Bay Ridge, Brooklyn facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Neighborhood of Brooklyn
|City||New York City|
|Community District||Brooklyn 10|
|• Total||2.12 sq mi (5.49 km2)|
|• Land||2.12 sq mi (5.49 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|• Density||37,440/sq mi (14,457/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area code||718, 347, 929, and 917|
Bay Ridge is a neighborhood in the southwest corner of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is bounded by Sunset Park on the north, Dyker Heights on the east, the Narrows and the Belt Parkway on the west, and Fort Hamilton Army Base and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge on the south. The section of Bay Ridge south of 86th Street is sometimes considered part of a sub-neighborhood called Fort Hamilton.
Bay Ridge was formerly the westernmost portion of the town of New Utrecht, comprising two smaller villages: Yellow Hook to the north and Fort Hamilton to the south. Yellow Hook was named for the color of the soil and was renamed Bay Ridge in December 1853 to avoid negative connotations with yellow fever at the time; the name Bay Ridge was chosen based on the local geography. Bay Ridge became developed as a rural summer resort during the mid-19th century. The arrival of the New York City Subway's Fourth Avenue Line (present-day R train) in 1916 led to its development as a residential neighborhood. Until the early 1970s, Bay Ridge was dominated by its Norwegian community, but by the early 21st century it had a large Arab, Irish, Italian, and Greek population.
Bay Ridge is part of Brooklyn Community District 10, and its primary ZIP Codes are 11209 and 11220. It is patrolled by the 68th Precinct of the New York City Police Department. Politically, it is represented by the New York City Council's 43rd District.
The first Dutch settlers began farming here in the 17th century. 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, Historic Marker name to avoid association with yellow fever. "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. The natural beauty attracted the wealthy, who built country homes along Shore Road, overlooking the water. By World War II, almost all of these large houses had been replaced with apartment buildings.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many Norwegian and Danish sailors emigrated to Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge and neighboring Sunset Park; Lapskaus Boulevard, referring to the salted Norwegian beef stew, was the nickname of Eighth Avenue in this area. Development took off after the Fourth Avenue subway (today's R train) arrived in 1916, and accelerated through the 1920s, when the number of apartment buildings increased fivefold, replacing old farms, homesteads and houses.
Construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Bay Ridge to Staten Island, was completed in 1964. Though now an iconic structure, it was 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.
The Senator Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. The Houses at 216-264 Ovington Ave. was listed in 2007.
The 2007 Brooklyn tornado hit this area, specifically 68th Street and Bay Ridge Avenue between Third and Fourth Avenues. 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.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Bay Ridge was 79,371, a decrease of 1,168 (1.5%) from the 80,539 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,571.96 acres (636.15 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 50.5 inhabitants per acre (32,300/sq mi; 12,500/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 66.4% (52,740) White, 1.8% (1,457) Black, 0.1% (83) Native American, 13.3% (10,530) Asian, 0.0% (19) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (265) from other races, and 2.1% (1,682) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.9% (12,595) of the population.
The entirety of Community Board 10 had 142,075 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 83.1 years. This is higher than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods. Most inhabitants are middle-aged adults and youth: 20% are between the ages of 0–17, 34% between 25–44, and 25% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 7% and 15% respectively.
As of 2016, the median household income in Community District 10 was $68,679. In 2018, an estimated 19% of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights residents lived in poverty, compared to 21% in all of Brooklyn and 20% in all of New York City. One in twelve residents (8%) were unemployed, compared to 9% in the rest of both Brooklyn and New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 49% in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, slightly lower than the citywide and boroughwide rates of 52% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights is considered to be high-income relative to the rest of the city.
According to the 2020 census data from New York City Department of City Planning, Bay Ridge had 40,000 or more White residents and each the Asian and Hispanic populations had between 10,000 to 19,999 residents.
Culture and demographic makeup
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, and Norwegian neighborhood.
This area used to be highly Norwegian. Its Nordic heritage is still apparent in the neighborhood. For instance, there is 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. There is also a Norwegian gifts-and-groceries store.
As of 1971, the 30,000-strong Norwegian community of Bay Ridge boasted that it was the fourth-largest Norwegian city in the world. Residents also compared Eighth Avenue's string of Norwegian businesses to Oslo's Karl Johans gate.
Today, Bay Ridge's population is around 80,000 and maintains a sizable Irish, Italian, and Greek population. However, 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. It has even been referred to as "the heart of Brooklyn's Arab community." Bay Ridge has many international restaurants and bars, especially along 3rd and 5th Avenue, its main commercial strips.
Bay Ridge has a high elderly population. It has been called a naturally occurring retirement community (NORC) 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.
Famous fictional residents of Bay Ridge include Peggy Olson of Mad Men and Tony Manero, played by John Travolta, of Saturday Night Fever.
