Red Hook and Carroll Gardens were originally considered by residents to be one neighbourhood until the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway was built in the late 1940's. This cut Red Hook off from the rest of the neighbourhood, leaving both sections to form their own unique character.
Red Hook is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in New York and is the only part of the city to have a full frontal view of the Statue of Liberty. A friend of Sicilian Connections told us that she used to stare up at the statue out of her window as a little girl and imagine her Italian ancestors, generations before her, doing exactly the same thing. The neighbourhood's location along the waterfront meant that many Italians moved here to work as longshoremen and Red Hook is also well known for being the first home of the notorious Al Capone.
The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary & St Stephen Church in Carroll Gardens was the first Roman Catholic church to be opened in the Diocese of Brooklyn, which comprised the whole of Long Island, including Queens. Every year this parish now holds a procession and feast for Our Lady Maria S.S Addolorata which concludes with a wonderful fireworks display. The annual Feast of Santa Rosalia, now held in Bensonhurst, was actually founded in the Carroll Gardens area. The procession originally involved followers walking barefoot through the streets of the neighbourhood to show their devotion to the Patron Saint of Palermo.