NFT New York Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge might be forever linked with Saturday Night Fever. Indeed, the working-class character depicted in the 1977 film survives to this day, and it remains one of the city's most affordable neighborhoods. Third Avenue's Restaurant Row is the pride of local foodies, and stores in Bay Ridge tend to be less chaotic, and less picked over than elsewhere. And would you believe that the extravagant mansions that line Colonial Road, Narrows Avenue, and Shore Road once served as summer homes for wealthy Manhattanites? It's true--though while Bay Ridge remains convenient, it's still about a 45-minute commute to Lower Manhattan.

Bay Ridge played an important role in harbor defense during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The Barkaloo Cemetery (smallest cemetery in Brooklyn) is thought to hold the remains of many of these Revolutionary heroes. Real, live military reside at nearby See more.

>Fort Hamilton, the only active military base in New York City. Known as the "Church of the Generals," nearby St. John's Episcopal Church, has been a house of worship for officers from every conflict since the Mexican War, counting Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson as past parishioners.

After discarding the moniker "Yellow Hook" to avoid any plague-like connotations, the neighborhood was renamed after its proximity to New York Bay and the literal "ridge" in the land left over from the last Ice Age. At the turn of the 20th century, prime water views attracted the wealthy and their extravagant taste in real estate. Notable examples still extant are Fontbonne Hall, the former residence of actress Lillian Russell, The Gingerbread House, an impressive example of Arts and Crafts architecture, and the James F. Farrell House, which has been at 125 95th Street since the early twentieth century. Legend has it the house plan was oriented so that its "widow's walk" -- the balcony that overlooks the sea so women could watch for their husbands' ships -- would no longer face the Narrows.

There are plenty of parks and promenades, especially along the the water. The 69th Street Pier-9/11 Memorial at Shore Road and Bay Ridge Avenue is a former ferry pick-up site and a current recreation spot for sports fisherman. And did you know that Vikings discovered America? Check out the Leif Ericson Runestone in Leif Ericson Park if you feel the need to factcheck. Stunning views of the imposing Verrazano-Narrows Bridge can be had from the Belt Parkway Promenade. Completed in 1964, the behemoth is still the longest suspension bridge in the Americas.

Bay Ridge has always been known for its bar scene, but it's a bar scene of a certain clientele. Dance clubs like Trace attract the six-pack, spray-tanned set, while the sitters-and-talkers unwind at one of the numerous sports bars (Salty Dog, Bean Post, Lone Star).

Third Avenue abounds with diverse offerings. Middle Eastern powerhouse Tanoreen is destination dining, but it's hardly the only place worth braving the R train for. Try Tuscany Grill for Italian or Nouvelle for Japanese. The Moroccan food at Casablanca comes highly recommended.

Brand-name stores reign on 86th Street (Century 21, The Gap), but there are plenty of opportunities to support small business on 3rd and 5th Avenues. HOM is a neighborhood original, peddling home accents and high tea, while Frank and Eddie's Meat Market provides a touch of the old school.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jennifer Blevins
Photo:  Jennifer Blevins

Yes, Bay Ridge is far away. Trust me, I know. I live there. I want to throw myself on the tracks of the 36th Street subway station in Brooklyn at least once a week during my miserable wait for the R train. But Bay Ridge is worth the trip, especially when you're talking about food...and especially when you're talking about Middle Eastern food. And the best of the best is Tanoreen. Rawia Bishara, the chef-owner, is masterful with eggplant, lamb, hummus...well, everything on her menu. And she visits each table with maternal concern, making sure your dining experience is everything you had dreamed it would be. I highly recommend the cauliflower salad--browned cauliflower buds topped with tahini sauce and pomegranate syrup, so perfect they seem to defy the laws of the natural world. It's BYOB (no corking fee) and Bay Ridge certainly has an abundance of liquor stores, so pick up a bottle of wine on your way. The atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired, but the prices and quality of food make it well worth the trip to Bay Ridge...if you can resist suicide at the 36th Street station.

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