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Ridgewood, Queens draws young professionals priced out of Brooklyn

When crossing the Bushwick border into Ridgewood, it’s hard to tell when you leave Brooklyn and enter Queens.

The brick row houses, along with the coffee shops, kitschy bars and art galleries popping up throughout Ridgewood evoke a Brooklyn aura.

Due to the similarities, young professionals looking for a Brooklyn vibe in recent years have drifted into Ridgewood — which formerly has predominantly been a haven for German, Italian, Hispanic and Egyptian immigrants.

As many are priced out of Williamsburg and Bushwick, the low-rise apartment buildings, multi-family homes and townhouses in Ridgewood become the next-best choice, said Cono Natale, a licensed broker with Citi Habitats.

“You see a lot of younger people moving into the neighborhood because of the affordability and the convenience of getting into the city,” Natale said.

It takes about a 40 to 45 minutes to get to midtown from Ridgewood, which has access to the M train.

Residents don’t need to leave Ridgewood to run their errands, however. Along the commercial districts on Myrtle and Seneca avenues is a plethora of shops and restaurants, like Polish delis and Mexican eateries, which reflect the diversity in the area.

One staple, Muncan Food Corp, is an Eastern European butcher shop on Myrtle Avenue, opened in 1992 by the same family that runs a shop by the same name in Astoria sjnce 1978.

Families head to the local Grover Cleveland Park, on Stanhope Street between Grandview and Woodward avenues, for its playground and softball and handball courts. A wading pool provides a spot to cool off in the summer and is sometimes used as an ice-skating rink in the winter.

Ridgewood is becoming more like Brooklyn by way of the trendy new businesses popping up, too. The café and bakery Norma’s Corner Shoppe, for example, opened on Catalpa Avenue in 2012, and the bar and antique shop The Keep opened in 2014 on Cypress Avenue.

Nowadays, a seasonal bar on Cooper Avenue that opened in June 2015 by the team behind the Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday dance parties in Brooklyn, offers everything from beer and sangria to food, movies and beer pong tournaments. It will reopen for the summer on May 12.

There are trendy art galleries too, like Lorimoto on Hancock Street, which opened in 2013 and displays local artwork.

Anibal Cordero, 52, who has lived in Ridgewood for 28 years, said he appreciates the newer establishments in the area, especially the coffee shops.

“[They’re] good for kids to go in and get their homework done because of the free Wi-Fi,” he said.

But while rents are relatively cheaper than Bushwick and Williamsburg, Ridgewood residents, including Cordero, have noticed the cost of living rising in the neighborhood.

The median rent in Bushwick and Williamsburg in 2015 was $2,500 and $3,100, respectively, according to the listings site StreetEasy. Meanwhile, the median rent in Ridgewood was $2,300 last year, up from $2,050 in 2014.

The median sales price in Ridgewood in 2015 was $750,000, StreetEasy found.

Meanwhile, construction is underway on a 90-unit building at 16-14 and 16-26 Madison St., considered within Ridgewood’s boundaries by some, which developer Essex Capital is reportedly gearing toward artistic types with a shared workspace for residents.

Despite the changes, Vincent Arcuri Jr., chair of the local Community Board 5, said local residents maintain their community-oriented values and celebrate their diversity.

“Ridgewood is abuzz since it has been discovered by the hipster community,” Arcuri said. But, he added, “anyone interested in Ridgewood should be aware of the camaraderie of its residents [and] its multi-ethnicity.”

Find it:

Ridgewood sits between Flushing Avenue to the west, the train tracks just past Decatur Street to the east, Fresh Pond Road to the north and Cypress Avenue to the south, according to StreetEasy.

Ridgewood restaurants

Norma's Corner Shoppe59-02 Catalpa Ave.A charming cafe and
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Norma's Corner Shoppe

59-02 Catalpa Ave.

A charming cafe and bakery that serves salads, sandwiches and freshly-baked pastries.

Tasty Restaurant & Coffee Shop

58-02 Myrtle Ave.

This traditional American diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Taqueria Kermes

66-36 Fresh Pond Road

Popular for its tacos, this Mexican restaurant offers a variety of classic Latin dishes including churros, tostones and elotes.


