Ah, Red Hook. The industrial waterfront neighborhood that was once home to the planet's busiest freight port is quickly transforming into one of New York City’s hottest residential neighborhoods. It has an Ikea. It’s now served by a new ferry service. It’s easily accessible by car via the Gowanus Expressway and the BQE.
Yet, even with all of those amenities, Red Hook’s growth is inhibited by the lack of one key feature: easy subway access. Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to change that.
In his 2018 State of the State address on Wednesday, Cuomo laid out a slate of proposals that serve to frame his administration’s agenda for the coming year. The speech in many parts felt like a warm-up for his imminent presidential campaign but also came with at least one intriguing item that caught the attention of New York City’s transit and urban planning nerds. He called upon the Port Authority to explore the possibility of relocating the Red Hook Container Terminal to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, freeing up the neighborhood for a development not unlike the ongoing Hudson Yards project on the West Side. From there, he also called upon the MTA to commission a study that will look into options for improving transportation access to Red Hook, specifically by extending subway service from Lower Manhattan to a new station in the neighborhood.
This proposal is ambitious and bumps heads with the proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector, a concept streetcar service that’s received the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio. It also echoes a similar proposal by construction group AECOM from 2016, which called for a series of shiny new skyscrapers and a new subway station to be constructed in the neighborhood.
All of these proposals are far from being approved, but each of them point to the notion that Red Hook is ripe for expansion, and public officials and developers alike are eager to re-engineer the area.