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. The six-story apartment complexes lining Shore Road are among the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. In 2005, local community leaders and community activists from across the political spectrum united to issue rezoning laws.
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.
Landmarks and points of interest
- 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.
- 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. It is a 24-acre (97,000 m2) walking park 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, 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. 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.
- Fort Hamilton, an active military base near the Verrazano Bridge, houses one of the neighborhood's few cultural attractions, the Harbor Defense Museum.
- St. John's Episcopal Church is where Robert E. Lee served as a vestryman and where his future "right hand," Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, was baptized.
- Other notable locations include St. Patrick's Church on 4th Avenue and Fort Hamilton Memorial Park at 4th Avenue and 101st Street. There are also a handful of houses dating back to the 19th century.
Fort Hamilton Army Base
Historic Fort Hamilton Army Base is located in the southwestern corner of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, with gates in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, and is one of several posts that are part of the region which is headquartered by the Military District of Washington. Its mission is to provide the New York metropolitan area with military installation support for the Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve. The base is considered to be part of Bay Ridge. The children stationed at the base are zoned into Bay Ridge schools.
Bay Ridge is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 68th 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 train on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line of the New York City Subway between Bay Ridge Avenue and 95th Street.
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, even though it costs more than the subway. 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.
The freight-only Bay Ridge Branch connects car floats to the Long Island Rail Road.
In June 2017, Bay Ridge became the terminus of NYC Ferry's South Brooklyn route.
In popular culture
- David Benioff's debut novel The 25th Hour (2001) and its 2002 film adaptation are partially set in Bay Ridge
- The Fort Hamilton army base is the setting for most of Nelson DeMille's novel Word of Honor (1985)
- Tom McDonough's novel Virgin with Child is set in Bay Ridge
- Several short stories by Hubert Selby, Jr. are set in the neighborhood, including "Liebesnacht" and "Double Feature." Some of his novels are also set in the neighborhood or nearby, like Last Exit to Brooklyn and The Demon.
- Several novels by Gilbert Sorrentino are set in the neighborhood, including Steelwork, Red the Fiend, Crystal Vision, A Strange Commonplace, Little Casino, and The Abyss of Human Illusion.
- Parts of the film Brooklyn Rules (2007) were set and filmed in Bay Ridge.
- Mark Ruffalo's character in the film "Margaret" (2011) lives near the Bay Ridge – 95th Street subway station
- In the action film Out for Justice (1991), Steven Seagal has many scenes set in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, which is home to one of the movie's actors, Sonny Hurst, who plays "Tattoo" in the infamous scene in the pool hall where he gets his teeth knocked out with an eightball
- The movie Saturday Night Fever (1977) was set there, as well as nearby Sunset Park and Bensonhurst
- The runaway subway train in the film Spider-Man 2 (2004) was destined for the Bay Ridge – 95th Street subway station
- The Narrows (2008), starring Kevin Zegers and Sophia Bush is set in Bay Ridge
- In the film The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Jordan Belfort's wife Naomi is frequently referred to as "The Duchess of Bay Ridge"
- Parts of the movie Then She Found Me (2007) with Bette Midler and Helen Hunt were shot on 76th Street
- The film White Irish Drinkers (2010), directed by John Gray, is set in Bay Ridge
- NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) on CBS-TV's Blue Bloods lives in Bay Ridge; his home at 8070 Harbor View Terrace, near Fort Hamilton High School, is seen in each episode
- The 2012 reality series Brooklyn 11223 is set in Bay Ridge
- In an episode of Law & Order: SVU, Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) states that he is from 89th Street and Shore Road
- Peggy Olson, the Norwegian-American copywriter on AMC's Mad Men, is from Bay Ridge In the second episode of Season One, she declared, "I'm from Bay Ridge. We have manners."
- Parts of the show Rescue Me are set in the neighborhood
- In the television program Ugly Betty, the character of Justin is shocked that Hilda and Bobby have found a place in Bay Ridge, and instead explains that Manhattan is much more realistic due to the recession
- Rygg, Andreas Nilsen. Norwegians in New York, 1825–1925 (Brooklyn, New York: Norwegian News Co. 1941)
Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights have a ratio of college-educated residents similar to the rest of the city's as of 2018[update]. Forty-six percent of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 19% have less than a high school education, and 35% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 40% of Brooklynites and 38% of city residents have a college education or higher. The percentage of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights students excelling in reading and math has been increasing, with reading achievement rising from 51 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2011, and math achievement rising from 49 percent to 71 percent within the same time period.
Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights' rate of elementary school student absenteeism is lower than the rest of New York City's. In Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, 8% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, compared to the citywide average of 20% of students. Additionally, 82% of high school students in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights graduate on time, higher than the citywide average of 75% of students.
