Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

"Bay Ridge" redirects here. For the unincorporated community in Northampton County, Virginia, see Bay Ridge, Virginia.
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Neighborhood of Brooklyn

Streetscape in Bay Ridge
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Location of Bay Ridge

Coordinates: 40°37′28″N 74°01′54″W / 40.6244160453°N 74.0316771125°W / 40.6244160453; -74.0316771125
Country  United States
State  New York
City  New York City
Borough/County Brooklyn/Kings
  Council Member Vincent J. Gentile
  Total 2.12 sq mi (5.49 km2)
  Land 2.12 sq mi (5.49 km2)
  Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
  Total 79,371
  Density 37,000/sq mi (14,000/km2)
ZIP code 11209, 11220[3]
Area code(s) 347, 646, 718, 917, 929

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, Fort Hamilton Army Base in the southwest corner, and the Verrazano Bridge on the south.


Night view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge across from Shore Road
George Bradford Brainerd, Bay Ridge, c.1872 – c.1887 Brooklyn Museum

The first Dutch settlers began farming here in the 17th century.[4] 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.[5] "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.[6][7] The natural beauty attracted the wealthy, who built country homes along Shore Road, overlooking the water.[8] By World War II, almost all of these large houses had been replaced with apartment buildings.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11]

The Senator Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.[12] The Houses at 216-264 Ovington Ave. was listed in 2007.[12]

Bay Ridge's Arab community is a strong and vibrant one, and its presence is evident in everything from coffee shops to Babel Barber Shop, pictured above in the wake of the January 2016 snow storm.

The 2007 Brooklyn tornado hit this area, specifically 68th Street and Bay Ridge Avenue between Third and Fourth Avenues.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]


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).[2]

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 66.4% (52,740) White, 1.8% (1,457) African American, 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.[16]


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[17] 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.[18][19] 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.[20] Residents also compared Eighth Avenue's string of Norwegian businesses to Oslo's Karljohans Gate.[20]

Bay Ridge's Norwegian heritage lives on today in the Valhalla Courts. While the Norse god Odin ruled the mythic hall from which the courts take their name, it is mostly local teenagers who rule these basketball playing areas.

Today, Bay Ridge's population is around 80,000[21] 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."[22] 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 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.[23]

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.[21] In 2005, local community leaders and community activists from across the political spectrum united to issue rezoning laws.[24]

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.[25]


Landmarks and points of interest

Hurricane damage in Owl's Head Park
69th Street Pier
Historically speaking Bay Ridge has long been opposed to ball playing, and traces of this staunch position remain to this day on side streets stretching off of Fifth Avenue.
From harbor
The park strip between the shore road and Narrows

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[36] 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.[37]

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.[38]

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

Bay Ridge is expected to be served by the Citywide Ferry Service[39] starting in 2017.[40][41]


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

Primary and secondary schools

New York City Department of Education operates area public schools. Educational institutions in Bay Ridge include; P.S. 102,[42] P.S. 170, P.S. 127, P.S. 185[43] (Walter Kassenbrock Elementary School), P.S. 104[44] (called the Fort Hamilton School), Lutheran Elementary School, St. Anselm's Roman Catholic School, I.S. 30[45] (also known as Mary White Ovington), I.S.259 (also known as William McKinley Junior High School) Angels Catholic Academy[46] Holy Bay Ridge Preparatory School,[47] 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,[48] 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

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.[49]

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.[50]


Bay Ridge is recognized as politically conservative.[51] 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,[52] 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.[53] Republican Michael Grimm was elected to Congress in 2010, and he resigned in 2015, following a 20-count indictment; he pleaded guilty to one count of federal tax evasion and was sentenced to eight months in prison.[54]

The neighborhood is served by Brooklyn Community Board 10.

