Join us for a Victor LaValle Fiction Reading in Red Hook, Brooklyn!

Join us for a Victor LaValle Fiction Reading in 
Red Hook, Brooklyn! 
Saturday, 17 June 20177:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public
The Geneseo Landing in Red Hook Program is pleased to announce the American Book Award-winning novelist Victor LaValle, author most recently of The Ballad of Black Tom, at the SUNY Geneseo learning space in Red Hook, 106 Ferris Street.
The Ballad of Black Tom, a retort to the racism of HP Lovecraft’s stories, was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2016, winner of the 2016 This is Horror Award for Novella of the Year, and a finalist for the 2016 Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Bram Stoker Awards.
Writing for Slate, Tammy Oler points out that “The Ballad of Black Tom couldn’t be timelier, for Lovecraft’s influence on pop culture is more powerful than ever, even as criticisms of his racism and xenophobia have swept through literary and fan circles.” For more about the book, read an interview with LaValle at
This reading is made possible through the sponsorship of the Teaching and Learning Center at SUNY Geneseo, and through the support of the Geneseo Landing in Red Hook program.
For more information, contact Dr. Lytton Smith, Geneseo Assistant Professor of
English / Creative Writing / Black Studies. We apologize for the late notice, but the details for the reading just came together and we wanted to be sure to share this important Geneseo event with you!

Lodging in Red Hook

If you are coming to Red Hook for your hybrid course, consider the following options. Please note that the Geneseo classroom is located at 106 Ferris Street, Brooklyn NY 11231.



The Look Red Hook — a 10-minute walk to Geneseo classroom

Holiday Inn Express — 15-minute drive or 30-minute public transportation to Geneseo classroom


Red Hook options

Carroll Gardens options (bus ride from Red Hook)

Park Slope options (bus ride from Red Hook)

Summer Courses in Red Hook!

Summer courses in Red Hook are now listed in Geneseo’s summer schedule and they are as follows:

ARTH 173 History of Western Art:  Neoclassic to Contemporary  with All Myzelev   6/13 – 7/08

GEOG 377  Urban Geography with Jennifer Rogalsky      5/16 – 6/24

ENGL 202   Reading as Writer:  Writing NYC  with Jess Fenn    5/16 – 6/24

INTD 288   Intro to Visual Culture  with  Todd Goehle    6/27 – 8/05

PLSC 140   International Politics   with  Changkuk Jung    5/16 – 6/24


All courses are hybrid – a mix of online and in-person site visits to Red Hook, each of which will be one-day experiences, do not require student housing, but will be most accessible for students who can be in Red Hook for these days. (NYC, New Jersey, Westchester County, and Long Island based).

Questions? Email me at

Livingston CARES returns to Brooklyn!

8 Geneseo students came to Brooklyn with Livinston CARES over Spring Break to continue the work of the January trip just two months ago. Through a partnership with Rebuilding Together NYC, the students worked at a designated home in Canarsie, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.



The group came to Red Hook for one afternoon:

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They visited Coney Island:

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And later in the week installed solar panels on additional houses in the Canarsie neighborhood:


The next group returns to Brooklyn in mid-May!


For more information on Livingston CARES, click here.

For more information on Rebuilding Together NYC, click here.


Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook – a memoir


Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook opened in 1890 – it’s a local favorite and reminds residents of a Red Hook from long ago, when longshoremen gathered after working at the docks, and now today stands as a community hub where one can always find live music, sometimes comedy, and the occasional figure drawing class. The bar is now known throughout NYC for its homey charm and intricate variety of trinkets and treasures – it feels like nothing has changed since the days when Red Hook was one of the busiest ports in the country.

Tim Sultan, former magazine editor and Sunny’s bartender, wrote a memoir about Sunny’s Bar called Sunny’s Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World. In it, Sultan describes stumbling upon Sunny’s after taking a wrong turn trying to get to Park Slope, and the friendship with the bar and Sunny himself that follows. The New York Times writes:

There are many rewards in this book: historical facts about Red Hook. Photographs and illustrations. A boating accident. Mobsters. A mystery involving a grisly murder. The people who come to the bar, including a transvestite who appears one day on an enormous tricycle and sings “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” The world Sunny grew up in, peopled by folks like “Lip-Lip” Leo, a tiny man with “dwarf-like features. . . . Something was broken in his mind and when a fire engine or an ambulance or a garbage truck drove by, Lip-Lip Leo would run after it like a territorial dog.”

