Dyker Heights

‘Miss Norway’ contest continues to show commitment to preserving Brooklyn’s Scandinavian heritage

April 1, 2024 Andrew Scott
Contest participants, judges, members of the Viking Association Police Dept., and Miss Norway of Greater New York Committee members.Brooklyn Eagle photo by Wayne Daren Schneiderman
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DYKER HEIGHTS — THE MISS NORWAY PAGEANT, a 66-year-old tradition, took place on March 23 with the Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center in Dyker Heights again hosting the event. Five young ladies of Norwegian descent — Katherine Chuliver, Amanda Luzniak, Kirstin Elise Nilsen, Grace Reinertsen, and Baylyn Shankman — competed for the title during the event that chair Arlene Rutuelo says is vitally important to the Norwegian-American community. “We are trying to train the younger generations with Scandinavian heritage to cultivate a knowledge of it — to look at their grandparents — to look at the beauty of their culture,” Rutuelo said, pointing out that all aspects of Scandinavian heritage comprise a family’s particular story. Amanda Luzniak, 26, of Roxbury, New Jersey, was crowned Miss Norway 2024, receiving a first-prize package including a roundtrip ticket to Norway, a two-piece luggage set, and a Norwegian rosemaled plate.

The Norwegian-American 17th of May Committee was formed in Bay Ridge in 1952 when Scandinavians were the dominant population of the neighborhood. At that time, there were between 150,000 and 200,000 Norwegians living in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. Construction of the Verazano Bridge and its ramping system on the Brooklyn side displaced thousands of families in the 1960s, many of them Scandinavian.

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