Bay Ridge’s Scandinavian heritage will be front and center onOctober 29, when Leif Ericson Park becomes the stage for a ceremonyjoining the neighborhood of Bay Ridge with the Farsund Municipalityof Vest Agder in Norway as sister cities.
The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the park near theSixth Avenue and 66th Street entrance, where the 17th of May Paradeends each year, and where a sunset maple, a Norwegian maple hybrid,will be planted in memory of the 69 people who perished in the Julyterror attacks in Oslo and Utoya, Norway.
The occasion was orchestrated by City Councilmember VincentGentile and the Scandinavian East Coast Museum (SECM), working inconjunction with the Norwegian town that has long showed itssolidarity with the county of Kings, where so many Scandinavianssettled during the earlier years of the 20th century.
How you may ask? For one thing, Vest Agder has its very ownBrooklyn Square, and holds an annual American Festival. Inaddition, townspeople plan to recreate the look of Bay Ridge of the50s and 60s in the area near Brooklyn Square.
It’s a one-year agreement to preserve and enhance thehistorical connection between Bay Ridge and Norway, Gentileexplained at the October Community Board 10 meeting.
For Victoria Hofmo, an SECM founder, the event symbolizes thedeep roots of Scandinavians who settled in southwestern Brooklyn.Even though the number of Scandinavians living in the area hasdiminished, What they built is still here, she stressed.Lutheran Medical Center, the churches, the Norwegian Home,Sporting Club Gjoa. They built to last, not only physically but interms of institutions. It doesn’t matter if there’s one Norwegianleft here. What they built in Bay Ridge is their legacy.
It’s very nice to reinforce the Norwegian connection, Hofmoadded, not only at the time of the parade, but in times of griefand sorrow, as well.
The agreement, signed by representatives of the FarsundMunicipality back in June, in a gesture of friendship andgoodwill, shall endeavor to preserve and enhance the longstandinghistorical connections…through the exchange of arts, cultural andeducational programming, according to the wording of the documentthat Gentile will sign.