Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Bay Ridge is a neighborhood in the southwest corner of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, USA. It is bound by 65th Street on the north, Interstate 278 on the east, and the Belt Parkway-Shore Road on the west. The southern border is 101st Street. The portion below 86th Street is a subsection called Fort Hamilton. A small area east of I-278, bounded by 7th Avenue, is also part of Bay Ridge.


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. Bay Ridge has been known for its large Arab, Irish, Italian, Greek and Scandinavian population, but like other areas in South/Southwest Brooklyn, it has recently seen a large influx of Russian immigrants, and a smaller amount of Chinese. [ [ 11209 Zip Code (New York) Detailed Profile - residents and real estate info ] ] The neighborhood is home to one of America's oldest Arab communities.Fact|date=October 2007. As far back as the 1850s, Syrian/Lebanese Christians were immigrating to the neighborhood.Fact|date=October 2007. In recent decades, Arab Muslims from a large variety of countries have moved to Bay Ridge. Bay Ridge also has many international restaurants and bars, especially along 3rd and 5th Avenue, its main commercial strips.Fact|date=October 2007.Many refer to the community as "Brooklyn's Gold Coast."

Educational institutions include; [ P.S. 102] , [ P.S. 185] (Walter Kassenbrock Elementary School), [ P.S. 104] (called the Fort Hamilton School), [ I.S. 30] (also known as Mary White Ovington), [ Bay Ridge Preparatory School] , Fort Hamilton High School, High School of Telecommunications, Poly Prep Country Day School, Visitation Academy, Adelphi Academy, Fontbonne Hall Academy, and Xaverian High School. Fort Hamilton High School was erected in the 1940s on the grounds of the former Crescent Athletic Club, an upper crust country club. The High School of Telecommunications was previously known as Bay Ridge High School, which was once an all-girls school. (Interestingly, Norwegian was taught in the school for many years due to the area's once-numerous Norwegian population.)

Bay Ridge also 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 move away. In 2006, it was reported that 20% of the population of Bay Ridge is 60 or over. ["Counting Graying Heads." "The New York Times". January 1, 2006 p6(Local)]

Fort Hamilton, an active military base near the Verrazano Bridge, houses one of the neighborhood's few cultural attractions, The Harbor Defense Museum. [ [ Harbor Defense Museum ] ] Another popular neighborhood attraction is the 69th Street Pier, at Bay Ridge Ave. (aka 69th Street) and Shore Road. It features a sculpture that emits a beam of light as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of September 11.

The neighborhood is served by a variety of local newspapers, including "The Home Reporter-Sunset News", "The Spectator", "The Bay Ridge Paper", "The Bay Ridge Courier" and " The Bay Ridge Eagle ".


Bay Ridge is a politically polarized community. Traditionally, Bay Ridge leans Republican and is recognized as politically Conservative; Mike Long, Chairman of the Conservative Party of New York, resides there. However, it has been known to elect Democrats to office as well, such as Councilman Vincent J. Gentile Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer. The neighborhood is also home to the Brooklyn Democrats for Change, an active liberal organization. Bay Ridge is represented in the New York State Senate by Marty Golden.

The neighborhood is served by Brooklyn Community Board 10.

Development is 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.


Bay Ridge was originally known as Yellow Hook, [] for the hue of the yellowish soil observed by the original Dutch settlers. This name was changed in the 1853 after yellow fever struck the area and residents realized what an ill fit it was given the circumstances. [ [ OWL'S HEAD PARK - Historical Sign ] ] [ [ If You're Thinking of Living In/Red Hook; Isolated Brooklyn Area Starts to Awaken] , "The New York Times", June 10, 2001] The new name was given due to the proximity of the neighborhood to New York Bay, excellent views of which were visible from the ridge that has now become Ridge Boulevard. These views attracted wealthy people, who built extravagant summer homes along Shore Road overlooking the water, many of which are still standing today and worth multiple-millions of dollars. Once the 4th Avenue Subway (now the R line) was extended in 1915, however, many Manhattan workers looking for quieter surroundings began to flow in, transforming the area into a middle-class neighborhood.

