About New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook)
Both Cunard and Princess Cruises regularly turn ships around in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on the Buttermilk Channel, which separates Brooklyn from Governor's Island. Red Hook is a neighborhood in South Brooklyn, named for the red clay soil and the point of land projecting into the East River. Though it may not look like much now to the discerning traveler, Red Hook is the definition of "up and coming" -- high-end condos are being built, IKEA has arrived, and the Beard Street Pier walkway has potential to be a major waterfront attraction with postcard-perfect views of the New York Bay and Statue of Liberty.
The allure of sightseeing amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan is strong, particularly for first-timers, and the Red Hook port is close enough for cruisers to take advantage of all the Big Apple has to offer (for more info, read our New York port profile. But, don't pooh-pooh the idea of kicking around Brooklyn before or after your cruise.
While Brooklyn may seem, at first glance, to be a lot like Manhattan -- with heavy traffic, sizzling nightlife and diverse people, cultures and cuisines -- it is a destination in itself. With 2.5 million inhabitants, it is the largest New York City borough in terms of population; if it were its own city, it would be the fourth-largest in the United States. And, it has its own personal identity. You'll find residential areas of brownstones and corner stores, trendy streets packed with bars and clubs, and a bustling downtown area where women in business suits and pumps walk alongside hipster artists in jeans and sneakers.
Indeed, Brooklyn is defined by its diversity: African-American history is prevalent in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park boasts its own Chinatown, and in Flatbush, you'll feel like you are in the islands, mon. (Brooklyn boasts the largest Caribbean population outside of the actual Caribbean.) Even if you don't have time to visit a variety of Brooklyn's neighborhoods, you can take in this cultural dissonance simply by strolling along Smith Street. Known as Brooklyn's "restaurant row," Smith Street is lined with funky shops and ethnic eateries, with options for all budgets and tastes -- French, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Asian....
In the words of one Brooklyn resident, "Sure, you can take a subway into Manhattan for the night, but why would you want to?"
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