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1840s: A Shipping Port Grows in Brooklyn
Red Hook developed in the 19th century to be the busiest shipping port in the entire world. The neighborhood became known for its industry and many huge factories and warehouses were built along the waterside—buildings that are still there today. Despite, or rather because of, the profitable commercial reality of Red Hook, it wasn't really developed as a residential neighborhood for people other than dock workers and so it maintained its air of remoteness from the rest of Brooklyn. Although many New Yorkers amassed their wealth through business done in Red Hook, the actual population consisted mainly of dock workers—mostly Italian and Irish immigrants.