Ridgewood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens that borders the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale as well as the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. Historically, the neighborhood straddled the Queens-Brooklyn boundary until the Brooklyn portion was renamed Wyckoff Heights and given a separate ZIP code. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 5. The majority of the area is in the City Council District 30; parts of the southern part of the district adjacent to the Brooklyn boundary lie in District 34.
Historically a German neighborhood, it is now home to many families of diverse backgrounds, including Hispanic Americans (Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Ecuadorians), Eastern Europeans (Polish, Romanian, Albanian), and Arabs. Harry Houdini is one of the former notable residents and is buried nearby at the Machpelah Cemetery in neighboring Glendale.
Originally, Ridgewood was part of the Dutch settlement Boswijk (Bushwick) and was later incorporated into the village of Breuckelen (Brooklyn). A legacy of the past stands today; Onderdonk House, which was erected in 1709. The house is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City. Also located at the Onderdonk House site is Arbitration Rock, which was a marker for the disputed boundary between Bushwick and Newtown and thereby essentially between Brooklyn and Queens.
The majority of the neighborhood covers a large hill, more than likely part of the glacial moraine that created Long Island, which starts at Metropolitan Avenue, rises steeply for about two blocks, then slopes down gently. A good example of just how steep the hill is can be found at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish. The front entrance of the church, which is at street level on 60th Place, is almost level with the second floor of the parish school right next door.
Major streets in Ridgewood include Seneca Avenue, Forest Avenue, Fresh Pond Road, Myrtle Avenue and Metropolitan ("Metro") Avenue. All of these streets are narrow two-lane roads (with parking lanes), and their high volume causes traffic tie-ups during rush hour. The intersection of Fresh Pond and Metropolitan is especially notorious as a bottleneck. The main shopping areas are on Myrtle Avenue and Fresh Pond Road. Smaller shopping strips are located on Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Avenue and Seneca Avenue.
Ridgewood is a densely settled neighborhood, with housing stock ranging from six-family buildings near the Brooklyn border to two-family and single-family row houses deeper into Queens. Ridgewood is visually distinguished from Bushwick by the large amount of exposed brick construction; in Brooklyn, vinyl siding is more common.
Most of Ridgewood was developed block-by-block around the turn of the 20th century. The neighborhood has been largely untouched by construction since then, leaving many centrally planned blocks of houses and tenements in the same state as their construction. These blocks include the Matthews Flats (six-family cold water tenements), Ring-Gibson Houses (two- and four-family houses with stores) and Stier Houses (curved single-family rowhouses). Many of these houses are well kept and retain much of their early 20th century appeal.
The Template:NYCS service runs through the heart of Ridgewood, and its connection to the Template:NYCS service at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues at the south end of Ridgewood is a transportation hub, with a 60-million-dollar renovation completed in 2007. At the end of the M train is the Fresh Pond Yard, a storage yard for the train.
The Ridgewood Terminal at that station serves the B13, B26, B52, B54, Q55 and Q58 bus lines. The B20, B38, Q39 and Q54 bus lines also serve Ridgewood. In addition, the neighborhood is home to the large Fresh Pond Bus Depot, which serves many of the bus routes that run throughout Brooklyn and Queens.
Media and popular culture
Ridgewood has also served as location shoots for numerous major motion pictures, including The French Connection, A Stranger Among Us, The Wanderers, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Jerky Boys: The Movie, Beat Street and Cop Out. In addition to these movies, scenes for The Sopranos were filmed on Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood on March 9, 2006, when a hookah bar next to the neighborhood bar Glenlo's Tavern was detonated.
Borough debate: A matter to be addressed
Today, Ridgewood’s land area lies within Queens County. However, its political boundary with Brooklyn causes confusion and debate about where the western boundary of Ridgewood truly lies and whether part of Ridgewood is considered to be actually part of Brooklyn. Ridgewood and its Brooklyn neighbor community, Bushwick, have the same grid plan street layout. The boundary between Brooklyn and Queens that was set in 1769 at the Arbitration Rock lay along a diagonal, but when the street grid was later put in, the geographic boundary was adapted to the street layout, resulting in a zig-zag pattern instead of a diagonal. Buildings fronting on streets that “begin” in Brooklyn (i.e., located west of Forest Avenue) and the cross streets that bisect them follow a house-numbering system that begins in Brooklyn (Myrtle and Metropolitan Avenues are exceptions). More simply, on the streets that continue from Brooklyn into Queens, the political border is crossed without any change in the house-numbering system.
