A Day in Bay Ridge

For a very long time, you have known Bay Ridge only as the home of Tony Manero from Saturday Night Live. Granted, over the years, the neighborhood has become such a pop culture magnet for movies and TV shows… like Blue Bloods, The Wolf of Wall Street and Spider-Man 2. But forget everything you may have seen on TV, because there are many more sides to Bay Ridge.
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The Coop

Now let’s get something straight: coffee is a big deal in Bay Ridge. Here, you have Italian and Arab communities that adore their espressos. The people at the The Coop do a pretty good job at combining farm-to-table options with some terrific house-brewed Joe. The breakfast here, though, is out of this world. Deviled egg smash and avocado toast will most undoubtedly awaken your taste buds.

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Owl's Head Park

With the Verrazano Narrows Bridge as the backdrop, the views from Owl’s Head Park are magnificent. But views are not the only gorgeous thing here. Hovering the Belt Parkway, the park has a state-of-the-art skate rink and the peaceful hiking trails over the bay area. The sloping hills make this a prime location for sledding. The coolest little tidbit about Owl’s Head? It is home to Brooklyn’s first concrete skatepark.

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Narrows Botanical Garden

Just down the road from Owl’s Head, you’ll encounter one of the hidden Brooklyn gems, the Narrows Botanical Garden. With very few people around, the beauty within these confines is unmatched, which, in New York City, says a lot. For those who have discovered it, the garden is a reminder of how vast and gorgeous the city is. You will be enthralled by its flowers, turtles and birds, butterfly and bee houses, a Zen garden and alpine mini fountains.

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69th Street Pier

When you live so close to the waterfront, you are naturally drawn to its serenity. The visuals at 69th Street Pier capture some of most iconic views of the Manhattan skyline, with the Freedom Tower dominating the scenery. Locals have turned their neighborhood pier into a fishing retreat, the most popular of fishing destinations in the city. The celebrated waterway is also known as “The Bay Ridge Anchorage.”

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The Art Room

As you many have noticed, the art scene isn’t as prevalent in Bay Ridge as it is elsewhere in Brooklyn. The Art Room makes up for the slack. The place differentiates their offer from others in their strong focus on children artists. Art galleries here are curated by children, and art classes and programs are geared to the little ones. You’ll find yourself marveling the artwork made by local kids, the smallest of artists ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old. I found some of the artwork borderline genius. But then, I am not an art critic.

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Leske’s Bakery

The culinary staple of the nabe is Leske’s Bakery. You’re lucky you’ve beaten the lines this morning. In a diverse area like Bay Ridge, you are delighted at the chance to be exposed to all kinds of baked goods from a variety of cultures – from Greek cookies to Italian bread to Jewish pastries. They have an impressive selection of scrumptious house-made donuts, but Leske’s is truly famous for their out-of-this-world black and white cookies.

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Kathy’s Dumplings

Interestingly, one of the culinary mainstays in Bay Ridge isn’t Italian or Middle Eastern, but rather Chinese. As a newcomer, you need to allow yourself to be indoctrinated at Kathy’s Dumplings. They have 11 types of dumplings on the menu, not one of them bad. Try some unique offerings – Luffa dumplings (Chinese silk squash and shrimp) and seafood and egg dumplings (egg, shrimp and Chinese chives).

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Step Streets of Bay Ridge

It’s the little things that change your perspective. With Bay Ridge, your perspective will shift once you’ve experienced the famed step streets. At 74th and 76th streets, the motorists are denied street access, their buzz and pollution replaced by steep steps. The steps were built on these streets purposefully – simply, the streets were too steep to build roads. This section of Bay Ridge is sure to remind you of San Francisco’s and Seattle’s hill streets. Distantly, your memory will also recall the Montmartre. Yes, you will find the distant echoes of the famed 18thth arrondissement in Paris, right here, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn!

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Kaleidoscope Toy Store

YOU may not be age-appropriate, but a trip inside of Kaleidoscope Toy Store is mandatory. The store, specializing in classic and educational toys, has a reputation of a customer service champion. Still, their claim to fame is “Riddle of the Day” on the chalkboard just outside of the storefront.

A Night in Bay Ridge

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Skinflints

There’s no way you could pass up your first day in Bay Ridge without experiencing Skinflints. The vintage ice cream shop-turned-pub, located at 7902 5th Avenue, is considered the oldest still-existing restaurant in the city. The stained-glass ceilings accent the exposed brick and give off that sense of the old New York. The glorious history aside, food won’t disappoint either. Hence, probably, the Skinflints’ longevity. The pub serves famed burgers on English muffin.

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Lock Yard

Time to let loose a bit. The scenery at Lock Yard will do just the job. The American watering hole is part dive bar, part sports and part gastropub. The pub food is on point with choices of artisanal sausages and hot dogs. And then of course there are… the beers. The Lock Yard carries a very impressive collection of craft brews like Anchor Steam Breckle’s Brown and Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter Nitro.

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The Owl's Head

You neighborhood hasn’t fully changed with the times. Still, there are places like The Owl’s Head that give you a glimpse of what is in the store for the near and possibly distant future. At this rustic craft cocktail and beer bar, there are way too many details to capture in this short paragraph. The storefront itself was built in 1904, and the bar top was handcrafted out of single maple tree, centered about the bricks walls. Definitely intimate enough for you to enjoy a glass of red wine from Red Hook Winery.

Words by Arte Vincent

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JENNIFER RHODES
JENNIFER RHODES
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Residential Division
Office: 347.227.8998
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