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EDITORIAL: Celebrating Bay Ridge

We were delighted, but not surprised, that the HistoricDistricts Council has named Bay Ridge as one of its Six toCelebrate for 2012.

The not-for-profit group, which advocates for respectfulpreservation of historic streetscapes and maintaining and enhancingcommunities’ aesthetic sensibly, zeroed in on Bay Ridge because ofits wealth of beautiful and varied architecture, its livelycommercial strips and its expansive parkland, as well as because ofefforts by the local Bay Ridge Conservancy to protect and preserveall of the characteristics that make the neighborhoodspecial.

Bay Ridge’s uniqueness is, of course, an open secret to residents,who relish its many treasures – the myriad of restaurants, themom-and-pop shops, and of course the tapestry of residences,comprising expansive free-standing homes built in Victorian times,elegant turn-of-the-20th-century rowhouses and Art Deco apartmentbuildings, among others. There are also the numerous courts andcul-de-sacs, dating back decades, that add a unique flavor to aquintessentially city neighborhood that sprung up from mid-19thcentury farmland.

But, as HDC Executive Director Simeon Bankoff points out, whatRidgeites take for granted about their beloved community is largelyunknown beyond its borders, and raising awareness of the city’sdiverse neighborhoods on a broader basis is one of HDC’sgoals.

Most people outside the neighborhood don’t know these things arethere to begin with, stressed Bankoff. We hope to enhanceawareness of them.

In being recognized, Bay Ridge is in good company. The otherneighborhood in Brooklyn to be so designated is Victorian Flatbush,which, according to HDC, has the largest concentration ofVictorian wood-frame homes in the country. Other neighborhoodsincluded are Morningside Heights in Manhattan, the BeachsideBungalows in Far Rockaway, Queens, and two Bronx enclaves – thePort Morris Gantries and Van Cortlandt Village.

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