Until the late 1970s, Ridgewood and neighboring Glendale were served entirely by the Brooklyn post office in Bushwick. Letters to Queens addresses would normally be addressed to "Ridgewood, Brooklyn NY 11227." Following events of the New York City blackout of 1977 that marred the public perception of the Bushwick community, the communities of Ridgewood and Glendale expressed a desire to disassociate themselves from Bushwick. In 1979, the two areas were granted a Queens ZIP code, 11385, while the Brooklyn portion of Ridgewood became Wyckoff Heights and was designated a separate Brooklyn ZIP code of 11237.
Over the years since then, it has been suggested that Ridgewood be returned to Brooklyn in order to ameliorate the perceived poor reputation of Bushwick. Queens residents have protested, however, claiming that it would worsen Ridgewood. The 104th NYPD precinct headquarters might also have to relocate to another section of Queens in order to serve Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth.
P.S. 305 is a public school for Pre-K to 3rd grade. P.S. 68, P.S. 71, P.S. 239, P.S. 81 and P.S. 88 are public schools that serve Pre-K to 5th grade. There are also private elementary schools in Ridgewood, including St. Matthias, St. Aloysius, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and St. Brigid.
Grover Cleveland High School is the only high school in Ridgewood and is the public high school zoned to most of Ridgewood, but some Ridgewood high school students are zoned to Franklin K. Lane High School, which straddles the Brooklyn-Queens border in northwest Woodhaven.
From 1886 to 1889, Ridgewood Park on Myrtle Avenue (with its site now divided by Seneca Avenue) was home to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (later the Brooklyn Dodgers and now the Los Angeles Dodgers) for their Sunday games.
- City Council: Elizabeth Crowley (30) & Diana Reyna (34)
- State Assembly: Catherine Nolan (37) & Michael G. Miller (38)
- State Senate: George Onorato (12)
- U.S. Representative: Nydia Velasquez (12)
All of Bushwick's representatives are Democrats.
Notable current and former residents of Ridgewood include:
- James Cagney (1899-1986), actor.
- DJ Aphlatoon, music composer, disc jockey
- Jeannie Ortega (1986-), Recording Artist, Songwriter, Actress
- Ron Eldard (1965-), actor.
- Harry Houdini (1874-1926), magician
- Bob Sheppard (1910-2010), public address announcer
- Phil Rizzuto (1917-2007), baseball player and broadcaster
- Dan Schneider, poet and critic
- Gus Van (1886-1968), singer and vaudeville star, part of the team of Van & Schenck
- Reginald VelJohnson (1952-), actor
- John Ventimiglia (1963-), actor
- Michael Vahrenwald (1977-), photographer
- Rosie Perez (1964-), actress (attended school in Ridgewood)
- ↑ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
- ↑ WPA Guide to New York City: The Federal Writers' Project Guide to 1930s New York. 1939.
- ↑ "The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House". Greater Ridgewood Historical Society. http://onderdonkhouse.org/default.aspx. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- ↑ Walsh, Kevin. Forgotten New York: Ridgewood
- ↑ http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4021/
- ↑ Lee, Jennifer S. (November 2, 2007). "Is Ridgewood the New East Bushwick?". The New York Times. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/02/is-ridgewood-the-new-east-bushwick/. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- ↑ Ballparks: 1862 - Present, Brooklyn Dodgers. Accessed August 21, 2007.
- ↑ Garcia, Krista (August 2, 2002). "Close-Up On: Ridgewood, Queens". Village Voice. http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0232,garcia,37188,15.html. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
- ↑ Yarrow, Andrew L. (December 29, 1989). "New Faces: Annabella Sciorra and Ron Eldard; The Actors Who Gave Life To the Couple in 'True Love'". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE7DD153DF93AA15751C1A96F948260. Retrieved April 10, 2008. "I've always been disturbed at how Italian-Americans are usually portrayed in movies, but Nancy and Rich made it clear they weren't looking for stereotypes,' Mr. Eldard said. 'Half my family is Sicilian, and where I lived in Queens, in Ridgewood, is very Italian."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ridgewood, Queens|
- 30th City Council District boundary map
- 34th City Council District boundary map
- New York Times story on 5 Families Move From East Village to Ridgewood
- New York Times: A Neat Enclave Enriched by Waves of Immigrants
- New York Times April 2006 Real Estate Story
- Times Newsweekly
- Page about the Ridgewood Theatre, and the debate over borough identity