Notable people

In popular culture

  • The 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever was set there, as well as nearby Sunset Park and Bensonhurst.
  • Steven Seagal has many scenes in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights in the 1991 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 2002 film adaptation of 25th Hour is partially set in Bay Ridge.
  • The runaway subway train in the 2004 film Spider-Man 2 was destined for the Bay Ridge – 95th Street subway station.
  • Parts of the 2007 film Brooklyn Rules were set and filmed in Bay Ridge.
  • Parts of the 2007 movie Then She Found Me with Bette Midler and Helen Hunt were shot on 76th Street.
  • The Narrows, starring Kevin Zegers and Sophia Bush is set in Bay Ridge.
  • The 2010 film White Irish Drinkers by John Gray was set in Bay Ridge.[67]
  • Mark Ruffalo's character in the 2011 film "Margaret" lives near the Bay Ridge – 95th Street subway station.
  • The 2012 reality series Brooklyn 11223 is set in Bay Ridge.
  • In the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort's wife Naomi is frequently referred to as "The Duchess of Bay Ridge".
  • In an episode of Law & Order: SVU, Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) states that he is from 89th Street and Shore Road.
  • 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.[68]
  • 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.
  • Peggy Olson, the Norwegian-American copywriter on AMC's Mad Men, is from Bay Ridge.[69] 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.
  • Several short stories by Hubert Selby, Jr. are set in the neighborhood, including "Liebesnacht" and "Double Feature."[70] Some of his novels are also set in the neighborhood or nearby, like Last Exit to Brooklyn and The Demon.[71]
  • 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.[72]
  • The novel Virgin with Child by Tom McDonough is set in Bay Ridge.[73]
  • The Fort Hamilton army base is the setting for most of Nelson DeMille's novel Word of Honor.[74]


