Local elected officials and many area residents often refer to Bay Ridge as a “small town in the big city.” The “town” is actually part of Community District 10 which also includes the neighborhoods of Fort Hamilton and Dyker Heights.
Both the southern and eastern boundaries of the district stretch to the shorefront along the Narrows, with the northern border edging along the 65th Street railroad cut and the western side stopping at 14th Avenue.
Collectively, this district has an approximate population of 122,600, comparable to the city of Athens, Georgia. Doing some research, we were also surprised to learn the district has a larger population than all of the individual cities and towns in eight states!
While, of course, the mayor is the titular head of this great city, nonetheless, think about it for a moment, at our “town” level, longtime CB 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann plays an important administrative role ensuring proper services are carried out for her “town’s” 122,600 residents.
Accordingly, Beckmann gave her annual ‘State of the District’ address at the recent January meeting of the Bay Ridge AARP, which is headed by retired NYPD Detective Peter Killen, a past president of the Bay Ridge Community Council.
During her remarks, Beckmann highlighted the duties and responsibilities of her post and how she interacts with the members of the all-volunteer community board who are appointed by the borough president with 50 percent of them recommended by New York City Councilmember Vincent Gentile.
The Community Education Council for School District 20 held its first monthly public meeting of the new year at P.S./I.S. 180, 5601 16th Avenue. The educational panel recently added two new members, Marianne Qozman and Genevieve Mammana.
Current members include President Laurie Windsor, First Vice President Eileen McKenna, Second Vice President Zi Yi Pan, Recording Secretary Bob Lee, Treasurer Sheila Higginson, Eileen Connelly-Garcia, Adele Doyle, Stanley Ng, Robert Yee and Student Member Matthew Sanchez.
Fred Maley and Steve Gonzalez from the School Construction Authority gave a presentation on ongoing and projected capital improvements plus proposed new schools for District 20.
Maley mentioned this school district is one of the most overcrowded in the entire city, and the SCA has been hard pressed to find new available sites to build on. He also asked the attendees at the public forum to contact him or the council if they become aware of possible sites.
One of the newest pre-k schools under construction is a three-story building for P.S. 613 at 359-369 93rd Street, scheduled to open in September with 252 seats.
It was a busy night for the school board. Dr. Joseph O’Brien showed and discussed a video about a recent trip to China by a small delegation of principals from District 20. Among the information gleaned from the presentation is that classrooms in China have 45 students, and English is the second language taught in Chinese schools, beginning in the third grade.