Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Bay Ridge" redirects here. For the unincorporated community in Northampton County, Virginia, see Bay Ridge, Virginia.

{{Infobox settlement |name = Bay Ridge, Brooklyn |official_name = |other_name = |native_name = |native_name_lang = |nickname = |settlement_type = Neighborhood of Brooklyn |total_type = |motto = |image_skyline = 72nd Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.png |imagesize = |image_caption = Streetscape in Bay Ridge

| mapsize = 250x200px | pushpin_map = USA New York City | pushpin_map_caption = Location within New York City | latd = 40.6244160453 | longd = -74.0316771125

| subdivision_type = Country | subdivision_name = United States | subdivision_type1 = State | subdivision_name1 = New York | subdivision_type2 = City | subdivision_name2 = New York City | subdivision_type3 = Borough/County |subdivision_name3 = Brooklyn/Kings |seat_type = |seat = |parts_type = |parts_style = |parts = |p1 = |p2 = |government_footnotes = |government_type = |leader_title = Council Member |leader_name = Vincent J. Gentile |leader_title1 = |leader_name1 = |established_title = |established_date = |area_magnitude = |unit_pref = Imperial |area_footnotes = [1] |area_total_km2 = 5.8474734 |area_land_km2 = 5.300000,000 |area_water_km2 =1,230,50,50

|elevation_footnotes = |elevation_m = |elevation_ft = |elevation_max_m = |elevation_max_ft = |elevation_min_m = |elevation_min_ft =

|population_as_of = 2010 |population_footnotes = [2] |population_note = |population_total = 68,853 |population_density_km2 = auto |population_density_sq_mi = |timezone = |utc_offset = |timezone_DST = |utc_offset_DST =

|postal_code_type = ZIP code |postal_code = 11209, 11220Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). Well into the 19th century, what’s now considered Bay Ridge consisted of two sister villages: Yellow Hook to the north, named for the color of the soil, and Fort Hamilton to the south, named for the military installation at its center. The latter began to develop in the 1830s as a resort destination to lodge visitors to the army base. The former began to develop after 1850, when a group of artists moved to the area and founded a colony called Ovington Village; before that, it was mostly farmland.

In the 1850s, the village changed the community’s name to avoid association with yellow fever.[3] "Bay Ridge" was suggested by local horticulturist James Weir after the area’s most prominent geographic features: the high ridge that offered views of New York Bay.[4][5] The natural beauty attracted the wealthy, who built country homes along Shore Road, overlooking the water.[6] By World War II, almost all of these large houses had been replaced with apartment buildings.[6]

Ovington Avenue

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many Norwegian and Danish sailors emigrated to Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge and neighboring Sunset Park; Lapskaus Boulevard was the nickname of Eighth Avenue in this area. Development took off after the Fourth Avenue subway (today's R trains) arrived in 1916, and accelerated through the 1920s, when the number of apartment buildings increased fivefold, replacing old farms, homesteads and houses.[7]

Construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Bay Ridge to Staten Island, was completed in 1964. Though now an iconic structure, it was bitterly opposed by residents because it would require the demolition of many homes and businesses. Eight hundred buildings were destroyed, displacing 7,000 people, to make room for the bridge and its approach. Also destroyed was Fort Lafayette, part of New York City's defense system along with Fort Hamilton and Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, replaced by the base of the bridge's east tower.[8]

The Senator Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.[9] The Houses at 216-264 Ovington Ave. was listed in 2007.[9]

The 2007 Brooklyn tornado hit this area, specifically 68th Street and Bay Ridge Avenue between Third and Fourth avenues.[10] Eleven houses had to be vacated after they suffered significant damage, and many of the trees on the two blocks toppled, landing on cars and stoops. The 4th Avenue Presbyterian Church had its very large stained glass window blown out.[11] As the tornado lifted, it peeled the roof of a nearby Nissan dealership and deforested 40% of Leif Ericson Park. The tornado has been rated an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with winds between 111 and 135 MPH.[12]


68th Precinct, NYPD
Firehouse on Third Avenue

Culture and demographic makeup[edit]

Bay Ridge is a largely middle-class neighborhood. With its strong family presence, it is not uncommon to see third or fourth generation families living in the region. Until the early 1990s Bay Ridge was a primarily Irish, Italian, Lebanese, and Norwegian[13] neighborhood.

