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Did you ever wonder what Red Hook looked like one hundred or two hundred years ago? Well, the map above won't really show you, but Corie does think it explains why much of Red Hook becomes flooded when it rains. Ever the research fiend she is, Corie found an article from the April 19, 1896 issue of Brooklyn Daily Eagle which had an overlay of South Brooklyn in 1776 and 1896. She then took that map and overlaid it with a present day map of the area to show how much of the area used to be marshland. Detailing the changes in the area, she writes:

In the 1830’s, Court Street was brought down to grade and until the early 1840’s, the Brooklyn Eagle states that one could not see more than thirty buildings south of Atlantic Avenue. This quickly changed. In 1848, J.S.T. Stranahan & Carmichael were contracted for what was known as the "Bergen Hill Improvement." The hill, which is said to have been a popular "resort for sport and mischief," was surrounded by woods and required a nearly 130-foot cut to bring it down to the level of Court Street. The land was then used to fill in sections of the Red Hook marshland from Harrison [Kane] Street south to Hamilton Avenue, including Columbia Street.

Stranahan, who was also responsible for the Atlantic Basin and later had his fingers dipped in Prospect Park planning and the Brooklyn Bridge, then filled in the majority of Van Brunt Street, whose point had, until that time, only been accessible via boat because of the tide waters. A few cottages were built in the area however, upon the opening of the basin and more available land, the area was inhabited quite quickly. An additional peak was leveled west of Van Brunt Street closer to Red Hook Point. This area, bounded by Ferris, Coffey, Conover Streets and the River, was a popular beach spot and, according to the Eagle, comparable to Coney Island. It rose nearly seventy-five feet above the current (current meaning 1898) grade.

Red Hook, a popular beach spot? We can see the developers already putting that on their brochures while ignoring the fact that the neighborhood is in Zone A of NYC's Hurricane Evacuation plan and that the Flood Map would have that beach (and any fancy apartment) nice and wet.