statue Of Liberty. Sit in the grass and plan your ferry ride home.