This area used to be highly Norwegian, in particular. Its Nordic heritage is still apparent in the neighborhood. For instance, there's an annual Norwegian Constitution Day Parade, also known as the Syttende Mai Parade, featuring hundreds of people in folk dress who parade down Third Avenue. It ends in Leif Ericson Park, named for the Viking explorer, where "Miss Norway" is crowned near the statue of Leif Ericson. The statue was donated by Crown Prince Olav, Prince of Norway, on behalf of the nation of Norway in 1939.[14][15] There is also a Norwegian gifts-and-groceries store.

Today, Bay Ridge maintains a sizable Irish, Italian, and Greek population, but like other areas in South/Southwest Brooklyn, late in the 20th century it saw an influx of Russian, Polish, and Lebanese, and lesser numbers of Chinese. In recent decades many Middle Eastern and Arab Americans have moved to Bay Ridge. Bay Ridge has many international restaurants and bars, especially along 3rd and 5th Avenue, its main commercial strips. Many refer to the community as "Little Palestine" due to its large Palestinian population and "Brooklyn's Gold Coast."[citation needed]

Bay Ridge has a high elderly population. It has been called a NORC or a naturally occurring retirement community because many of its families have grown up in the neighborhood while their children moved away. In 2006, it was reported that 20% of the population of Bay Ridge is 60 years of age or over.[16]


Local newspapers include The Home Reporter and Sunset News and The Bay Ridge Courier. The neighborhood is also often covered by The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. (These papers publish other local offshoots: The Home Reporter also publishes The Spectator; the Courier's parent company also publishes The Brooklyn Paper; and the Eagle publishes a weekly digest called Bay Ridge Life.)


Development has been a passionate issue for Bay Ridge residents, as in recent years they saw many of the decades-old two-family houses being demolished, replaced by condominiums known colloquially as "Fedder Homes," after the branded air conditioners poking out from the buildings' facades. In 2005, local community leaders and community activists from across the political spectrum united to issue rezoning laws.[17]

Bay Ridge was chosen as an "Editor's Pick" in This Old House magazine April 2011 as a good neighborhood to buy an old house.[18]


Landmarks and points of interest[edit]

Hurricane damage in Owl's Head Park
69th Street Pier
From harbor
  • Step streets are streets that are composed entirely of steep steps. As a rule they were placed on hills that were too steep to build a road, yet in a rare concession to pedestrians, it was determined to allow them access to the streets denied to motor transportation at 74th and 76th Streets, recalling the Montmartre section of Paris.[19]
  • Owl's Head Park (also known as Bliss Park), in the neighborhood's northwest corner, was previously the private estate of the Bliss Family, for whom nearby Bliss Terrace is named. They sold what remained of the estate to the city in 1928 for $850,000, after Eliphalet Williams Bliss specified in his will 25 years earlier that he wanted the city to buy the land and convert it into parkland. Before them, the property was owned by Henry C. Murphy, a former Mayor of Brooklyn, ambassdor, congressman and New York State Senator for whom the nearby Senator Street is named. Remnants of the estate—mansion, stable, observation tower—were still visible into the 1930s, when they were finally demolished, having been left to fall into disrepair.[20] It is a 24-acre (97,000 m2) walking park[21] that has a state of the art skate park, dog run, children's playground and basketball courts; it has the first concrete skatepark built in Brooklyn,[22] Owl's Head Park.
  • 69th Street Pier at 69th St. and Shore Road is the community's key seaside recreation spot. Sports fishermen travel across the borough and from the other boroughs to fish the waters of "The Bay Ridge Anchorage" and along the seawall promenade that runs south from the pier to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and east along Gravesend Bay. Commuter ferry service operated between this pier and the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island from 1912 until 1964, the year the Verrazano Bridge opened.[23] It features a sculpture that emits a beam of light as a memorial to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
  • Farrell House, which has been at 125 95th St. since the early twentieth century, is one of many old mansions in Bay Ridge, and it is now an official landmark. An accompanying structure, thought to have been used as a barn, couldn't be saved and was demolished. Legend has it the house was turned so that its "widow's walk," a balcony that traditionally faces the sea so women left at home could watch for their husbands' ships, would no longer face the Narrows.[24]
  • Fort Hamilton, an active military base near the Verrazano Bridge, houses one of the neighborhood's few cultural attractions, the Harbor Defense Museum.[25]
  • St. John's Episcopal Church[26] is where Robert E. Lee served as a vestryman and where his future "right hand," Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, was baptized.[27]
  • Other notable locations include St. Patrick's Church on 4th Avenue and Fort Hamilton Memorial Park[28] at 4th Avenue and 101st Street. There are also a handful of houses dating back to the 19th century.

