On these leisurely summer weekend days, the smell of barbecue in the air is practically irresistible. Over the past month, I've found myself out in Red Hook in pursuit of the hometown smells of the Texas in my youth. The place is called Hometown Bar-B-Que (website), and it's the closest I've found - in terms of spacious ambience, woodsy smells, informality, the baby back ribs, Shiner Bock on tap, friendliness - to the Austin of my college years. Weirdly, outside the premises, Manhattan can be seen in the distance, and the best and most fun way to get there is via the IKEA ferry. You should try this some Saturday or Sunday.
Hometown Bar-B-Que is one of several strong Red Hook businesses that have emerged following Hurricane Sandy, so have a look around. While out there, be sure to take in the unconventional views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
Directions: Find your way to Pier 11 (Wall Street) in Manhattan for the IKEA ferry. At the landing in Red Hook, walk a few blocks west on Beard Street (on sunny days, wear a hat), and take a left on Van Brunt. The ferry route is noted on the map. It's a fast ride to and from Lower Manhattan. Where I come from, Wall Street is far, far away from a Main Street in rural Texas. Weirdly, not here.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from May and June 2014.