Birds eye view of Red Hook just prior to the construction of the Red Hook ball fields: 1935

Soon after this photo is taken, the area at the left of the composite photo with just a few scattered houses in an uneven field will become the Red Hook Ball Fields and recreational area. Part of this area had been home to a shanty town, which went by several names including 'Tin City" and "Orkenen Sur" which was cleared to make way for the ball fields. The latter is a Norwegian name "Bitter Desert" resulting from the high number of Norwegians sailors who ended up there when their country's shipping economy collapsed and there were no ships for them to sail home. In that era, sailors were not always contracted for a return trip voyage. They were often seeking their next boat after they arrived in port.

Also very soon to be built, in the area behind the ball fields, are the Red Hook Houses of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

The inlet with numerous small launches and lighters is the Henry Street Basin and much of it will be filled to make the ballfields, pushing the water further south.

The big blocky building with the grid pattern just right of center in the mid ground is the Sapolin Paint Company factory building on Clinton Street between Bush and Lorraine. That is now the Treasure Island storage building, and it's only current connection to paint is the Ti Art Studios artists' studios on the third floor. 

The photograph was likely taken from atop the Red Hook Grain Terminal


Red Hook Recreation Area:  birds eye view.  September 16, 1935

Red Hook Recreation Area: birds eye view. September 16, 1935

Source: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Collection Identifier: dpr_01680... View File Details Page

Birds-eye View of Red Hook, c. 2016

Birds-eye View of Red Hook, c. 2016

Source: Bing Maps ( Pictometry International Corp. - Microsoft) View File Details Page

Related Tour


  • "Red Hook Recreation Area: Swimming pool, birds eye view of entire area," September 16, 1935
    From the collection of NYC Parks & Recreation
    Identifier: dpr_01678 - dpr_0681
    New York City Muncipal Archives

    [Image is a composite of several related images from the  collection]

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