MTV's ode to Red Hook, aka The Real World: Brooklyn, debuted last night. As if an hour of reality television wasn't fun enough, Curbed invited a longstanding Red Hook resident to watch the show with us and offer his observations on the, er, veracity of the whole affair. Friends, meet Vincent Van Brunt (NB pseudonym!), whom we sat beside last night and transcribed the following chatter.
[prior to show]: "I haven't talked to anyone in Red Hook who signed the agreement to be broadcast. Baked maybe allowed them in, and the Clover Club. Meanwhile: Brooklyn Social? No. Bait and Tackle? Famously no. Sunny's? No. All the main Red Hook Bars -- where everyone's always drunk -- all turned the producers down. My feeling is we'll find out the cast members are sleeping in Carroll Gardens and going out in Manhattan. I don't know anyone who saw them in Red Hook.
"Oh, you know that bar Botanica that opened up this summer in the Coffey Heights region of Red Hook, the corner of Coffey and Conover? It was built and opened suspiciously close to the time of the Real World, and rumor in the neighborhood had it that the producers had to build their own bar. It's a weird place, not always open.
"As for the pier they're supposedly living on: there's the Key Lime Pie guy's place out there, of course. Someone kidnapped his dog a few weeks ago. They're the soul of the neighborhood. Now, the whole pier area [and 28 acres of waterfront] is owned by Greg O'Connell, an old NYC cop who bought it all up years ago, and has been a very enlightened developer. But his son is your more typical second-generation douchebag, trying to milk it. He's the guy that put condos on top of Fairway and brought the Real World to the end of the pier. Because it's so perfect."
[Meet the Castmates opening montage: Chet: "Brooklyn is usually spoken of as a place you don't want to end up. I just hope I don't get shot down here."]
[Castmates board water shuttle near Brooklyn Bridge] "Nowhere near Red Hook. That's the dock all the Chinese people go to get their wedding photos taken. Now they have to get in a car to go to Red Hook." [shot of Manhattan Bridge] Wait, why are they going to Manhattan?" [next set of castmates spotted at Coney Island boardwalk] "We're suffering from total spacial confusion here. There's no reason anyone would meet on the Coney Island Boardwalk to go to Red Hook. Oh wait, she's cute."
[castmates board Ikea shuttle, arrive in Red Hook. Castmate: "We see the Statue of Liberty, and I feel completely liberated."] "Look how they've painted the ground. That dock was falling into the harbor a year ago." [opening credits] "Want to hear an interesting little factoid? The very first Real World, the wall the logo was painted on is now the Fairway building. It was left up there for years. So this is all sort of a homecoming."
[castmate: "I'm really excited to get out and see Brooklyn!] "Wait, they're nowhere near Red Hook. Is that Bed-Stuy?" [screenshot: L&B Spumoni Gardens restaurant] "Stop right there. They had to go to fucking Bay Ridge, or maybe Kensington. Wait, no, that's in Gravesend, Avenue U. That's way the fuck out there. They've been relegated to the outer rim of Brooklyn! Gravesend is the Missoula of Brooklyn. Fun fact: it's also the only Social Security office not named after the neighborhood it's in."
"It's so Brooklyn to play stickball. Sorry I was a little late tonight to watch this with you -- I was playing stickball." [See also, Beehive Hairdresser: "The cast was playing stickball a couple of blocks from my place [in Bay Ridge] -- on a VERY well known drug block. I worked on the corner of that block, I’ve seen the mess that comes out of that hotel over the years, and just this past summer a house further up on that block was busted with a RICO case for drug distribution. Bottom line, what I’m trying to say is this?you don’t just end up on that block."]
"So far, not one street in Red Hook."
"So, just to sum up what we've seen: of course they literally had to go find real bridge-and-tunnel people [at a bar] who would find any of this acceptable. They found the other people who'd never be allowed into a bar in Red Hook. [castmate: "Every time they mention the name Brooklyn, everyone is screaming!"] Who are these yawbos? I want to hang out with these people."
[later in episode, castmates get in car to go out to eat... cross into Manhattan] "Another Manhattan skyline shot! Wait, of course they're going to Chelsea. Roll credits already."
REAL WORLD RED HOOK REALITY SCORECARD, EPISODE 1
Minutes spent on streets of Red Hook: 0
Number of Red Hook venues frequented (besides home at the pier): 0
Number of stickball games on streets of Gravesend: 1