During the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, manyNorwegian [] and Danish sailors emigrated to Brooklyn, many specificallyto Bay Ridge. Nordic heritage is still apparent in some sections of theneighborhood. For instance, there is an annual Norwegian Constitution Day Parade [] , also called The Syttende Mai (meaning The Seventeenth of May), Parade, featuring hundreds of people in folk dress who parade along Fifth Avenues, ending in Leif Ericson Park where "Miss Norway" is crowned atthe statue of Ericson donated by the Prince of Norway in 1939.

Construction of The Verrazano Bridge, which connects Bay Ridge to Staten Island, was completed in 1964. Though now a totemic structure beloved by many, it was bitterly opposed by residents upon the announcement of its construction, for it would require the demolition of many homes. In a rare loss for local activists, the challenges failed: the bridge was built and the homes destroyed. 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. [The definitive history of the building of the bridge is Gay Talese's "The Bridge", more information on which can be found here:]

The Farrell House, which has been at 125 95th St. since the early twentieth century, is one of many old mansions in Bay Ridge, and is now an official landmark. An accompanying structure, thought to have been used as a barn, was unable to 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. [An extensive history of the house can be found here:]

The area of the neighborhood around Ovington Avenue (aka 70th Street) was once known as "Ovington Village"; it was ultimately swallowed up as Bay Ridge.

On August 8, 2007, a tornado hit this area, specifically 68th and 69th streets between 3rd and 4th avenues. [Photos and a story of the aftermath of the Bay Ridge tornado can be seen here:] 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. 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. []


The area is serviced by the NYCS Fourth far south train of the Fourth Avenue line of the New York City Subway, with stations at Bay Ridge Avenue, 77th Street, 86th Street and
95th Street.

Additionally, there are two MTA express buses which serve the Bay Ridge to Manhattan commute: the X27 serving lower Manhattan to 57th Street and the X37 serving 23rd Street to 57th Street. Many Bay Ridge commuters opt for the relative comfort and convenience of the express buses.

Bay Ridge is readily accessible by car, encircled by the Belt Parkway and Gowanus Expressway.

Landmarks and Points of Interest

* Features two "step streets"--"streets that are composed entirely of steps, and steep ones at that. 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. [ [ Step Streets] , accessed February 26, 2007]

* Owl's Head Park (also known as Bliss Park), in the neighborhood's northwest corner, was previously the private estate of the Bliss Family, the namesake for nearby Bliss Terrace. Before them, the property was owned by Henry C. Murphy, a United States Senator for whom the nearby Senator Street is named. Remnants of their estate were still visible into the 1970s when they were finally demolished, having fallen into considerable disrepair.

*The "69th Street Pier", at 69th St. just off Shore Road, is the community's key seaside recreation spot. Sports fishermen travel across the Borough and from the outer Borough's to fish the waters of "The Bay Ridge Anchorage", and along the seawall promenade which runs from the Pier to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and points East. Years prior to the construction of the bridge, commuter ferry service was operated between this Bay Ridge Pier and the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island.

* The grounds of Xaverian High School include the remnants of a small cemetery, visible from the street at Narrows Ave. and Mackay Place, that dates back to the days of the Revolutionary War. Simon Cortelyou is interred there.

*A colony of wild Monk Parakeets lives in Bay Ridge's Lief Erickson Park.

References in Popular Culture

* Jason Calacanis, popular technology entrepreneur and founder of Silicon Alley Reporter is from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

* The 1977 movie "Saturday Night Fever" was set there, as well as nearby Bensonhurst.

* Steven Seagal has many scenes in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights in the action film "Out for Justice" which takes place in these neighborhoods, and is home to one of the movies actors, Sonny Hurst, who plays "Tattoo" in the infamous scene in the pool hall where he gets his teeth knocked out with an eight ball.

* The novel and film adaptation of "25th Hour" is partially set in Bay Ridge.

