Where Form Meets Function: Exploring Red Hook with Papillionaire
Sometimes, living in New York, I give in to the idea of function over form. Like the subway, for instance, which I try to avoid at all costs. But sometimes, traffic will prevent you from making it to a meeting on time and the subway becomes a neccesity.
Like most New York City residents, I’m always searching for the most painless, or fastest, or sometimes the cheapest - mode of transport. Sometimes sacrificing form for function.
That was until I discovered a bike that combines form and function. Papillonaire Bicycles in Red Hook Brooklyn, does just that. Recently, I spent the day with Papillionaire in Red Hook, trying out my hand at urban cycling.
I am not a cyclist by any means. In fact, I’m probably the only 20 something in Manhattan who hasn't even tried Soul Cycle (exercise is not one of my enthusiasms). But a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find not only a mode of transport that kept me above ground (goodbye, subway), but a mode of transport that was just as finely crafted and beautiful as it is practical. Papillionaire is an Australian company which opened it;s first American outpost in Red Hook to supply New Yorkers with a unique solution - a bike that is well suited for city travel while still being aesthetically pleasing.
Papillionaire’s shop along Van Brunt Street in Red Hook could make a cycling enthusiast out of just about anyone. Even me, to my surprise. It is lined with candy colored bikes that evoke the vintage imagination. Mint, baby blue, yellow, red with bells and beautiful leather seats, they are a sight to behold.
I couldn’t wait to pick one out and take it for a spin. I chose fire engine red. Perfect for rides in Central Park in Fall. Every bike is hand assembled in Red Hook and you can pick it up or order it right to your door - anywhere in the country. But what fun, I thought, to try out my first day as a cyclist by exploring part of the city I had never been to before - Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Red Hook has changed dramatically over the past decade. An old area once filled with large factories and store houses, now has a pedestrian and culinary life all its own. On the water overlooking Manhattan, I marveled at how Red Hook, much like the beautiful bicycles by Papillionaire, infuses a sense of vintage function with form. Many of the old factories and warehouses have been converted and there are plenty of restaurants, shops, galleries and even a massive Fairway to be visited.
As I pedaled around Red Hook, slowly at first, and then with more confidence in the city streets. Papillionaire bicycles are made for cyclists of all levels. They allow you to ride with ease, whether it’s over cobble stoned streets or smooth paths. And the people at Papillionaire will help you with just about every aspect of city cycling.
As I left with my new red bike in tow, I realized being a cyclist doesn't have to mean that I ride hours on end. In fact, for me, Papillionaire Bicycles gave the opportunity to cycle with ease and enjoy a city that I so often take for granted in the frenzy of getting from place to place.
I can’t wait to ride my bike around Manhattan this Fall and for the perfect September outing, visit Papillionaire in Red Hook and some of my other favorite spots there.
Papillionaire, 390 Van Brunt Street
Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies, 185 Van Dyke Street
Hometown Bar-B-Que, 454 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn Crab, 24 Reed Street
Baked, 359 Van Brunt Street
Rocky Sullivan's, 39 Van Dyke Street