Red Hook, Brooklyn
Concierge.com's insider take:
Times have changed since Red Hook housed the city's longshoremen. The docks now greet the Queen Mary 2 when it cruises into town, and the same locale is home to the huge yellow and blue warehouse that is IKEA. Gentrification on Van Brunt Street is proceeding apace, and this happening strip is a good starting point for a visit. Stop by Hope and Anchor for delish veggie omelets and Bloody Marys (347 Van Brunt St.; 718-237-0276). Baked is like an edgier Magnolia Bakery, with frosted Bundt cake, Wi-Fi, and a groovy interior by local firm Hivemindesign (359 Van Brunt St.; 718-222-0345). Red Hook Bait & Tackle has emerged as the neighborhood's de facto watering hole, where artists and old-timers down Blue Point ale and play darts (320 Van Brunt St.; 718-797-4892). A bit to the north lies Brooklyn Collective, a design coop featuring hand-dyed Milton Carter T-shirts and chunky gold-chain bracelets by Jess Yam (196 Columbia St.; 718-596-6231). Red Hook isn't accessible via subway—indeed, its remoteness is part of the appeal—but the New York Water Taxi runs a shuttle every hour on the weekends from Pier 11, on the corner of Wall Street and South Street in downtown Manhattan.