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City Living: Ridgewood
Sitting on the border of Queens and Brooklyn, Ridgewood is packed with the old and new; it is chock full of history and is a popular spot for young people to move today.
Gary Giordano, chairman of Ridgewood’s Community Board 5 moved to the Queens neighborhood nearly three decades ago and said it has maintained a unique charm over the years.
“A lot of the housing was built here between 1900 and 1920,” he said. “If you go to some other Queens neighborhoods, the housing was built a lot more recently.”
Homes Giordano mentioned include some of Ridgewood’s signature old-fashioned single or two-family row houses erected throughout the neighborhood.
Ridgewood, an area of about two square miles with more than 65,000 residents, exists in a somewhat under-the-radar spot right on the border of Brooklyn and Queens.
But the nabe’s commercial districts -- like along Myrtle Avenue, Fresh Pond Road, and Forest Avenue -- are go-to spots for residents of both boroughs looking to shop and run errands.
Some of Ridgewood’s earliest settlers date back to the 1860s.
It was then a predominantly German and Italian community, but the ever-changing demographics of New York City have since diversified the area and brought in more young people, residents said.
Honoring its history, the neighborhood was designated as a historic district in 1986.
The Onderdonk House, a Dutch-American farmhouse at 1820 Flushing Ave., was built in 1709 and is now a local attraction for history buffs.
Other hotbeds of history in Ridgewood include its own theater at 55-27 Myrtle Ave., built in 1916 and designated as a landmark in 2010.
Ridgewood runs west to east from Flushing Avenue to Fresh Pond Road, and south to north from Cooper Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue. More »
M train to Fresh Pond Road; L train to Myrtle-Wyckoff avenues; B13, B20, B26, B38, B52, B54, Q39, Q54, Q55 buses More »
Ridgewood Library, 20-12 Madison St., 718-821-4770 More »
USPS Ridgewood branch, 6060 Myrtle Ave., 718-418-0793. More »
Ridgewood is served by the 104th Precinct at 64-2 Catalpa Ave. Its commanding officer Capt. Christopher Manson said his officers are close with the community. Crime is down 78% here since 1993 and 44% since 2001. There have been 18 robberies, 26 burglaries and 34 grand larcenies reported by the precinct so far this year, according to its CompStat report. More »
Joe’s dishes just what any Italian food lover would expect from a neighborhood favorite. Residents used words like “old school,” “mom-and-pop” and “exceptional” to describe this family-style eatery.
Another community staple storefront known for its breakfast dishes and cheap eats. The Tasty Restaurant is crowded with people more often than not – especially on weekends, but never enough to affect the service.
One of Ridgewood’s top nighttime hotspots named after one of its most notorious residents. Houdini is just a short walk from the L train and serves up dishes like various signature pizzas, burrata appetizers, desserts and even wine. Ask neighborhood natives what they think of Houdini and you’ll hear words like “underground” and “hidden gem.”
This pub is on the rise in Ridgewood, according to its residents, with more and more community events being booked from week to week. Formerly known as Casey’s Tavern, the Fresh Pond Road watering hole is in the heart of the neighborhood and was described as the go-to Ridgewood pub.
Anyone looking to throw a party in Ridgewood has one of the city’s hottest spots at their fingertips in Ridgewood. Gottscheer Hall has some of the neighborhood’s favorite drinks and dishes like potato pancakes -- all at an affordable price. Its ballroom also allows for a place to let loose and dance.
If loud pubs aren’t your thing, then Spolem Café could be your new favorite place in Ridgewood. This coffee shop has been described as cozy and friendly with an interesting food menu with items like Belgian waffles to accompany its tasty drink options. Don’t forget to try the dessert menu.
The vendors might change, but the hometown feel never fades at the Ridgewood Market. This seasonal attraction showcases a variety of different offerings from every corner of the neighborhood, including anything from food to trinkets. Last year, one vendor even offered handmade voodoo doll earrings.
Here is a mom-and-pop shop that some residents described as something you won’t find in most other neighborhoods throughout the city. Art Cove is Ridgewood’s best local option for art supplies and more for the creative thinkers looking to beautify their surroundings -- all still available at an affordable price.
A Second Glance Thrift
New to Ridgewood? This thrift shop can fulfill just about any need a neighborhood newcomer might have when trying to stock up for their new pad. This place has anything from furniture to jewelry for anyone looking for a good deal on any kinds of hidden gems. What’s even more impressive is the knowledge of its staffers -- both with the shop’s inventory and with whatever you might want to bring in yourself.
People in Ridgewood have referred to their local YMCA as the best place to bulk up and get in shape without breaking the bank. The Ridgewood YMCA offers different classes, including yoga and weight training, to help anyone in the neighborhood develop a fit lifestyle without having to subscribe to long-term contracts at any other chain store gym.
Grover Cleveland Park
The park was named in honor of former U.S. President Grover Cleveland and was described by residents as a small, intimate place for neighbors to unwind. The park may be small, but it has all the features anyone looks for in a park, including some shade, open space, a playground, jogging path, soccer fields and even handball courts. It also offers an impressive view of the Manhattan skyline.
Kids Fun House
There is plenty of room for family life in the neighborhood. Here, parents have a place to celebrate birthdays or to otherwise get their kids tired for the night.