Fort Hamilton neighborhood[edit]

For the U.S. Army fort located nearby, see Fort Hamilton.
The park strip between the shore road and Narrows

The southern half of the neighborhood from 86th Street to 101st Street and from New York Bay to Seventh Avenue and the Fort Hamilton army base is sometimes referred to as a separate neighborhood, Fort Hamilton,[29] though some long-time residents dispute this distinction.[30] Fort Hamilton was once a village that sprouted up around the military installation, a short-lived vacation destination and sister-village to Yellow Hook, the original name of Bay Ridge, in the north.[7] It is named for the United States Army installation of the same name, which bears the name of Alexander Hamilton.[31] Fort Hamilton, like Bay Ridge, is patrolled by the NYPD's 68th Precinct.[32]


Bay Ridge is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 68th[32] Precinct. It is served by Engine 241, Engine 242, and Ladder 109 of the New York City Fire Department. Bay Ridge is also served by a BRAVO Volunteer Ambulance.


The area is served by the R trains on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line of the New York City Subway between Bay Ridge Avenue and 95th Street.[33]

Additionally, there are MTA express bus routes X27, X37 which mainly serve for the commute to Manhattan, but also run during off-peak hours on weekdays. The X27 also runs on weekends. The routes X28, X38 also serve the eastern part of Bay Ridge. Many Bay Ridge commuters opt for the relative comfort and convenience of the express bus. Bay Ridge is readily accessible by car, encircled by the Belt Parkway and Gowanus Expressway. Local bus routes include B1, B4, B8, B9, B16, B37, B63, B64, B70, S53, S79 SBS, S93.[34]

The freight-only Bay Ridge Branch connects car floats to the Long Island Rail Road.


Breaking ground on Bay Ridge High School, 1914
High School of Telecommunications

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

New York City Department of Education operates area public schools. Educational institutions in Bay Ridge include; P.S. 102,[35] P.S. 170, P.S. 127, P.S. 185[36] (Walter Kassenbrock Elementary School), P.S. 104[37] (called the Fort Hamilton School), Lutheran Elementary School, St. Anselm's Roman Catholic School, I.S. 30[38] (also known as Mary White Ovington), I.S.259 (also known as William McKinley Junior High School) Angels Catholic Academy[39] Holy Bay Ridge Preparatory School,[40] Fort Hamilton High School, High School of Telecommunications (originally all-girls Bay Ridge High School), Poly Prep Country Day School, Visitation Academy, Adelphi Academy, Fontbonne Hall Academy, St. Patrick Elementary School, D., G. Kaloidis Parochial School,[41] and Xaverian High School. Fort Hamilton High School, between 83rd and 85th streets, was erected in the 1940s on the grounds of the Crescent Athletic Club, a country club. The High School of Telecommunications was formerly Bay Ridge High School, which was once an all-girls school.