Bars and nightlife

Glenlo Tavern64-18 Fresh Pond RoadAn old-fashioned Irish pub
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Glenlo Tavern

64-18 Fresh Pond Road

An old-fashioned Irish pub offering up hearty bar food along with domestic and imported beer.

The Keep

205 Cypress Ave.

Visit this unusual bar that doubles as an antique store for live music and psychic readings along with bites and cocktails.

Gottscheer Hall

657 Fairview Ave.

Established in 1924, this tavern serves domestic and imported beers along with German snacks.

Where to shop in Ridgewood

Gotham Thrift Shop60-21 Myrtle Ave.Find vintage furniture, fixtures,
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Gotham Thrift Shop

60-21 Myrtle Ave.

Find vintage furniture, fixtures, jewelry, electronics and collectibles at this mom-and-pop thrift shop.

New York Fabrics

59-37 Myrtle Ave.

Area seamstresses can find affordable fabrics.


Ridgewood Market

657 Fairview Ave.

An indoor flea market in the center of Ridgewood where dozens of vendors offer goods of all kinds.

Things to do in Ridgewood

BM Pottery Studio17-02 Gates Ave.Pottery enthusiasts of all
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

BM Pottery Studio

17-02 Gates Ave.

Pottery enthusiasts of all ages can take classes here.

Grover Cleveland Park

Stanhope Street between Fairview and Grandview avenues

This park includes a playground and courts for basketball, handball and volleyball, along with baseball and soccer fields. Food trucks also line up near the park on warm days.

The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House

1820 Flushing Ave.

The oldest Dutch-Colonial stone house in the five boroughs is now a museum, national and state historic site and a New York City landmark.

Transit basics

Trains:M to Seneca Avenue and Forest AvenueBuses:B13, B38,
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier


M to Seneca Avenue and Forest Avenue


B13, B38, B57, Q38, Q39, B20, Q39, Q54, Q55 Q58, Q67

Ridgewood real estate data

Median recorded sales price: $725,000 Number of units:
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Median recorded sales price: $725,000

Number of units: 81

Median recorded rent price: $2,300

Number of rentals: 1,025

(Source: StreetEasy)

The buzz

Ridgewood residents are bracing for commuting challenges as
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Ridgewood residents are bracing for commuting challenges as the MTA is planning to close two sections of the M line -- a bridge and a viaduct -- for reconstruction in the summer of 2017, which will put Ridgewood's only two subway stations out of service for two months.

"These temporary closures are vital to the long-term viability of the M line in Brooklyn and Queens," said Veronique Hakim, president of NYC Transit, in a statement. "Both of these structures have deteriorated to the point that there is simply no other option than complete replacement."

Local officials agreed with the need for repairs.

"In a lot of situations, structures in this city are approaching 100 years or over 100 years," said Gary Giordano, district manager for the local Community Board 5. "So throughout New York City, we're going to see more need for reconstruction, and the M [train is] just an example of that."

The M train carries 60,000 commuters on an average weekday, according the MTA.

Officials said they will conduct community meetings with residents and businesses to plan transit alternatives, such as shuttle buses.

In the meantime however, locals are already concerned about potentail delays getting into the city. Alex Rojas, a 26-year-old Ridgewood resident who works at a supermarket in Alphabet City, said the reconstruction will increase his commute.

"It's an inconvenience," he said. "The shuttle buses are always late and I'd have to leave an hour early."

Q&A with Diana Moncada, co-owner of Bushwick Bakery

Co-owner Diana Moncada, 38, opened the second location
Photo Credit: Dartunorro Clark

Co-owner Diana Moncada, 38, opened the second location of Bushwick Bakery four months ago at 709 Seneca Ave. in Ridgewood with her business partner. The shop serves fresh pastries and coffee.

What drew your business to Ridgewood?

This area is changing a lot because of all the young people moving in, so we decided to open [here]. ... A lot of businesses are opening [in Ridgewood because] it's an area where it's still affordable to open a place.

How has business been so far?

We're doing OK. It's getting up little by little. What we have, no one else has. We bake everything we have. We try to get [ingredients] the freshest we can. We have croissants, Danishes, tarts, French cakes and pastries.

How did you get into the bakery business?

My [business] partner had a bakery for over 20 years in Cobble Hill. I used to work with him eight to 10 years ago as a barista. I stopped working for him and went into nonprofit work and then we started talking and we decided to open something, and that's where this bakery came from.


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