Red Hook Recreation Center gym gets $115k renovation, courtesy of anonymous donor

people in new red hook recreation center gym
The gym at the Red Hook Recreation Center received a swath of upgrades, thanks to an anonymous donor.
Photo courtesy of Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

The Red Hook Recreation Center got some major upgrades, after an anonymous donor shelled out big bucks to improve the fitness emporium’s gymnasium. 

After years of the center falling into disrepair, the gym now features a shiny new maplewood floor, a new scoreboard and wall padding, and rubber flooring. The walls have been freshly painted and decorated with decals, and new lockers should arrive this summer, according to the city’s Parks Department.

“From basketball and volleyball to holiday celebrations, the Red Hook Recreation Center gym is beloved by local athletes and also acts as a gathering space for the community,” Parks Department Commissioner Sue Donoghue said in a statement. 

red hook recreation center unveiling
Parks department officials and a representative for the donor unveiled the new flooring, freshly-painted walls, and more on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

Donoghue, along with local Council Member Alexa Avilés and John P. L. Kerry, a representative for the donor, unveiled the renovations with flourish on Tuesday.

The altruistic donor,  who opted to stay out of the spotlight, bankrolled the project with a whopping $115,000 donation to the city’s Adopt-a-Park program

“We are so grateful for the generous donation to give this gymnasium a much-needed makeover so it can continue to serve the residents of Red Hook,” Donoghue said. 

parks department commissioner speaks at podium
Parks commissioner Sue Donoghue said the department is “grateful” for the generous donor. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

Red Hook’s recreation center has long been in need of upgrades — it was badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy, and reconstruction and renovations have still not been started on some parts of the building. 

In September 2021, the rec center’s boiler was damaged in Hurricane Ida, which forced another months-long closure. Both the rec center and the nearby Red Hook ballfields reopened early last year, bringing back much-needed space for fun and public programming to the nabe. 

The gymnasium renovation kickstarted a revival of the space, which hosts sports programs for Brooklynites of all ages, programs hosted by local organizations, and annual community gatherings.

“There is no joy like a positive before and after transformation — especially in a place dedicated to recreation,” Kelly said. “How we play informs how we live. Thank you to the Parks Department and the Red Hook community for their enduring spirit and, specifically, for such a spectacular reinvention.” 

before and after pictures red hook recreation center gym
Before-and-after photos show the worn floors and aging equipment at the old gym. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

Large-scale post-Sandy renovations at the rec center are expected to cost more than $10 million, according to the parks department’s Capital Project Tracker, and are still in early stages. Design work is expected to be finished in November, at which point the city will begin searching for contractors. It is not yet known when construction will begin