Winning ‘Formula’: Race fans bring surge of activity to Red Hook during event

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Photo gallery

Ready to drive: Virigin founder Sir Richard Branson was one of his team’s back-up drivers for the race.
Speedy: Drivers raced around the track at speeds up to 140 miles per hour.
Number one: The race was New York City’s first major car race.
Celebrate: Team Virgin’s Sam Bird celebrates the first of his two victories on Saturday.
Big bang: There was a lot of confetti.
Drink up: Bird has a drink to celebrate his second win of the weekend on Sunday.
It’s the Brooklyn way: Formula E champion Sam Bird shows some love for Brooklyn.

Talk about a jolt of excitement!

Massive electric-car race Formula E zoomed into Red Hook last weekend for its inaugural competition in New York City, and while fans said the green sport drew smaller crowds than its gas-guzzling older brother, it still satisfied their need for speed.

“Overall, it was a great event,” said David Cippitelli, a Long Island resident who regularly attends Formula 1 races. “Everybody said the crowds were insane, but I didn’t think they were that bad. I’m used to the crowds for Formula 1 races, which are a lot bigger.”

Drivers zipped around the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at speeds up to 140-miles-per hour as fans including actors Chris Hemsworth and Leonardo DiCaprio looked on.

DS Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird took first place in the races on July 15 and 16, popping champagne on the podium with Sir Richard Branson — the team’s owner and back-up driver for the weekend — to celebrate.

The action extended from the track to the event’s fan village, where Cippitelli said his two youngsters were captivated by displays that educated attendees about the battery-powered sport.

“They loved all of the stuff there,” he said. “They were totally enthralled with all of the fan activities.”

Race-goers flooded area businesses after the big event, according to Cippitelli, who said the wait at Red Hook Lobster Pound was an hour-long when he tried to grab a bite.

Local merchants confirmed the hordes, and some said the weekend’s festivities brought them more business than ever before.

“Saturday was our busiest day yet, and Sunday ran a close second,” said Kristina Frantz, co-owner of Dolce, a gelateria on Van Brunt and King streets.

The sweet shop served a special, event-inspired gelato made with espresso and glycerine — the tasteless, edible liquid Formula E racers use to power their cars — and drivers, fans, and some very important people who Frantz declined to name all sampled the frosty treat, she said.

The “Soul Fuel” flavor has been so popular that Dolce will continue to serve it for the near future, according to the co-owner, who called Formula E’s visit to the neighborhood a success and cheered the sport for its environmentally-friendly sensibility.

“It was great for Red Hook,” Frantz said. “And I think it’s a great thing in general to work with sustainable energy rather than polluting everything.”

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 5:57 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

John M. from Red Hook says:
Fake News - the event turn out was awful - most businesses were not bribed by formula E and we're asked to donate their products for the event. Hilarious when you look at the money behind this. I hope it never returns and is finished using Red Hook with little to no give back. EDC SHOVED THIS THROUGH WITHOUT ENSURING REAL BENEFIT FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
July 19, 2017, 4:06 pm
Mark from Red Hook says:
The Race was good exposure for the Neighborhood and Businesses there.
Thinking about moving to Red Hook?
July 20, 2017, 7:49 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: