Elevated trip to Red Hook

When arriving at the Smith-Ninth Streets station on the G or the F line, you’re hit with a tremendous view of the Manhattan skyline and the very industrial view of the Gowanus Canal and Gowanus Expressway. It’s the city subway system’s highest above ground station, 88 feet above street level.

What You Need To Know

  • The Smith-Ninth Streets station is the highest above ground station in the NYC Subway System at 88 feet above street level
  • Red Hook features restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and views of New York Harbor
  • There are cultural destinations like the Waterfront Museum and Showboat, which is on the only surviving wooden railroad barge still afloat
  • Red Hook is also home to Brooklyn’s only indoor mini-golf course, which also features three escape rooms

From there, if you walk under the Gowanus Expressway, you are in Red Hook, where inside a commercial building on Court Street is 18 holes of fun. Shipwrecked is Brooklyn’s only indoor mini golf course, the creation of Ryan Powers with longtime friend Chris Schneider, who brought their experience working behind the scenes on Broadway to Brooklyn.

“Providing people with a theatrical experience is kind of what we are all about,” Powers said.

You can actually play a hole on a mock-subway car, among other fun scenarios.

And Powers and Schneider added another form of entertainment to Shipwrecked since it opened six years ago: three escape rooms are available, each with a different theme.

“You are locked in this room. You have to find puzzles, clues, to find your way out that exit door there,” Powers said.

After golf and escaping an ancient temple — one of the themed escape rooms at Shipwrecked — how about some history of the New York Harbor? That can be found at the Waterfront Museum on the Lehigh Valley 79, the only surviving all-wooden covered Hudson River railroad barge still floating. It was used way before trucks and highways were used for transporting cargo.

“Barges like this carried cargo from the ships over to the railroad terminals,” said David Sharps, president of the museum.

It was Sharps who purchased the barge for $500 to preserve it and use for education and entertainment.

“We do school groups, camp groups, senior groups, a variety of performances and our free open hours from Saturdays from 1 to 5 and Thursday from 4 to 8,” Sharps, who spent years entertaining on cruise ships before taking over as captain and caretaker of the 79, said.

If you need a break from the fun and history, Red Hook has plenty of places to eat and drink. There’s the legendary Sunny’s Bar, basically across the street from the barge. For a meatball or sausage and peppers hero, try the century-old still family-run Defonte’s Sandwich Shop. Or for barbecue, Hometown Bar-B-Que on Van Brunt Street has become a culinary destination with its ribs, brisket and sides like mac and cheese and of course, cornbread.

Flatbush native Jon Moss has worked pretty much every job at Hometown, and is now the pit boss. He says their success is based on the variety they provide through their food.

“I think most of it is just like a culmination of being from New York, trying things that have been inspired by other places, such as the Korean Sticky Ribs here, the pastrami bacon, our brisket our spare ribs are from Texas, but just like that melting pot of being from New York,” Moss said.

If you have room for dessert, and you really should, try Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie on Van Dyke Street near the Valentino Pier, where you can get a chocolate-dipped pie on a stick called a “swingle.” The pier also has some pretty spectacular views of the harbor.

So a trip to the Smith-Ninth Streets station will bring you to an opportunity to escape, experience the neighborhood’s past and grab some great eats.


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