POOL PROJECT: August 29, Red Hook

by elizabeth | August 31st, 2010

The Red Hook pool is one of my favorites! I have gone there many times over the years, and it is great. There is a whole ecosystem there – one side for adult lap swim (complete with people tanning and reading The New Yorker), and one side for total Marco Polo-cannonball-handstand insanity. Plus, as I discovered on this trip, the wading pool & fountain area, though clearly intended for small children, is really fun.

A little history: Red Hook points into the East River and was originally named for that and for its reddish soil. The area has a long record as a shipping center, but when the shipping container was invented in the 1950s, much of the shipping in New York Harbor moved to the New Jersey shore. (By the way, did you know that you could fit enough shoes for a new pair every day for 34 years in one container?)

The trolley also left in the 1950s, and Robert Moses’s Gowanus Expressway (part of the BQE) cut the area off from the rest of Brooklyn, leaving it with poor transportation and poor people. In the 1970s, artists started moving in thanks to a housing incentive program, and since then it has slowly changed. IKEA opened a store here in 2008, and there are quite a few “hipster” businesses. But much of the neighborhood is still full of warehouses and abandoned streets.

The pool itself is immediately surrounded by athletic fields, and on weekends these fill with primarily Latinos playing uniformed games of soccer. Where the soccer is, the Guatemalan food trucks follow, and any trip to the pool should be followed by a plate of chiles rellenos or pupusas!

We (Paul Sanwald, Henry Do, Colter McCorkindale, Sarah Landreth, Micaela Zahner, Assaf Kedem, and myself) had a great time swimming and eating…. here are a few remembrances from the group:

Micaela Zahner:

We had a quintessential summer day complete with swimming, sprinklers, laughing, Red Hook food trucks, and even some incidental tanning. Such things are so special as we prepare to say goodbye to summer in the upcoming weeks. I also enjoyed the childhood trick of flipping our wet hair back like colonial wigs. Yes!

Assaf Kedem:

“So near, and yet so far!” That’s my most concise way to describe having to walk around the entire pool just to get into the lane that’s right beside me, so as not to cross through a sliver of the pool that’s cordoned off. But despite the umpteen rules and regulations of pool operators, there’s no better treat than cool-water relief in the sweltering heat — especially with good friends!

STATUS: 26 down, 9 to go

One Response to “POOL PROJECT: August 29, Red Hook”

  1. I don’t think there was any better way possible for us to celebrate Michael Jackson’s birthday.


Leave a Reply


elizabeth! is a vocalist, trombonist, and songwriter working in NYC and Los Angeles. Originally from Vermont, she studied neuroscience at Harvard before moving to NYC to play, tour, and record with jazz musicians, indie rockers, pop stars and more. Her new album of original jazzy pop tunes was just released on Canopy Jazz!

Upcoming Shows

See All Shows



Arts Resources


Groups I'm In

Music Colleagues