Public libraries[edit]

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) operates the Bay Ridge Library. The Bay Ridge Reading Club first organized the library in 1880. It opened on its present site in 1896 and became a BPL branch in 1901. The current two story facility opened in 1960. In 2004 it received a $2.1 million renovation, including new furniture and shelving, new lighting equipment, a new roof, and 27 additional public access computers.[42]

A smaller public library is the Fort Hamilton Library, built with money gift from Andrew Carnegie in 1906. The current branch's predecessor was founded over 100 years ago. It became a part of the BPL system in 1901 and moved to its current location in 1905. Since then it has gone through numerous renovations. The most recent renovation was completed in March 2011, with a ribbon cutting ceremony held on April 11, 2011.[43]


Bay Ridge is recognized as politically conservative.[44] Mike Long, Chairman of the Conservative Party of New York, resides there. It has been known to elect Democrats to office, such as City Councilmember Vincent J. Gentile. Bay Ridge, which has shared a congressional district with Staten Island since the 1980s,[45] is represented in the United States Congress by Republican Dan Donovan, in the New York State Senate by Republican Marty Golden and in the New York State Assembly by Republican Nicole Malliotakis.

Democratic Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny resigned in July 2015.[46] Republican Michael Grimm was elected to Congress in 2010, and he resigned in 2015, following a 20-count indictment; he plead guilty to one count of federal tax evasion and was sentenced to eight months in prison.[47]

The neighborhood is served by Brooklyn Community Board 10.

