Sunny’s Bar. Photo by aolin (CC 2.0)


Rest in Peace Sunny Balzano, owner of Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn who passed away suddenly Thursday, leaving the neighborhood waterfront community mourning his loss.

We offer our deepest sympathies to his patrons and neighbors, family and friends. Bon Voyage, Mr. Red Hook! Fair winds and following seas…

Red Hook waterfront. Photo by jqpubliq (CC 2.0)


NPR: Sunny Balzano’s modest watering-hole in Brooklyn was a throwback to another time. It was known simply as Sunny’s, after the beloved bartender and raconteur who transformed a faded longshoremen’s bar into a local institution. He died Thursday at the age of 81, just weeks after the publication of Sunny’s Nights, a new book about his life and times.

Sunny’s Bar. Photo by pixonomy (CC 2.0)


Back in 1934, Red Hook was home to a thriving port and ship-building industry. “There’d be 10,000 people that worked across the street. We were the closest restaurant and bar. And we were one of I think like 40. This is the only one left of all of the old ones, you see?” [Sunny said]. Read, and listen to more from NPR here…

posted by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee