Ridgewood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It borders the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale, as well as the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick and East Williamsburg. Historically, the neighborhood straddled the Queens-Brooklyn boundary.
Location within New York City
|City||New York City|
|Community District||Queens 5|
|• Median income||$42,049|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area codes||718, 347, 929, and 917|
Ridgewood is located in Queens Community District 5 and its ZIP Code is 11385. It is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 104th Precinct. Politically, Ridgewood is represented by the New York City Council's 30th District.
Originally, Ridgewood was part of the Dutch settlement Boswijk (Bushwick) and was later incorporated into the village of Breuckelen (now Brooklyn). A legacy of this past stands today; Onderdonk House, which was erected in 1709. The house is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City. Also located at the Onderdonk House site is Arbitration Rock, which was a marker for the disputed boundary between Bushwick and Newtown and essentially Brooklyn and Queens.
Although the area was originally farmed and settled by the Dutch during the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the secondary wave of English settlers who named it Ridgewood after the area's green and hilly terrain. The development of public transportation, from horse-drawn cars in the mid-19th century and later trolleys and elevated trains, helped to spur residential and retail development. Most of the housing stock was built between 1905 and 1915 to house German immigrants who worked in the breweries and knitting factories that straddled the Queens-Brooklyn border.
After World War I, the population expanded with an influx of Gottscheers—an ethnic German population from Slovenia who were dislocated in the aftermath of World War I—and Irish, followed soon after by Italians. In April 1934, a large, 9,000-person boycott of Nazi Germany resulted in brawls between Nazi sympathizers and Jewish Communist groups.
In the mid-20th century, Romanians, Serbs, and Puerto Ricans arrived. By the late 20th century, Poles, Dominicans, and Ecuadorians—including a significant population of Quechua speaking Amerindians from the Imbabura and Cañar provinces of Ecuador—had moved to Ridgewood.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Ridgewood was 69,317, a decrease of 138 (0.2%) from the 69,455 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,156.31 acres (467.94 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 59.9 inhabitants per acre (38,300/sq mi; 14,800/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 39.8% (27,558) White, 2.0% (1,380) African American, 0.1% (93) Native American, 7.7% (5,331) Asian, 0.0% (19) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (204) from other races, and 1.1% (765) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 49.0% (33,967) of the population. The entirety of Community Board 5, which comprises Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village, and Glendale, had 166,924 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 81.4 years.:2, 20 This is about equal to the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.:53 (PDF p. 84) Most inhabitants are youth and middle-aged adults: 22% are between the ages of 0–17, 31% between 25–44, and 26% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 8% and 13% respectively.:2
As of 2017, the median household income in Community Board 5 was $71,234. In 2018, an estimated 19% of Ridgewood and Maspeth residents lived in poverty, compared to 19% in all of Queens and 20% in all of New York City. One in seventeen residents (6%) were unemployed, compared to 8% in Queens and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 46% in Ridgewood and Maspeth, lower than the boroughwide and citywide rates of 53% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village, and Glendale are considered to be high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.:7
Geography and land useEdit
The majority of the neighborhood covers a large hill, part of the glacial moraine that created Long Island, which starts at Metropolitan Avenue, rises steeply for about two blocks, then slopes down gently. A good example of just how steep the hill is can be found at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish. The front entrance of the Church, which is at street level on 60th Place, is almost level with the second floor of the Parish school right next door.
Major streets in Ridgewood include Seneca Avenue, Forest Avenue, Fresh Pond Road, Myrtle Avenue, and Metropolitan Avenue. All are narrow two-lane roads (with parking lanes), and the high volume on these streets can cause traffic tie-ups during rush hour. The intersection of Fresh Pond and Metropolitan is especially notorious for being a bottleneck. The main shopping areas are on Myrtle Avenue and Fresh Pond Road. Other, smaller shopping strips are located on Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Avenue, and Seneca Avenue.
Part of Ridgewood around the Linden Hill Cemetery, centered around Flushing and Metropolitan Avenues, was once known as Linden Hill. Linden Street is named after this subsection of Ridgewood. It is distinct from the neighborhood of Linden Hill in Flushing, Queens.
Ridgewood is zoned for various land uses, but is mostly commercial along main streets and residential along side streets. Large parts of the neighborhood are residential historic districts. In addition, the large Cemetery Belt is located directly to the south.
Ridgewood is a densely settled neighborhood, with housing stock ranging from six-family buildings near the Brooklyn border to two-family and single-family row houses deeper into Queens. Ridgewood is visually distinguished from Bushwick by the large amount of exposed brick construction; in Brooklyn, vinyl siding is more common. Like neighboring Bushwick, nearly all of the buildings in Ridgewood are classified as combustible.
Most of Ridgewood was developed block-by-block around the turn of the 20th century. Most of the buildings were designed by local architect Louis Berger & Co., which designed more than 5,000 buildings in the area. The neighborhood has been largely untouched by construction since then, leaving many centrally planned blocks of houses and tenements still in the same state as their construction. These blocks include the Mathews Flats (six-family cold water tenements), Ring-Gibson Houses (two- and four-family houses with stores), and Stier Houses (curved two-family rowhouses). Many of these houses are well-kept and retain much of their early 20th century appeal.
There are low-density commercial districts along Myrtle, Forest, and Metropolitan Avenues and Fresh Pond Road.
Ridgewood is home to Ridgewood Savings Bank, the largest mutual savings bank in New York State. Their headquarters is located at the intersection of Myrtle and Forest Avenues and was built in 1929. The building architects were Halsey, McCormack and Helmer, Inc. and the general contractors were Stamarith Construction Corporation. The building's exterior is made of limestone and contains an eight-foot granite base. The interior has travertine walls and marble floors.
In Ridgewood 10 national historic districts were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983: 68th Avenue-64th Place Historic District; Central Ridgewood Historic District; Cornelia-Putnam Historic District; Cypress Avenue East Historic District; Cypress Avenue West Historic District; Fresh Pond-Traffic Historic District; Madison-Putnam-60th Place Historic District; Seneca Avenue East Historic District; Stockholm-DeKalb-Hart Historic District; and Summerfield Street Row Historic District. In addition, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated four landmark districts in Ridgewood:
- Stockholm Street Historic District, designated 2000
- Ridgewood North Historic District, designated 2009
- Ridgewood South Historic District, designated 2010
- Central Ridgewood Historic District, designated 2014
The boundaries of these city-designated districts are indicated in their respective designation reports and may overlap with the federally designated districts listed above. There are also at least two individual city-designated landmarks:
- The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, built "3rd quarter eighteenth century" and designated in 1995
- The Ridgewood Theater Building, built 1916 and designated in 2010
Police and crimeEdit
Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village, and Glendale are patrolled by the 104th Precinct of the NYPD, located at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue. The 104th Precinct ranked 21st safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010. However, the precinct covers a large diamond-shaped area, and Maspeth and Middle Village are generally seen as safer than Ridgewood. With a non-fatal assault rate of 19 per 100,000 people, Ridgewood and Maspeth's rate of violent crimes per capita is less than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 235 per 100,000 people is lower than that of the city as a whole.:8
The 104th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 87.4% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct saw 2 murders, 17 rapes, 140 robberies, 168 felony assaults, 214 burglaries, 531 grand larcenies, and 123 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Preterm and teenage births are less common in Ridgewood and Maspeth than in other places citywide. In Ridgewood and Maspeth, there were 70 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 17.6 teenage births per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).:11 Ridgewood and Maspeth have a low population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 13%, slightly higher than the citywide rate of 12%.:14
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Ridgewood and Maspeth is 0.008 milligrams per cubic metre (8.0×10−9 oz/cu ft), more than the city average.:9 Twenty percent of Ridgewood and Maspeth residents are smokers, which is higher than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.:13 In Ridgewood and Maspeth, 19% of residents are obese, 7% are diabetic, and 20% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 22%, 8%, and 23% respectively.:16 In addition, 19% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.:12
Ninety-two percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is higher than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 78% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," equal to the city's average of 78%.:13 For every supermarket in Ridgewood and Maspeth, there are 5 bodegas.:10
Post offices and ZIP codeEdit
- Fresh Pond Station – 60-80 Woodbine Street
- Ridgewood Station – 60-60 Myrtle Avenue
- Wyckoff Heights Station – 86 Wyckoff Avenue
Border with Bushwick, BrooklynEdit
Today, Ridgewood's land area lies within Queens County. However, its political boundary with Brooklyn causes confusion and debate about where the western boundary of Ridgewood truly lies and whether part of Ridgewood is considered to be actually part of Brooklyn. Ridgewood and its Brooklyn neighbor community, Bushwick, have a grid plan street layout. Because the boundary between Brooklyn and Queens that was historically set in 1769 at the Arbitration Rock lay along a diagonal with this grid plan, the geographic boundary was adapted to the street layout, resulting in a zig-zag pattern. While buildings fronting on streets that are west of Forest Avenue and the Bay Ridge Branch follow the hyphenated house numbering system which is unique to Queens, the avenues which run parallel to the county line, bounded by Metropolitan Avenue to the north, Forest Avenue to the east, and the Brooklyn border to the south do not follow this address numbering system. Streets in this area that run perpendicular to the county line are demarcated by a jump in numbering sequence between the two boroughs. Addresses in the two boroughs can be distinguished by the presence or absence of a hyphen; hyphenated addresses are located in Ridgewood.
Until the late 1970s, Ridgewood and neighboring Glendale, Queens, were entirely served by the Brooklyn post office in Bushwick. Before ZIP codes were introduced, letters would be addressed to "Ridgewood 27, New York" or "Brooklyn 27, New York" After ZIP codes were instituted either "Ridgewood, NY 11227" or "Brooklyn, NY 11227" was used. Following events surrounding the New York City blackout of 1977 which marred the public perception of the Bushwick community, the communities of Ridgewood and Glendale expressed a desire to disassociate themselves from Bushwick. In 1979, the two areas were granted a Queens ZIP code, 11385, while Bushwick was designated a separate Brooklyn ZIP code of 11237.
Ridgewood and Maspeth generally have a lower rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city. While 33% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 16% have less than a high school education and 50% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 39% of Queens residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher.:6 The percentage of Ridgewood and Maspeth students excelling in math rose from 36% in 2000 to 67% in 2011, and reading achievement rose from 42% to 49% during the same time period.
Ridgewood and Maspeth's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is less than the rest of New York City. In Ridgewood and Maspeth, 14% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, lower than the citywide average of 20%.:24 (PDF p. 55):6 Additionally, 82% of high school students in Ridgewood and Maspeth graduate on time, more than the citywide average of 75%.:6
P.S. 305 is a public school for Pre-K to 3rd grade. P.S. 68, P.S. 71, P.S. 239, P.S. 81 and P.S. 88 are public schools that serve Pre-K to 5th grade. I.S. 77 and I.S. 93 are public middle schools in Ridgewood.
Grover Cleveland High School is the only high school in Ridgewood, and is the zoned public high school to most of Ridgewood. Over the last couple of years there has been serious debate as to whether this high school as well as a number of other schools should be closed down due to low scores and gang violence in and surrounding the school. To this day however, it still remains as the only public high school in the neighborhood.
There are two Catholic grammar schools located in the neighborhood. The first one is the Notre Dame Catholic Academy (formally known as Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal School) located on Bleecker and 61st Streets. The second one is St. Matthias Catholic Academy located on Catalpa Avenue between Onderdonk and Woodward Avenues.
The Brooklyn Public Library's Washington Irving branch is located at 360 Irving Avenue near Woodbine Street, just across Ridgewood's border with Bushwick. The Queens and Brooklyn Public Libraries are separate library systems and are not interchangeable.
On the New York City Subway, the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line (M train) runs through the heart of Ridgewood. Its connection to the BMT Canarsie Line (L train) at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues at the south end of Ridgewood is a transportation hub. At the end of the Myrtle Avenue Line is the Fresh Pond Yard, a storage yard for the M train. Halsey Street (L train) has entrances in both Ridgewood and Bushwick.
The Ridgewood Terminal at the Myrtle/Wyckoff Avenues station serves New York City Bus' B13, B26, B52, B54, Q55 and Q58 lines. The B20, B38, Q38, Q39, Q54 and Q67 bus lines also serve Ridgewood. In addition, the neighborhood is home to the large Fresh Pond Bus Depot, which services many of the buses that run throughout Brooklyn and Queens.
Points of interestEdit
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Ridgewood was formerly the site of one of the nation's oldest cinematic theaters, the Ridgewood Theatre. The 1,950 seat William Fox moviehouse was open from 1916 to 2008. Although landmarked, this site is now a Blink Fitness.
Notable current and former residents of Ridgewood include:
- Pedro Beato (born 1986), pitcher who played for the New York Mets.
- James Cagney (1899–1986), actor
- Peter Daempfle (born 1970), author
- Ron Eldard (born 1965), actor
- Philip Giaccone (1932–1980), Bonnano crime family capo
- Jeannie Ortega (born 1986), recording artist, songwriter, actress
- Rosie Perez (born 1964), actress (attended school in Ridgewood)
- Tommy Ramone (1949–2014), musician, original member of the Ramones.
- Katie Sandwina (1884–1952), circus strongwoman and one time "Strongest Woman in the World" opened a restaurant at 70–02 Cypress Hills Street in 1942.
- Dan Schneider (born 1965), poet and critic
- Genesis P-Orridge (born 1950), avant-garde musician (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV)
- Bob Sheppard (1910–2010), public address announcer for the New York Yankees and New York Giants.
- Gus Van (1886–1968), singer and vaudeville star, part of the team of Van & Schenck
- Reginald VelJohnson (born 1952), actor
- John Ventimiglia (born 1963), actor
In popular cultureEdit
Ridgewood has served as location shoots for numerous major motion pictures, including The French Connection, A Stranger Among Us, Men in Black 3, The Wanderers, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Jerky Boys: The Movie, Beat Street and Cop Out. In addition to these movies, scenes for The Sopranos were filmed on Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood on March 9, 2006, when a hookah bar next to the neighborhood bar, Glenlo's Tavern was detonated, and St.Matthias RC church was transformed into St Petri Norwegian Lutheran Church for Boardwalk Empire on July 12, 2012.
Ridgewood, Queens is referred to in the 2012 song "Stoned and Starving" by indie rock band Parquet Courts.
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I've always been disturbed at how Italian-Americans are usually portrayed in movies, but Nancy and Rich made it clear they weren't looking for stereotypes,' Mr. Eldard said. 'Half my family is Sicilian, and where I lived in Queens, in Ridgewood, is very Italian.
- Sisario, Ben. "Tommy Ramone Dies at 65; He Gave Punk Rock Its Pulse", The New York Times, July 12, 2014. Accessed June 15, 2016. "Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone, the founding drummer and last surviving original member of the Ramones, the New York City band whose dizzying, short blasts of melody codified the sound of punk rock, died on Friday at his home in Ridgewood, Queens."
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- Dodero, Camille. "Artist Provocateur Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Lives By the Last Exit To Brooklyn", The Village Voice, February 16, 2011. Accessed October 15, 2018. "Purchased a year ago for $325,000 and requiring $60,000 in renovations, this has been Genesis’s nest since June 2010, when she (or s/he, as Gen specifies) sold the Ridgewood, Queens, brownstone that she and her late wife, Lady Jaye, had shared for more than a decade."
- Coffey, Wayne. "For nearly 60 years Bob Sheppard has set tone of Yankee Stadium", New York Daily News, September 20, 2008. Accessed June 15, 2016. "The son of a New York City building inspector, Sheppard was born in Ridgewood, Queens before the family moved to Richmond Hill."