GENERALLY SPEAKING: Week of January 12

January 14, 2012 Theodore W. General
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With a launch party at the Yellow Hook Grille that includedelected officials, community and business leaders, writers andlocal historians, the Bay Ridge Historical Society (BRHS) formallyannounced the release of its new 104-page, largely pictorial book,titled, Bay Ridge, Etc.

The new tome is co-authored by this writer, BRHS President JackLaTorre and BRHS President Emeritus Peter Scarpa. In addition tohistorical notes about Bay Ridge, there are vintage andcontemporary photos of this southwest section of Kings County whichwas not part of Brooklyn until 1894, and which, for more than 300years prior to 1853, was known as Yellow Hook.

As Yellow Hook grew as a hamlet, then as a village and changedits name to Bay Ridge, it continues to maintain a small town feel.As a result, it is often been referred to by proud inhabitants andborough officials as one of the best small towns in America.

The book also includes photos of area schools, houses ofworship, restaurants, taverns, little known Bay Ridge mini-streets,Fort Hamilton, a small American Revolutionary Cemetery, communityleaders and well-known officials.

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Throughout the tome are sprinkles of humor by co-author PeterScarpa, who has also penned poems and sonnets for other books andliterary magazines.

Since Bay Ridge was originally known as Yellow Hook, and thename changing resolution was unanimously approved by villageofficials and area landowners meeting at the Yellow Hook SchoolHouse, then located on Third Avenue, about 200 yards south of thepresent-day Yellow Hook Grille, society members felt this would bean especially appropriate venue to announce the release of the bookformally, and fortunately, the owners cheerful agreed.

This site, formerly owned by the Lento family for many decadesand a popular Italian bar and restaurant in its own right, also hasan interesting past. During the alcohol Prohibition years, earlyrecords indicate it was a speakeasy. This writer, my associates andthe Bay Ridge Historical Society deeply appreciate the closecooperation and courtesy we received from Yellow Hook Grille ownersStephen Jackson, and James and Robert Long.

The book launch event also included a short reading about theearly history of Bay Ridge by co-author Jack LaTorre, a retiredNYPD lieutenant and U.S. Coast Guard petty officer.

Shortly, the society hopes to have copies available for purchaseat local book stores, at meetings of the Bay Ridge HistoricalSociety, and at local festivals and book signings. Copies will alsobe provided to local libraries.

All proceeds from future book sales will be donated to the BayRidge Historical Society, a community-based nonprofit,non-sectarian, state-charted educational organization.

Inquiries about the book should be directed [email protected].

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A virtual bouquet of roses and congratulations to local educatorVictoria Hofmo, president of the Bay Ridge Conservancy and acommunity historian, for her efforts in convincing the citywideHistoric Districts Council to include Bay Ridge as one of its 2012Six to Celebrate meriting preservation. Hofmo and members of theConservancy will be attending the HDC’s launch party on Wednesday,January 18, at 5:30 p.m., at the Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery atEast First Street in Manhattan.

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For the first time in decades, the New York State GOP will beholding its state convention outside of New York City. The GOP hasopted to hold its convention upstate, in Rochester. Additionally,Jay Savino, the Bronx County GOP chairperson, has been re-electedas state party regional vice chair for New York City. In Brooklyn,Bay Ridge attorney Craig Eaton heads the Kings County GOP.

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You don’t have to travel to the Magic Kingdom at Walt DisneyWorld like we did with our grandkids, to see storybook princesses.Our good friend Jamie-Lynn Mollo is running a Princess PancakeBreakfast on Saturday, January 15, at her Dyker Heights’ KitchenRestaurant, 1504 86th Street, with seatings for the small fry from11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Call her at 718-232-3327 for reservations.

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Moving on. Former Brooklyn Paper Editor and a past BrooklynBureau Chief of the New York Post Gersh Kuntzman has taken on ateaching post with CUNY School of Journalism and has also takenover a Fort Greene blog for the school.

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To reach Ted General via the Internet, his e-mail addressis:

[email protected]

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