Two months in Red Hook

Today is my last full day in my Red Hook sublet. I came here May 2, after having spent seven weeks staying with a friend in Long Beach, CA, and 10 days visiting my family in Orlando. Red Hook is dilapidated, friendly, geographically remote, and sky-filled. I always meant to take lots of photos while I was here because I saw so much that I found visually exciting, so many textures and colors. But I wound up just snapping things with my cellphone camera and, on a few occasions, with a cut-rate digital point-and-shoot. Here's a glimpse of what this place is like.

The view from Liberty Sunset Park:

A nice big R not far from my apartment:

Inside my sunny sublet:

Plus the view from the kitchen-sink window:

Living-room view of the street: I've heard that dealers hang shoes from power lines like this to signal that this is a place where drugs can be bought. And, in fact, there was supposedly a place next door that specialized in outfitting cars with hiding places for drugs. After a fight early one morning that ended in someone being shot and killed, the shop closed up. My neighbor in the house next door said one of the bullets sailed right into his house. This was about two or three years ago.

My apartment building is across from a school. I really love the red facade.

First moments in the apartment, May 2…

and first walk in the neighborhood, thoroughly disoriented. This cool graffiti-poster has since been painted over, even though the house it was plastered on is abandoned and crumbling.

Nice trees I noticed one of my first days here:

99¢ Dreams, as viewed from the B77 bus stop:

I talked with a lot of interesting people there, including a home health-care worker who was on her way to see a private patient in Bay Ridge. He's 25 and has been in a wheelchair and on a ventilator since he was a kid, when he was hit by a car. But, the woman explained to me, his hormones are still fully operational, and he has longings. The nurse tried to explain to his mother, whom she described as "very Catholic," that she should maybe get a girl in there to dance for him. The mom, naturally, did not think this was a good idea. "It's not fair," the nurse told me. "She had her life—she got married, had kids. I mean, give him a little leeway. Even God would not forsake someone a little coochie."

Street smarts:

The basketball court at the local recreation center,
where membership is $25 for six months:

On my walk home from the gym one day, I passed
these neatly filed stone slabs. They look like sheaves of
handmade paper, like something you'd see at New York Central.

The Statue of Liberty, a view I spent a lot of time enjoying at Liberty Sunset Park:

Me at the park, photographed by my friend Kristen using her iPhone.

When you live in the part of Red Hook that I do, which is roughly 25 blocks from the F/G train (the nearest subway stop), you really get to commune with public transportation:

The guy whose place this is puts the stickers he peels off his fruits on the wall near the sink. Over time, I added a few of my own.

There are a number of homemade memorials to people in the neighborhood. From what I gathered, this young guy died from an incurable illness. The photo they chose for his tribute is of him in a funny straw hat.

Summer night outside my apartment.

Dog that likes to give passersby a piece of its mind.

One night, I went over to Brooklyn Heights, which is so posh and staid compared with Red Hook, to see the Valentino documentary. I'd never been to this little cinema and loved it almost as much as I did the movie.

On another night, I tried Botanica, a beautiful but low-key bar on Conover Street that has an octopus-like chandelier and delicious drinks made with fresh fruit.

The living room two months into my stay.

My last weekend here.