Historic Red Hook waterfront vessels quiet, for now
But performing arts can still be found nearby
Two historic retired vessels in the waters off Red Hook that serve the public are still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, although one is still presenting programs in a temporary park nearby.
The two are the Waterfront Museum, located at the foot of Conover Street, a former Lehigh Valley wooden railroad barge; and the Mary A. Whalen, a historic former oil tanker docked off Pier 11 in the Atlantic Basin.
The Waterfront Museum was once Lehigh Valley Barge No. 79, one of many wooden barges that ferried goods across the Hudson River. When David Sharps, a former circus juggler, found the barge, it was covered in mud near the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in the 1980s.
Sharps undertook a huge cleanup effort, then moved the barge to Red Hook in 1994. Since it became a museum, the barge has contained exhibits of nautical equipment and often has hosted circus performances, performances by theater groups, folk music and more. It’s also a frequent destination for school classes and youth groups.