Red Hook’s Beloved Fairway Market Closed ‘Indefinitely’ After Hurricane Sandy

The New York Times reports on the devastating flooding from Hurricane Sandy of Red Hook’s Fairway Market—a favorite of many Brooklyn Heights’ shoppers—and its impact on so many other smaller shops in the neighborhood. The 52,000sf waterfront grocery at the base of Van Brunt took on 5 feet of water and is closed indefinitely. The Times says: “Fairway was a destination after it opened in a striking, sprawling, brick-and-wrought-iron Civil War-era building six and a half years ago.”

Fairway Market suffered ruined floors and ovens, display cases tipped and shattered, a $50,000 coffee roaster is trashed, wooden cash registers were scattered everywhere… There’s also potential structural damage. Cheeses, breads, vegetables & canned goods blanketed the puddled floor. Workers threw out everything, filling 70 dumpsters.

UPDATE: More in The Brooklyn Paper, including photos, here.

Meanwhile, neighboring Italian wine shop Botta di Vino, which opened two and a half years ago, is also seeing the effects of the store closing. Co-owner Triciann Botta says, “It is the lifeblood of this neighborhood. I’m a wine seller. Food goes with wine. When we lost Fairway, we lost a big part of our customer base.” Others impacted: cafe & bar Fort Defiance, wine shop Dry Dock, gift shop Foxy & Winston, and restaurants Home/Made and the Good Fork (which took on 2 feet of water in its dining room).

Read more in the Times here. (Photo: Brooklyn Paper)

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  • bhres


    how did IKEA fair?

  • harumph

    so sad :(

  • harumph
  • Teddy

    I think Fairway should relocate to a safer location. I have this feeling that they’re considering that option right now. I don’t think they want to go through this a second time.

    Actually, there’s an empty lot on Atlantic Ave, near the PetSmart store, that would be a safe location and of course a more convenient location for residents of the Heights. Either that or tear down the current building and build a new building that’s elevated like the IKEA structure.

  • wonderman

    I think part of their appeal is the parking, and that location certainly accomodated lots of cars. Rebuild!

  • MonroeOrange

    Without a doubt rebuild. Teddy, by moving the location you hurt all the other small business that surround the area. I would never have gone to key lime pie shop if I didn’t see signs coming from fairway. The location is part of the charm, sitting out on the pier drinking coffee was wonderful. This was a once in a lifetime storm, ( yeah I know all about global warming, but this was a combination of factors). Rebuild, they converted that place once they can do it again.

  • Teddy


    If they rebuild at that location, they’ll have to do something to prevent this from happening again. The only options that I can think of are elevating their store (like IKEA) or building a sea wall, both expensive options. I think it’s a safe bet that some of the businesses down there will relocate because of Sandy.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind to see a Fairway open closer to the Heights. Maybe they could even keep the Red Hook location open as well, with some preventive measures against sea surge in place.

  • Gerry

    This was a dumb place to build a market.

  • Jorale-man

    If IKEA could build on the waterfront and survive okay, there’s no reason why Fairway can’t be better constructed too. Granted, it’s in an old warehouse, not a modern building, but should be able to design it better.

    A related thought: will the hurricane give Brooklyn Bridge Park pause about building the velodrome?

  • Teddy

    Short of tearing the building down (if they’re allowed to), and building a new structure that’s elevated like IKEA, I don’t know what they could do. That’s why I think they should relocate. It could be costly to remain there no matter what they end up doing. I know Red Hook will suffer, but with more storms coming in the next few years, that area is just too vulnerable to the climate changes we’re experiencing to remain commercially viable.

    As for BBP, I suspect Sandy will have some influence over any decision made on the park’s future. Sandy definitely opened a can of worms when it comes to development of our waterfront.

  • Wiley E.

    A huge loss to South Brooklyn. I hope they rebuild, and pray that another 100-year storm stays away for another 100-years. Fairway was the best. The waterfront cafe was breath-taking. Smiles were everywhere to be seen. I hope they come back.

  • AA

    I think you might want to check this out before rumors of Fairway’s “indefinite” closure are spread around. They’ll open in 2013 with a restaurant on the 2nd floor.


  • bagel boy

    Why not put the replacement in the bottom floor of the Mint bldg. 20 Henry ? They would all make a fortune. The. Nabe would benefit. Win win.

  • PromGal

    Fairway was a destination market and splendid café with parking. Here’s hoping they rebuild.
    This was a once every 100/200 year storm, highly unlikely to have that combination of storm/tide/full moon effect come together again.
    Rebuilding in Brooklyn Heights would be stupid.. just another supermarket with no space and no parking.

  • bagel boy

    It was only a destination market because the corrupt zoning boards and unions banished it to the most out of the way place possible. I’m sure the existing markets which are shamelessly overpriced and awful (Gristede. Key) made sure Fairway wouldn’t cut into its business. If it was in a big space in dumbo or downtown, parking would be irrelevant.

  • Wiley E.

    Fairway wasn’t cheap in prices. Things on sale were okay, but a lot of things were expensive. But they had a great selection, and their coffee selection was outstanding. The outdoor cafe and views were really nice, and they had a big, big parking lot. I hope they come back really soon at the old location.

