The latest neighborhood for New Yorkers looking for an affordable alternative to Manhattan is actually one of the oldest neighborhoods around: Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, located in the southwestern corner of the borough. Interested in learning more about what this green, diverse community has to offer? Read on for more on Bay Ridge, and see why the setting of Saturday Night Fever is a great place to call home.
A History of Bay Ridge: Family Friendly Melting Pot
Bay Ridge’s roots as a neighborhood go all the way back to the 17th century, when Dutch farmers began settling in this coastal area just across the way from what is now Staten Island. By the mid 19th century, this neighborhood had taken on the name “Bay Ridge” after, you guessed it, the high, scenic ridge overlooking New York Bay. Waves of immigrants began moving into Bay Ridge throughout the 19th and 20th century, and the area became heavily populated by Norwegian, Irish, and Italian families, many of whom started businesses in the community. In the 1920s, the city established Owl’s Head Park, a 24 acre multi-use park that was once part of a private estate. The neighborhood also lays claim to Bay Ridge Library, first opened in 1880 and incorporated as part of the Brooklyn Public Library system in 1901. The natural beauty and easy community between different cultures has long made Bay Ridge an appealing place to live, and now, interest is continuing to grow.
Bay Ridge Today
Today, you can see many of the same community structures in place, from 50+ year old Italian restaurants to several long standing parochial schools that generate plenty of civic pride. But alongside the old school comforts, a new breed of residents has created a market for the more high-end, artisanal fare that’s become standard in more accessible parts of Brooklyn, like Williamsburg or Park Slope. While the leafy parks and stunning views remain, along with the friendly, diverse vibe and the sweet mix of white picket fences and larger apartment buildings, Bay Ridge has begun to modernize a bit over the past few years The mix of tradition and modernity offers a taste of the old world, while still keeping up with the changes in taste that young renters crave in their community. In addition, the neighborhood has seen an influx of residents from different backgrounds; it’s become common to see an old Italian restaurant near a new, family owned Middle Eastern joint. Talk about “best of both worlds”!
Tips and Tricks for Living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
The key to living in any developing neighborhood is to go in with a feeling of respect and appreciation for what has come before. Poke around the long standing eateries, chat with your neighbors, and take advantage of the beautiful public community spaces, like Owl’s Head Park. Curious about how to get around? Bay Ridge is served by both the N and the R trains, but keep in mind that this cozy ‘hood is a solid 40 minutes from Lower Manhattan. If you can handle the commute however, Bay Ridge is a great mix of city living and neighborhood charm, perhaps so much so that you’ll find yourself soon looking for an excuse to skip the brunch rush and explore the world outside your new front door!