Here’s a lovely ode by NY City Lens to the Ridgewood Theatre, which will be converted to a residential development. The theater stopped running in 2008 and has remained empty ever since. The article captures a brief summer moment in the theater’s life:
With its entrance boarded up, a single plywood panel remains ajar to let some air into the stillness of the excavated theatre. Inside, everything is bathed in shadow, as elusive as the future of the once grand space, now on the market for conversion into a residential building. Everything has been torn down and a dim light bulb hangs in the spot where a chandelier once lit the Greek revivalist theatre golden. A lone figure shuffles within the shadows, almost as if it were a ghost, though the quite human figure reappears in the circular shaft of green light to lay a wire and affirm, perhaps, that time is not stationary.
A group of teenagers walk past the shuttered theatre, slowing their footsteps to peer inside. They do not stop or talk about what they see.
Those who don’t study history are bound to repeat it. In late August 1776, General William Howe’s British army landed on what is now Long Island, seeking to capture New York City from the Patriot forces who had sparked the American Revolution. Soon thereafter, Howe and his Red Coats overwhelmed General George Washington’s troops in Brooklyn, forcing them to retreat to Manhattan by boat. By September 15th, the British had taken New York City. On August 23rd of this year, the Onderdonk House will commemorate this historical battle with an exhibit on General Nathaniel Woodhull, the first militia general killed in the Revolutionary War. The Ridgewood landmark will also re-open an exhibit on the Daughters of the American Revolution, conduct tours of its colonial kitchen, and organize a Colonial Kids event.
A photo and information on another history-based event this weekend are on the jump page.
While it seems at times that Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens are dominated by unimaginative street names… numbers, letters… in actuality vast swaths in all four boroughs are still dominated by streets named for real people.
I had always been under the impression that Stockholm Street in Bushwick and Ridgewood was so named in honor of a putative Scandinavian community that may have resided there. I was wrong, though; Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss’ handy Brooklyn By Name states that Stockholm Street was named for the Stockholm brothers, Andrew and Abraham, who provided land on which the Second Dutch Reformed Church, built in 1850 and still standing at Bushwick Avenue and Himrod Street, was built.
Yesterday, the City Council approved a rezoning proposal in Ridgewood, meaning the neighborhood is getting a brand new, 88-unit rental build on Woodward Avenue. DNAinfo writes that those units won’t all be priced at market level. Local Councilman Antonio Reynoso worked with the developer, Slate Property Group, to accommodate affordable apartments and artist space. The development, as approved by the City Council, will be 50 percent affordable, with 20 percent of the units permanently affordable. (It looks like the market rate units will cost around $1,000 for studios and $1,800 for two bedrooms.) The building will also hold 3,000 square feet of affordable rental space for artists and community groups. The developers will pick the artist groups, who can rent the space for $10 a year.
There’s another 7,000 square feet of commercial space, and there will be 120 parking spaces. The building itself will include laundry, an exercise room and a rooftop dog run.
Bikers connecting between Brooklyn and Ridgewood take note: your commute got a little easier. The Department of Transportation installed bike lanes along Woodward Avenue, noted by this tweet from Ridgewood Beat. This is part of a five-mile plan to install bike lanes from Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn through Woodward Avenue in Queens. (It’s an extension of an already existing bike lane network along Flushing.) Most of the five-mile route consists of shared bike lanes, which you see pictured above. Other sections of the route will have curbside bike lanes with more protection between the cars and the bikers.
The developers of 176 Woodward Avenue, the rental development rendered above, have a few more meetings before the city approves their rezoning. The Times Ledger reports that the proposal should go to the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises today; the final hurdles are the Land Use Committee and finally the full City Council. Community Board 5, Borough President Katz and the City Planning Commission already granted approval of rezoning the three-block stretch, which will allow for an 88-unit residential development in an industrial area, as well as another development on Woodward Avenue and Starr Street. There are still major concerns of the affordability of the development at 176 Woodward, where studios will ask around $1,000 and two bedrooms will be up to $1,800 a month. The developers did make a promise to the City Planning Commission to include some affordable housing, but specifics are unclear.
For the developer’s date with the City Council, they will refer to Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who represents the area. The Times Ledger notes that he may be a tough critic: “He has fought authorizing residential projects in the manufacturing zone during several stages of the city’s review, arguing newcomers may price out residents and businesses that offer higher-paying jobs than typical retail establishments,” the article states.
History repeats itself in Queens this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, the King Manor Museum — the former home of Rufus King, a signer of the United States Constitution, a senator from New York, and an ambassador to Great Britain – will host Craftsmen Days. With help from artisans dressed in time costumes, visitors will learn about 19th century crafts like broom-making, tin-smithing, and wood-turning, while also enjoying music featuring instruments such as a hammered dulcimer, fiddle, and banjo. On Sunday, the Vander-Ende Onderdonk House, the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City, will open Picnic Days. Visitors will be able to enjoy the beautiful architecture, gardens and picnic area, and take tours.
More information and three additional photos are on the jump page.
It’s kind of a battle of the bands, but if traffic is light and one group starts late, music lovers can catch them all. On August 16th, three fantastic concerts will take place in Queens. At 2 pm, Gordon Au & The Grand Street Stompers (above) will perform at the Louis Armstrong House Museum as part of the historic site’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden Summer Concert Series. Though based in New York City, this jazz band revives the New Orleans-style music of the 1920s and onward. At 3 pm, Choban Elektrik will give a free concert at the Ridgewood Branch Library. This electric dance band draws from the folk music of Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, and the Romany people. Beyond singing in various languages and a powerful rhythm sections, attendees can expect traditional line dancing. Then at 6:15 pm, the party continues with The Ebony Hillbillies at the Queens Botanical Garden. New York City’s only African American string band plays all-American jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country.
Today, the New York Times Style section profiled Ridgewood as part of its “Intersection” video series. The video highlights four different residents, all of which are young and well dressed. A student calls the neighborhood “an old school place.” And resident Todd Broockerd, who co-owns a cafe in Brooklyn, says “Ridgewood is one of these really wonderful neighborhoods in New York that is really welcoming and inviting to some of the newer people, so there’s this really wonderful mix of Polish, Ecuadorian, and then young hipsters and professionals.”
The Bushwick and Ridgewood focused blog Wyckoff Heights just launched this really cool interactive map. It’s called the NRD Map, which stands for neighborhood research and development. The map aggregates property data from multiple city agencies to track development in both Bushwick and Ridgewood. You can search Department of Building applications for new buildings, demos and renovations, see the locations of recent liquor license applications, and view DOB and 311 complaints for illegal construction or unlawful occupancy.
Pictured above, those are the pending liquor licenses over the past 30 days for all the eating and drinking establishments in the neighborhood.