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Sunny’s Nights is available on Amazon! Check it out here.

Recap: Livingston CARES in Brooklyn


Geneseo’s Livingston CARES sent a group of six current students to Brooklyn in the final week of the intersession. Livingston CARES partnered with Red Hook-based nonprofit Rebuilding Together NYC to assist with the organization’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. This was Livingston CARES’ first trip to Brooklyn.

The students – plus one supervisor, Lisa Burns, Geneseo’s Director of Outreach and Programming for Finger Lakes Opera – worked in Canarsie, Brooklyn on one home’s damaged basement. We spent two nights in Red Hook, one for a walking tour, and another for dinner at the local favorite, Jalopy Tavern.

Livingston CARES has a Spring Break trip to Brooklyn March 13-19. Click here to learn about volunteer opportunities with Livingston CARES.


Recap: Red Hook Community Summit

On Saturday January 30, over 50 Red Hook residents gathered together at Summit Academy Charter School to kick off the Red Hook New York Rising Committee’s participation in the Livable Neighborhoods Program. The summit aimed to bring community organizations and efforts geared toward resiliency all to one place to encourage collaboration and resource sharing.

summit - project list

There are so many ongoing projects in Red Hook including a migrogrid, an integrated flood protection system, resilient construction, and a variety of emergency and storm preparedness resources.

The first Livable Neighborhoods Programs meeting is Wednesday February 3 and will provide information on NYC Government and Planning 101.

For more information, read the coverage in the Red Hook Star Revue.


Upcoming Event: Red Hook Community Summit

The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee (Geneseo/I sit on the committee) was chosen by the Municipal Arts Society to participate in the Livable Neighborhoods Program. The program involves a series of workshops in the chosen neighborhoods, between January and May, that aim to educate residents on topics like planning, economic development, and government advocacy.

The kick-off event for the Livable Neighborhoods Program in Red Hook is the Red Hook Community Summit, where local organizations will present for five minutes on projects related to resiliency. Given that Hurricane Sandy hit and affected Red Hook just a few years ago, there is not a shortage of community projects presenting.

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1770 map shows change in Red Hook shoreline

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The O’Connell Organization put together an informative article on Red Hook’s history and its changing landscape visible through historic maps.

Below is the Ratzer Map, called the “Plan of the City of New York”, and drawn by the “Da Vinci of New York Cartography”, Bernard Ratzer. The map shows Red Hook’s original shoreline, which has changed quite a bit since 1770. From a New York Times article about the restoration of the Ratzer Map:

“Manhattan, at least the part shown here, was mapped as precisely as any spot on the Earth at the time,” said Robert T. Augustyn, co-author of ”Manhattan in Maps: 1527-1995” (Rizzoli International Publications, 1997). “There was no more beautiful or revealing a map of New York City ever done.”

“It’s one of the ways we know about how this place looked before the grid really took hold,” said Matthew A. Knutzen, geospatial librarian in the New York Public Library’s map division.

ratzer map.jpg

For more maps and history, including images of the 1892 Core of Engineers map and the Sanborn Company map, visit the O’Connell Organization website.



Student meet-up: Red Hook historic walking tour

We’re hosting a Geneseo student meet-up in Red Hook during the intersession that will include a historic walking tour and a Waterfront Museum tour. See details below, and spread the word – all are welcome, and will be joined by the Livingston CARES service trip to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

When: Monday January 11

Time: 4 pm

Where: Behind Fairway grocery store in Red Hook, Brooklyn – 500 Van Brunt St  (see map below)

Walking tour at 4 pm is FREE, Waterfront Museum is $9 per person.
Getting to Fairway: B61 bus to Van Dyke/Van Brunt St, Fairway visible on Van Brunt St from stop
Closest subway with B61 stop: F/G at Smith-9th St

RSVP here