Southern Brooklyn

Happy 169th birthday to Bay Ridge!

December 16, 2022 Theodore W. General
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Prior to 1853, this section of Kings County, then part of the old Town of New Utrecht, was known as Yellow Hook. Historical records reveal that on Dec. 16, 1853 a group of prominent landowners and citizens met in the District No. 2 Schoolhouse on Third Avenue and present-day 73rd Street. Concerned about the stigma attached to a name like Yellow Hook, because of earlier yellow fever epidemics in other areas, the village folks met to consider a name change.

Florist James Weir, who had greenhouses and plant nurseries in the area, came up with the new name. Taking into consideration the bay along Shore Road and the high buff (ridge) just up from the bay that was formed by the Glacial Moraine, he suggested “Bay Ridge.” The new name was unanimously approved and a resolution was passed adopting it.

Members of the Bay Ridge Historical Society raise a toast at a previous Bay Ridge birthday celebration. Eagle Urban Media photos by Ted General

The meeting was chaired by Tunis Bergen, the town supervisor (mayor) of New Utrecht and a resident of Yellow Hook. Fellow resident Joseph Perry served as the secretary of record for this session. Also in attendance was Henry Cruse Murphy, a former mayor of the City of Brooklyn, who later became a congressman, state senator and a Democratic presidential candidate. The present-day Senator Street was later named in his honor.

In 1894, the Town of New Utrecht along with Bay Ridge was annexed by the City of Brooklyn, and in 1898 Brooklyn became a borough and was consolidated into the City of New York. A large bronze plaque marking the 150th anniversary of the name change was attached near the main entrance to the Bay Ridge Public Library by the Bay Ridge Sesquicentennial Committee. The area known as Yellow Hook was first settled by the Dutch in 1652.


Dec. 7 marked the 81st anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Each year a small group of veterans assemble on the American Veterans Memorial Pier to commemorate National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The morning  program, coordinated by Navy veteran and VFW Commander Jack Sanford, began with the Pledge of Allegiance. Then followed the invocation by Past VFW District 1 Commander Gary Wasserman, a brief narrative, the striking of eight slow bells, “Taps” and the tossing of ceremonial wreaths  from the pier.

This year’s participants included veterans from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard. They were joined by a group of FDNY firefighters, members of the Knights of Columbus and the public relations director of the United Military Veterans of Kings County.

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The Archbishop John Hughes Council of the Knights of Columbus held its annual festive Christmas tree lighting in the large lobby of their headquarters on 13th Avenue and 86th Street. Rev. Guy Sbordone, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church and a chaplain to the council, conducted an invocation and then blessed the tree. Council member John Bottalico also unveiled his large tabletop diorama featuring a nativity scene and items he fashioned representing a small Italian village. A reception followed in an adjoining room.

Rev. Guy Sbordone blesses the Christmas tree in the Knights of Columbus hall.
The Christmas tree in the Knights of Columbus hall.

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As the Jewish community gets set to celebrate Hanukkah, we add our blessings to you and your family for a happy and joyous festival of lights.

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