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1990: "The Crack Capital of America"
In 1990, Life Magazine named Red Hook the "crack capital" of America and listed it as one of the worst neighborhoods in the country. Red Hook had indeed sunk into a mire of poverty and crime, the low point of which was reached in 1992 when beloved elementary school principal Patrick Daly was killed in the crossfire of a drug-related gun battle while trying to visit a student of his. The elementary school was re-named in his honor, and three teenagers were convicted for his murder. The legacy of that day was not only the senselessness in Daly's death but also the ruined lives of all the families involved. Red Hook had reached its nadir. In the decades since, crime has steadily declined in Red Hook, and while poverty and unemployment are still endemic, the quality of life for all residents has improved.