  1. Census Shapefile for 2014 Zip Code Tabulation Areas Area of 11209 Zip Code Tabulation Area
  2. 1 2 Table PL-P5 NTA: Total Population and Persons Per Acre - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, February 2012. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  3. "Brooklyn Community District 10 - New York City Department of City Planning".
  4. "Whatever happened to Yellow Hook, Brooklyn?". Ephemeral New York.
  5. "Failure to Create Park Along Shore Road Laid To Apathy of Residents". the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (2 September 1931). Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  6. "Owl's Head Park – Historical Sign".
  7. 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.
  8. 1 2 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.
  9. Bernard, Leonardo and Jennifer Weiss (2006). Brooklyn by Name. New York: NYU Press. p. 145.
  10. Stewart, Henry (November 6, 2014). "The First Gentrifiers". BKLYNR.
  11. "The definitive history of the building of the bridge is Gay Talese's The Bridge".
  12. 1 2 National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  13. "Photos and a story of the aftermath of the Bay Ridge tornado".
  14. The Phantom. "Bay Ridge Tornado: Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church".
  15. 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.
  16. Table PL-P3A NTA: Total Population by Mutually Exclusive Race and Hispanic Origin - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, March 29, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  17. "Find the Classic Bay Ridge at Nordic Delicacies".
  18. "Leif Ericson Park & Square (New York City Department of Parks & Recreation)".
  19. "17th of May Parade (Norwegian-American 17th May Committee of Greater New York)".
  20. 1 2 "Norwegians of Bay Ridge, a Proud and Tight-Knit Community". New York Times. 16 May 1971.
  21. 1 2 Kripke, Pamela Gwyn (2016-04-06). "Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, a 'Small Town' in a Big City". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  22. Otterman, Sharon (28 July 2012). "Times of Celebration, Before and After a Daily Fast". New York Times.
  23. Mooney, Jake (January 1, 2006). "Counting Graying Heads". The New York Times. p. 6. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  24. "NYC Zoning - Zoning Districts".
  25. "Best for Urbanites - Best Old House Neighborhoods 2011 - This Old House". This Old House.
  27. Stewart, Henry (22 January 2015). "The Forgotten History of the Owl's Head". Bklynr.
  28. "Owl's Head Park". NYC Parks Department.
  29. "Project of the Month September 2001; Millennium Skate Park Owl's Head Park".
  30. "Before Ferry Service Returns to Bay Ridge, a Look Back at the Neighborhood's Ferry History". Hey Ridge. August 17, 2015.
  31. "An extensive history of the Farrell House". 17 August 1997.
  32. "Harbor Defense Museum of Fort Hamilton".
  33. "Saint John's Episcopal Church".
  34. Johnson, Clint (February 2002). In the Footsteps of Stonewall Jackson (Later Printing ed.). John F Blair Pub. pp. 205–211. ISBN 0895872447.
  35. "Fort Hamilton Triangle".
  36. "NYPD - Precincts".
  37. "Subway Map" (PDF).
  38. "Brooklyn Bus Map" (PDF).
  39. DNAinfoNewYork. "Proposed Routes for NYC's Expanded Ferry Service". Scribd. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  40. "Citywide Ferry Service to Launch in June 2017, Official Says". DNAinfo New York. 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  41. "New York City's Ferry Service Set to Launch in 2017". NBC New York. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  42. "Welcome to the Bay View School". 12 January 2015.
  43. "Welcome". 13 January 2015.
  44. "The Magnet School of Museum Studies". 12 January 2015.
  45. "Welcome". 28 April 2015.
  46. "Home".
  47. "Bay Ridge Prep - An Independent K-12 College Preparatory School - Brooklyn, New York".
  49. "Hours & Locations".
  50. "Hours & Locations".
  51. Ross Barkan. "Bill de Blasio Rarely Visits Republican Strongholds in Brooklyn - Observer". Observer.
  52. "How Did Bay Ridge Get Stuck in a District with Staten Island Anyway?". Hey Ridge.
  53. Rachel Silberstein. "Scramble Begins For Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny's Vacant Seat". Sheepshead Bites.
  54. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  55. Thomas, Landon Jr. (February 12, 2007). "Questions Grow About a Top CNBC Anchor". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
  56. Lambert, Bruce (November 11, 1992). "Chuck Connors, Actor, 71, Dies; Starred as Television's 'Rifleman'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
  57. Katinas, Paula (February 18, 2014). "Bay Ridge-born Jimmy Fallon Takes Over Tonight Show". Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
  58. "Juvenile Screen Crown Reached for by Boy Star Formerly of Bay Ridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 15, 1932.
  59. 1 2 "The Fort Hamilton Streets Named for American Traitors". Hey Ridge. June 26, 2015.
  60. Newman, Andy (August 16, 1999). "klyn Mourns Dodger Who Anchored a Borough". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  62. Stewart, Henry (October 10, 2014). "Fifty Years Later, Looking for Last Exit".
  63. Fernandez, Manny (February 28, 2011). "When Players Like Duke Snider Were Also Neighbors". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  64. Stewart, Henry (August 11, 2014). "Gilbert Sorrentino, the Lost Laureate of Brooklyn".
  65. Yee, Vivian (October 9, 2013). "A Glimpse of Yellen's Career, Chronicled in Her High School Newspaper". New York Times.
  66. Rothstein, Mervyn. "Henny Youngman, King of the One-Liners, Is Dead at 91 After 6 Decades of Laughter". New York Times.
  67. "White Irish Drinkers Director: "I Love Saturday Night Fever!"". The L Magazine.
  68. "Blue Bloods - The Best Dining Room on TV".
  69. "Mad Men's Native Brooklynite Explains the Mystery of Her Heritage".
  70. Selby, Hubert (1986). Song of the Silent Snow. pp. 1–4, 19–30, 57–78.
  71. Stewart, Henry. "Fifty Years Later, Looking for Last Exit". Bklynr. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  72. Stewart, Henry. "Gilbert Sorrentino: The Lost Laureate of Brooklyn". Electric Literature.
  73. Stewart, Henry (August 5, 2015). "The Bay Ridge Canon: Virgin with Child by Tom McDonough". Hey Ridge.
  74. Stewart, Henry (July 24, 2015). "The Bay Ridge Canon: Word of Honor by Nelson DeMille". Hey Ridge.

Further reading

External links

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

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