Primary and secondary schools
The New York City Department of Education operates area public schools. Educational institutions in Bay Ridge include P.S. 102, P.S. 170, P.S. 127, P.S. 185 (Walter Kassenbrock Elementary School), P.S. 104 (called the Fort Hamilton School), P.S. 264 (Bay Ridge Elementary School for the Arts), Lutheran Elementary School, St. Anselm's Roman Catholic School, P.S./I.S. 30 (also known as Mary White Ovington), I.S.259 (also known as William McKinley Junior High School) Angels Catholic Academy Holy Bay Ridge Preparatory School, 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, 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.
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) operates two public libraries in the neighborhood. The Bay Ridge Library is the larger of the two, and is located at 7223 Ridge Boulevard at 73rd Street. 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.
The Fort Hamilton Library, located at 9424 Fourth Avenue between 94th and 95th Streets, was built as a Carnegie library in 1906. The current branch's predecessor 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.
- Sal Albanese (born 1949), politician who served as a member of the New York City Council
- Maria Bartiromo (born 1967), Fox News anchor, grew up in Bay Ridge, where her family owned an Italian restaurant
- Bob Berg (1951-2002), jazz saxophonist
- Ed Bishop (1932-2005), actor, best known for his portrayal of Commander Ed Straker in the TV series, UFO
- Alexis Bittar (born 1968), jewelry designer and CEO
- Richard Bright (1937-2006), actor
- Jason Calacanis (born 1970), technology entrepreneur and founder of Silicon Alley Reporter
- Ron Chernow (born 1949), biographer
- Chuck Connors (1921-1992), actor of The Rifleman fame, grew up on Senator Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, and attended Adelphi Academy.
- Bill Corbett (born 1960), writer and actor known for his work on the later seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000 grew up in the neighborhood
- C. C. DeVille (born 1962 as Bruce Anthony Johannesson), guitarist of the 1980s glam band Poison grew up in Bay Ridge, attending P.S. 102, McKinley JHS, and Fort Hamilton H.S.\
- Calvert DeForest (1921-2007), actor and comedian (known for his character Larry "Bud" Melman)
- Chris Distefano (born 1984), comedian from Guy Code, Girl Code, Bay Ridge Boys and History Hyenas
- John Eder (born 1969), Green Party Leader and politician, grew up in Bay Ridge and attended P.S. 102
- Jimmy Fallon (born 1974), television host, comedian, actor, singer, musician, and producer
- Joel Gertner (born 1975), professional wrestling TV personality, a graduate of Poly Prep, and current resident of Bay Ridge
- Robert Ginty (1948-2009) actor who played Lt. T.J. Wiley in TV series Baa Baa Black Sheep
- John Gray, creator and writer of the Ghost Whisperer TV series
- Emmett Grogan (1942-1978), novelist and counterculture icon
- James Hayden (1953-1983), actor best known for his role in Once Upon a Time in America
- Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863), Confederate General, once stationed at Fort Hamilton
- Willard F. Jones (1890-1967), naval architect, head of National Safety Council's marine section and Vice President of Gulf Oil
- Jackie Kelk (1923-2002), actor
- Lordz of Brooklyn members Adam "ADM" McLeer and Michael "Mr. Kaves" McLeer – born in and still resides in Bay Ridge
- Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), Confederate General, once stationed at Fort Hamilton
- Kevin Matthews (born 1983), professional wrestler better known under the ring name "KM" for Impact Wrestling
- Allyn Ann McLerie (1926-2018), actress known for They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Punky Brewster and more.
- Giulia Melucci (born 1966), author of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, grew up in Bay Ridge and attended Visitation Academy
- Daniel J. Murphy (1922-2001), US Navy Admiral, chief of staff to George H.W. Bush during his first term as vice president
- Yannis Pappas, comedian who has appeared in Bay Ridge Boys and History Hyenas
- Pee Wee Reese (1918-1999), shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers who lived in a brick duplex at 9712 Barwell Terrace, off 97th Street.
- Jerry Rosenberg (born c. 1934), owner of JGE Appliance Stores, and pitchman of various local businesses in the New York Tri-State area throughout the 1970s
- Lillian Russell (1860-1922), operetta singer and vaudeville actress
- Hubert Selby Jr. (1928-2004), novelist (Last Exit to Brooklyn, Requiem for a Dream)
- Frank Seminara (born 1967), former professional baseball player
- Brandon Silvestry (born 1979), professional wrestler better known by his ring name, Low Ki.
- Duke Snider (1926-2011), Brooklyn Dodger, rented 178 Marine Avenue during the baseball season
- Gilbert Sorrentino (1929-2006), novelist, poet, and editor
- Janet Yellen (born 1946), United States Secretary of the Treasury, former chairperson of the Federal Reserve, attended Fort Hamilton High School and lived on Ridge Boulevard
- Henny Youngman (1906-1998), comedian
Images for kids
The Verrazzano Bridge on a foggy day. Photo taken at Shore Road Park and Parkway.