It was a happy holiday indeed for Bay Ridge as the Preservation League of New York State granted $6,000 to the Historic Districts Council towards the cost of completing a Cultural Resources Survey of the historically rich neighborhood.
“Bay Ridge is one of Brooklyn’s most legendary neighborhoods – everyone knows of it but far fewer people actually know it,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “To our knowledge, the area has never had a wide-scale survey conducted of its architectural treasures and historic buildings.”
Celebrated in 2012 as one of the Historic Districts Council’s “Six to Celebrate,” Bay Ridge has a rich history reflected in its diverse building types. From large, early mansions and blocks of masonry row houses to historic apartment buildings and commercial thoroughfares, Bay Ridge has it all and, according to the council, a full survey will aid local advocates in better understanding the neighborhood’s historic context. Above all, such a survey may help preserve blocks with significant architectural integrity.
“Considering the recent loss of such local landmarks as the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church, also known as the Green Church, this survey will be an important first step in identifying the neighborhood’s significant architecture in order to better protect it,” said Bankoff.
The grant, given through the Preserve New York Grant Program, is made possible by the New York state Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State legislature.
“Preserve New York has a strong track record of bolstering local preservation efforts and delivering a strong return on investment,” said Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League, an organization that has garnered a total of $1.8 million in support while working on 292 projects statewide since its launch in 1993.
Bay Ridge advocates for preservation were happy to hear the news.
“It’s great that these resources are devoted to exploring the history of not just this great neighborhood but of New York State,” said Andrew Gounardes, president of the Bay Ridge Historical Society. “Anyone who’s even done a little bit of research in Bay Ridge knows just how important our community has been in the last 300 years.
“It’s exciting for the neighborhood and it’s exciting for the community,” he continued. “I’ll be eager to see what they come up with.”