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Census Shapefile for 2014 Zip Code Tabulation Areas Area of 11209 Zip Code Tabulation Area
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Failure to Create Park Along Shore Road Laid To Apathy of Residents". the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (2 September 1931). Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Owl's Head Park – Historical Sign". 
  5. ^ Donovan, Aaron (June 10, 2001). "If You're Thinking of Living In Red Hook; Isolated Brooklyn Area Starts to Awaken". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Fowler, Brenda (July 26, 1987). "If You're Thinking of Living In Bay Ridge". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Stewart, Henry (November 6, 2014). "The First Gentrifiers". BKLYNR. 
  8. ^ "The definitive history of the building of the bridge is Gay Talese's The Bridge". 
  9. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  10. ^ "Photos and a story of the aftermath of the Bay Ridge tornado". 
  11. ^ The Phantom. "Bay Ridge Tornado: Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church". 
  12. ^ Newman, Andy (August 9, 2007). "That Wind That Left Part of Brooklyn Upside Down? It Was a Tornado, All Right". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Find the Classic Bay Ridge at Nordic Delicacies". 
  14. ^ "Leif Ericson Park & Square (New York City Department of Parks & Recreation)". 
  15. ^ "17th of May Parade (Norwegian-American 17th May Committee of Greater New York)". 
  16. ^ Mooney, Jake (January 1, 2006). "Counting Graying Heads". The New York Times. p. 6. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  17. ^ "NYC Zoning - Zoning Districts". 
  18. ^ "Best for Urbanites - Best Old House Neighborhoods 2011 - This Old House". This Old House. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Stewart, Henry (22 January 2015). "The Forgotten History of the Owl's Head". Bklynr. 
  21. ^ "Owl's Head Park". NYC Parks Department. 
  22. ^ "Project of the Month September 2001; Millennium Skate Park Owl's Head Park". 
  23. ^ "Before Ferry Service Returns to Bay Ridge, a Look Back at the Neighborhood's Ferry History". Hey Ridge. August 17, 2015. 
  24. ^ "An extensive history of the Farrell House". 17 August 1997. 
  25. ^ "Harbor Defense Museum of Fort Hamilton". 
  26. ^ "Saint John’s Episcopal Church". 
  27. ^ Johnson, Clint (February 2002). In the Footsteps of Stonewall Jackson (Later Printing ed.). John F Blair Pub. pp. 205–211. ISBN 0895872447. 
  28. ^ "Fort Hamilton Triangle". 
  29. ^ Gregor, Alison (April 30, 2013). "A NORC, Up Close and Personal". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ "There's No Neighborhood in Brooklyn Called Fort Hamilton". Brooklyn Magazine. 
  31. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 129. 
  32. ^ a b "NYPD - Precincts". 
  33. ^ "Subway Map" (PDF). 
  34. ^ "Brooklyn Bus Map" (PDF). 
  35. ^ "Welcome to the Bay View School". 12 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "Welcome". 13 January 2015. 
  37. ^ "The Magnet School of Museum Studies". 12 January 2015. 
  38. ^ "Welcome". 28 April 2015. 
  39. ^ "Home". 
  40. ^ "Bay Ridge Prep - An Independent K-12 College Preparatory School - Brooklyn, New York". 
  42. ^ "Hours & Locations". 
  43. ^ "Hours & Locations". 
  44. ^ Ross Barkan. "Bill de Blasio Rarely Visits Republican Strongholds in Brooklyn - Observer". Observer. 
  45. ^ "How Did Bay Ridge Get Stuck in a District with Staten Island Anyway?". Hey Ridge. 
  46. ^ Rachel Silberstein. "Scramble Begins For Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny’s Vacant Seat". Sheepshead Bites. 
  47. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  48. ^ Thomas, Landon Jr. (February 12, 2007). "Questions Grow About a Top CNBC Anchor". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2007. 
  49. ^ Lambert, Bruce (November 11, 1992). "Chuck Connors, Actor, 71, Dies; Starred as Television's 'Rifleman'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2007. 
  50. ^ Katinas, Paula (February 18, 2014). "Bay Ridge-born Jimmy Fallon Takes Over Tonight Show". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 
  51. ^ a b "The Fort Hamilton Streets Named for American Traitors". Hey Ridge. June 26, 2015. 
  52. ^ Newman, Andy (August 16, 1999). "klyn Mourns Dodger Who Anchored a Borough". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  53. ^
  54. ^ Stewart, Henry (October 10, 2014). "Fifty Years Later, Looking for Last Exit". 
  55. ^ Fernandez, Manny (February 28, 2011). "When Players Like Duke Snider Were Also Neighbors". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  56. ^ Stewart, Henry (August 11, 2014). "Gilbert Sorrentino, the Lost Laureate of Brooklyn". 
  57. ^ Yee, Vivian (October 9, 2013). "A Glimpse of Yellen's Career, Chronicled in Her High School Newspaper". New York Times. 
  58. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn. "Henny Youngman, King of the One-Liners, Is Dead at 91 After 6 Decades of Laughter". New York Times. 
  59. ^ "White Irish Drinkers Director: "I Love Saturday Night Fever!"". The L Magazine. 
  60. ^ "Blue Bloods - The Best Dining Room on TV". 
  61. ^ "Mad Men's Native Brooklynite Explains the Mystery of Her Heritage". 
  62. ^ Selby, Hubert (1986). Song of the Silent Snow. pp. 1–4, 19–30, 57–78. 
  63. ^ Stewart, Henry. "Fifty Years Later, Looking for Last Exit". Bklynr. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  64. ^ Stewart, Henry. "Gilbert Sorrentino: The Lost Laureate of Brooklyn". Electric Literature. 
  65. ^ Stewart, Henry (August 5, 2015). "The Bay Ridge Canon: Virgin with Child by Tom McDonough". Hey Ridge. 
  66. ^ Stewart, Henry (July 24, 2015). "The Bay Ridge Canon: Word of Honor by Nelson DeMille". Hey Ridge. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Rygg, Andreas Nilsen. Norwegians in New York, 1825–1925 (Brooklyn, New York: Norwegian News Co. 1941)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°37′37″N 74°01′52″W / 40.627°N 74.031°W / 40.627; -74.031