  • Bob Stone

    While the conversation about rebuilding Fairway continues, does anyone know whether One Brooklyn Bridge Park suffering significant Sandy damage? Although nothing seems to have made it into the blogs or local papers, we’ve heard that there was significant damage and continuing heat/hot water outages. Anyone know?

  • Gerry

    @ Bob Stone – I hear through frends who live at One BBP that the lower basement where the HVAC, etc. was located was floooded and that everything must be replaced. National Grid has posted violations. Iit will be a long time for clean up and retoration of power. Several automobiles of residents here are ruined due to flooding. Elevators are down. Electricity is only partial a few volts per floor or unit/apt.

  • Bob Stone

    Thanks, Gerry.

  • Wiley E.

    I wonder if the “tax payers” will be footing the bills for updating 1BBP’s equipment? Wow.

    The velodrome would likely to have been a washout. I wonder what would have happen to the proposed Hotel and Condos, if they were in operation? The whole intersection of Furman and Atlantic was under 2′ of water.

    No wonder the BBP flooding news has been on the Hush.

  • Andrew Porter

    Teddy, Curbed reported that the vacant lot on Atlantic and Smith Street is being developed as condos and a hotel. And the whole point of having the store in the current location is because it’s a wonderful, historic building with a great appearance. One would no more tear it down than you would a building here, also with extensive historic appearance and location.

    MonroeOrange, this was not a once-in-a-lifetime storm. I remember several storms which had as much flooding. It’s just that now that lots of well off people live in Red Hook, and we have the BHB and the Internet, we’re more aware of the impact these storms have. There are hundreds of articles about the impact of storm surge on this area. Didn’t Bloomberg endorse Obama just because he didn’t laugh at climate change, unlike Romney and the Repubs did?

    Another place that suffered terrible damage there was Mile End, the 2-store chain (Hoyt Street and Bond Street in Manhattan) that supplies us with Montreal Smoked Meat and other goodies. Their place was trashed, and they are frantically looking for other suppliers and ways to recreate their offerings.

  • Teddy

    Andrew, did you mean Atlantic & Boerum because I’m aware of the hotel on Atlantic & Smith.

  • Gerry

    Floods and damage to both the BB Park and the One BBP Condo are being kept quiet – day 13 for all those residents in the dark, no heat, no elevator, etc.

  • resident

    @Gerry: Are you sure? A friend of mine that lives in one bbp never lost electricity and said they got elevators back on like the 3rd. Admittedly don’t know about their heat situation.

  • Wiley E.

    Speak-up, Krusty.

  • Riversider

    As of yesterday at One Brooklyn Bridge Park there are still floors with no running water. Those that have water are on temporary pumps. Not all the elevators are operational. The evening of the storm the large garage doors were left wide open on the north side. Once the waters reached the doors the sub basement was flooded. This started a fire and at 12:15 AM I witnessed people evacuating with children and pets up Joralemon Street. The fire was caused by the flooding to the basement though the open garage door.

    The flooding on the south side went all the way to Atlantic avenue and it seems the only reason that the flooding on Furman did not come down to Joralemon was because the fire brigade was there pumping out water from the area near the south side of the building during the storm.

    Did I mention the garage door was left open!!!! I can only assume they were more worried about residents needing to evacuate (who should of already been evacuated) with their automobiles during the storm than flooding. Many firefighters risked their lives to put out the fire many floors below ground to save residents who did not evacuate.

    I would presume their plans to rent out the bottom floors to commercial tenants, such as a grocery store or restaurant, have been greatly diminished. I would also suspect the park budget will be increased to put in safeguards for the residential tenants and allow the developer to make his profit on the ground level spaces.

  • bagel boy

    I saw the water come up from the promenade. Nothing would have stopped it. Door or no door. And it came up within an hour. The residents there are fools for not leaving. They are lucky the whole place didn’t burn down. I totally get it when you stay to prevent looters or you are too elderly or sick to move but these well heeled idiots could have just left for a hotel. They had over 12 hrs to do it. Instead they stocked up on wine and waited like it was some science project. Dumb dumb dumb !

  • Gerry

    @ Riversider – thanks for the report at One BBP.

    I suspect owners of these condos are re-thinking this heafty investment way more cons than pros right now and the vacant retail space will be vacant forever pushing the finances of this condo into distress.

    We are happy that we did not move into One BBP these units will be very hard to sell and costly to insure..

  • Gerry

    @ Riversider – thanks for the report at One BBP.

    I suspect owners of these condos are re-thinking this heafty investment way more cons than pros right now and the vacant retail space will be vacant forever pushing the finances of this condo into distress.

    We are happy that we did not move into One BBP these units will be very hard to sell and costly to insure.

  • yikes

    Vindication for those who said that this park is NO PLACE to build housing. Too bad Senator Squadron sold us all out. They are proceeding to build inside the park in DUMBO at John Street and and at Pier 1, too. They will “forget” about building Pier 6 until a new mayor and time passes but that creep gave away Pier 6 for housing, too.