In recent weeks, Ridgeites have defended their ‘hood against misperceptions and misrepresentations in the form of a drama-filled new reality show.

Since the premiere of Oxygen’s “Brooklyn 11223,” local residents have complained that its young female stars have popularized negative stereotypes of Brooklynites as loud, obnoxious and crass. Fearful that the show’s success might soil public opinion of the town we know and love so well, Ridgeites are taking action and speaking out.

Bay Ridge residents take pride in their neighborhood, a close-knit community where art, culture, nightlife and amazing cuisine intersect. Public outcry against the reality show has only grown louder as viewers have been exposed to the drama of the young, Gravesend-native stars who spend most episodes fighting over guys and rumors at some of the Ridge’s favorite spots.

Local politicians recently called a press conference to protest the show and its supporters. Councilmember Vincent Gentile criticized the show for being a copycat of its reality television predecessors, aimed at degrading women and over-simplifying notions of what real Brooklynites are like.

State Senator Diane Savino agreed, calling for local businesses to stop supporting the show by allowing its camera crews to film in their establishments.

Similar to Italian American backlash in the wake of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” Brooklynites, and in particular, those of Italian-American descent, fear that the show’s stars have turned perceptions of our community into offensive cartoons.

If you are like me, you realize that reality television is here to stay and most likely, so is “Brooklyn 11223.” I say, Ridgeites ignore all the fuss and get back to appreciating what we already know to be true about our area.

Reality television will come and go, but if we are lucky, the Ridge will remain a rare corner of our city where neighbors still know one another’s names and you can still buy a decent slice of pizza. If that is not enough, go out and remind yourself why it is that we are defending the Ridge in the first place.

The Taste Of The Ridge festival will take place on Sunday between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. in Saint Patrick’s School auditorium. The festival will charge a mere $15 at the door and will treat attendees to samples from some of Bay Ridge’s finest culinary hot spots.

As any real Ridgeite will tell you, there is nothing better than an afternoon with neighbors and a taste of our ‘hood. Saint Patrick R.C. Church is located at 9511 Fourth Avenue.

For information or tickets to the Taste of the Ridge Festival, call the rectory at 718-238-2600. In the meantime, turn off your TV and go see the real Ridge (11209, not 11223) in action.

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