Ferry trips: Red Hook, Brooklyn; and Rockaway, Queens

We’ve mapped out two sweet ferry trips. Even sweeter: Both bring money to Sandy-slammed destinations.

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Take two of our favorite ferry trips in NYC and spend a summer afternoon exploring these seaside neighborhoods. Brooklyn gem Red Hook is packed with DIY charm, arty enclaves and great grub. And Rockaway boasts plenty of on-the-beach fun (duh), not to mention boozy seasonal drinks, New York nightlife and more.

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  • Photograph: Liz Clayman

    Ferry to Red Hook

  • Photograph: Liz Clayman

    Red Hook Pool

  • Photograph: Liz Clayman

    Pioneer Works

  • Photograph: Liz Clayman

    Red Hook Bait & Tackle

  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

  • Photograph: Liz Clayman

    View of the Statue of Liberty from Red Hook

Photograph: Liz Clayman

Ferry to Red Hook

  1. Red Hook
  2. Rockaway

Red Hook


How to get there: Central Brooklyn’s waterfront ’hood is a hike, but this very inaccessibility is the reason it’s retained much of its native industrial character and laid-back vibe. On Saturdays and Sundays, a free ferry sets sail every 25 minutes from Pier 11–Wall Street (South St between Gouverneur Ln and Wall St; visit nyc.gov/dot for schedule) and drops you off at Red Hook–Van Brunt, a small pier near Fairway Market (480–500 Van Brunt St at Reed St).

What to do: Mosey (or bike—two-wheelers ride free on the ferry, and you’ll be covering lots of ground) eight blocks to Red Hook Pool (155 Bay St between Clinton and Henry Sts; 718-722-3211, nycgovparks.org; lock required for entry; free), built during the WPA era. At 330 by 130 feet, it’s one of the largest pools in the city—which means you should have plenty of floating space even if it’s busy. Dry off and head across the street to the Red Hook Ball Fields (Bay St at Clinton St, redhookfoodvendors.com), home to a famous throng of food trucks slinging authentic Mexican and Latin American treats like Soler’s Salvadoran queso pupusas ($3 each), and cold horchata ($4) from Victor and Ana’s Blended Wonders. Burn off your feast by heading west and ducking into Pioneer Works, an art studio and event center founded last summer and housed inside a 130-year-old ironworks building (159 Pioneer St at Imlay St; 718-596-3000, pioneerworks.org). Currently on view is The Fly Room, a detailed re-creation of a 1920s genetic research lab (through Aug 22; free). Coming up in PW’s spacious backyard, check out an all-day postpunk-and-electro concert featuring Wolf Eyes (Aug 24 at 2pm; $15), as well as Syrian musician Omar Souleyman (Aug 31 at 3pm; $15). Grab a postculture drink down the street at inviting dive Red Hook Bait & Tackle (320 Van Brunt St at Pioneer St; 718-451-4665, redhookbaitandtackle.com), which bristles with taxidermy and nautical kitsch and pours crisp Geary’s Summer Ale ($5), one of six American beers on tap, at its knotty wooden bar. On your way back to the waterfront, follow the PIES 300 FEET sign to Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies (185 Van Dyke St at Ferris St; 718-858-5333, stevesauthentic.com). The bakery’s original location was damaged by Sandy, but owner Steve Tarpin bounced back with this new space in June. Order a four-inch tart ($5) or shareable eight-inch pie ($18), settle in at a picnic table out front and savor the crumbly goodness while watching the sun set over New York Harbor.—Jenna Scherer

  1. Red Hook
  2. Rockaway

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