*The runaway subway train in Spiderman 2 was destined for Bay Ridge.

* Parts of the show Rescue Me are set in the neighborhood.

*Peggy, the newly hired secretary on AMC's Mad Men, is from Bay Ridge.

*Parts of the 2007 film Brooklyn Rules were set and filmed in Bay Ridge.

*During September 2007, Owls Head Park and nearby Shore Road, were location shoots for the movie, "What Happens in Vegas...", starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher.

Notable residents

Famous personalities out of Bay Ridge include
*Maria Bartiromo, CNBC anchor, grew up in Bay Ridge, where her family owned an Italian restaurant. [Thomas Jr., Thomas. [ "Questions Grow About a Top CNBC Anchor"] , "The New York Times", February 12, 2007. Accessed October 13, 2007. "And while much has been made of her Sophia Loren-like looks, her early career ascent was propelled by pluck, ambition and like another famous, albeit fictional, product of Bay Ridge, Tony Manero in “Saturday Night Fever,” a hunger to make it big across the river in Manhattan."]
*Justin Brannan, Musician, grew up on Shore Road.
*C. C. DeVille, Guitarist of the 1980s metal band Poison grew up in Bay Ridge, attending P.S. 102, McKinley JHS, and Fort Hamilton H.S.
* Entrepreneur Jason Calacanis grew up in Bay Ridge, and attended Xaverian High School.
* Mike and Adam McLeer of the hip-hop/punk band "The Lordz" (previously the "Lordz of Brooklyn")
* Filmmaker, actor, director, Giovanni Capitello was born in Bay Ridge at Victory Memorial Hospital.
* Actor Chuck Connors of "The Rifleman" fame grew up on Senator Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. He also attended Adelphi Academy. [Lambert, Bruce. [ " Chuck Connors, Actor, 71, Dies; Starred as Television's 'Rifleman'"] , "The New York Times", November 11, 1992. Accessed October 9, 2007. "Despite his western image, Mr. Connors was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn."]
* Dan Grimaldi, Television / Film actor and "The Sopranos" regular
*Robert Ginty, actor with many movies and TV appearances; played Lt. T. J. Wiley in Baa Baa Black Sheep hit TV show, and now is a director.
* TV director John Gray is from Bay Ridge originally and in many "Ghost Whisperer" episodes there are references to streets and locations from Bay Ridge Brooklyn (Ex. Lento's Restaurant in the movie was the name of an actual Bay Ridge restaurant for over 30 years).
* Former New York City Mayor William O'Dwyer lived in a house on 79th Street in Bay Ridge before being elected mayor.
* Edwin Castro son of Fidel Castro lived in Bay Ridge for some time while attending school.
* Joan Rivers attended Adelphi Academy and lived in Bay Ridge for some time.
* Former Olympic Basketball superstar Chris Mullin played basketball for Xaverian High School.
*Daniel M. Johnson "The Untouchable DJ Drastic" DJ, music industry professional, and radio presenter, grew up in Bay Ridge; he attended P.S. 102, I.S. 259, & The High School of Telecommunication, Arts, & Technology.
* John Eder an American politician and a member of the Green Party is from Bay Ridge.
* Both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were at some point in their respective careers in the US Army were stationed at Fort Hamilton and resided in Bay Ridge.
* In the Boys of Summer era, a number of the Brooklyn Dodgers lived in Bay Ridge, including Pee Wee Reese, who lived on Barwell Terrace and 97th Street, Duke Snider, who lived on Marine Avenue between 97th and 98th Streets, and Carl Erskine, who lived on Lafayette Walk and 94th Street.
* Actor Scott Baio attended Xaverian High School.
* Chris Budd, infamous local Bay Ridge celebrity still resides in Bay Ridge.


External links

* [] Recent photos of Bay Ridge
* [] - Bay Ridge Community Web Site and Forums
* [ historical photos of Bay Ridge]
* [] - Bay Ridge Community Message Board
* [ Bay Ridge St. Patrick's Day Parade]
* [] What's Bay Ridge?

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