Hofmo tells historical society about Viking roots

Prominent Bay Ridgeite Victoria Hofmo was the guest speaker at the Oct. 18 monthly meeting of the Bay Ridge Historical Society. Hofmo is the president of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum, the Bay Ridge Conservancy and the Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Alliance.

During her talk she traced the Nordic roots of the Vikings and spoke about the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. She also mentioned the early immigration of Norwegians and Swedes to Bay Ridge and South Brooklyn.

A replica of a ship at Viking Fest in Owl’s Head Park. Photo courtesy of Scandinavian East Coast Museum

The officers of the BRHS are President Thomas McCarthy, First Vice President Henry Stewart, Second Vice President Thomas Hilton and Treasurer John Cassidy. State Sen. Andrew Gounardes is a member and a past president.

Among the society’s treasures are the original glass negatives of the Samuel Winter Thomas photo collection, which depict rural Bay Ridge in the late 1800s, and a very popular Facebook page. If you want to see and read the famed, now out-of-print“Bay Ridge Chronicles,” click on Bay Ridge History.com, which is maintained by Henry Stewart. And in the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the trustees and a volunteer publicist for the BRHS.


By yearly proclamations heralded by U.S. presidents, including President Joe Biden, Oct. 9 has been designated Leif Erikson Day in memory of the Viking discoverer who reportedly arrived in North America in the year 1000. I mention this particular White House citation because it is always read at the annual luncheon of the Bay Ridge-based Leif Erikson Society, which was recently held at the Greenhouse Cafe on Third Avenue.

A monument in Leif Ericson Park. Photo courtesy of Henry Stewart
A vintage photo shows Third Avenue near 76th Street. Photo courtesy of the Bay Ridge Historical Society

This society was founded by the late attorney and historian John Carlson. Back in 1996 Carlson and the society were instrumental in having the City Council formally designate a part of Shore Parkway (also known as the Belt Parkway) from Fort Hamilton Parkway to Knapp Street as Leif Ericson Drive.

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