A streetcar that would snake along the East River in Brooklyn and Queens, perhaps bringing a flurry of new development along the waterfront, has the residents of one neighborhood lining up on either side of the proposal.
“I’d prefer that this neighborhood just stay off the map,” said Dave Hill, 38, as he served beer at Sunny’s Bar, the storied waterfront dive in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where he has worked for over a decade. “Most of us down here would.”
Not Nick Defonte. “I think it’s a great idea,” Mr. Defonte, 61, said from a table in the back of Defonte’s Sandwich Shop, which his family has owned since 1922. Mr. Defonte said he would welcome the development and the new residents that a streetcar could bring to the area.
“This neighborhood was rough,” he said, recalling the violence and the drug traffic that plagued the Red Hook area throughout the 1980s and 1990s. “It’s a long time coming.”
Many of the more than 10,000 residents of Red Hook credit its isolation — it is surrounded on three sides by water and cut off from the nearest subway by the Gowanus Expressway — with keeping housing costs lower, the streets quieter and gentrification slower than in other parts of Brooklyn.
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