Ridgewood

by
3

Ridgewood Theatre, 55-27 Myrtle Avenue between St. Nicholas and Putnam avenues

Myrtle Avenue, one of the lengthiest streets in both Brooklyn and Queens, runs for nearly 15 miles from Jay Street MetroTech complex in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, east to Jamaica Avenue at the former Triangle Hofbrau.

It was first laid out in 1835 from Fulton Street to as far as Cripplebush Road, an ancient Kings County track now largely replaced by Bedford Avenue. It was extended in 1839 to Brooklyn’s Broadway, and again in 1854 as the tolled Jamaica Plank Road out to Jamaica. (Most of NYC’s toll roads of this type were made “free” around 1890-1900.)

by
1

Brooklynites know Metropolitan Avenue as an east-west thoroughfare dividing the north and south sections of Williamsburg (though others consider Grand Street the true divider). It’s a street that holds some sentiment for me, as in 2010 lamppost maven Bob Mulero and I curated a NYC lamppost exhibition at the City Reliquary at 370 Metropolitan Avenue at Havemeyer Street.

I took advantage of a sunny weekend day to march the entire 13 miles (or so my iPhone indicated) of Metropolitan Avenue from the East River waterfront all the way to Jamaica, where Metropolitan peters out at the Van Wyck Expressway and Jamaica Avenue. It’s a relatively easy walk, which took me about six hours since I was constantly stopping for photographs. If you want a real workout and you’re younger than I am, you could probably power-walk the whole length in less than five hours, especially if you have good luck catching green lights.

Metropolitan Avenue was laid out in the early 19th century as the Williamsburg and Jamaica Plank Road, and was tolled in various locations. It was a farm-to-market road plied by farmers bringing wares to East River barges and then back east through fields and meadows to the town of Jamaica.

The land was sparsely settled in the early days, and the plank road was intersected only by Fresh Pond Road, 80th Street and Woodhaven Boulevard, which were all differently named then. It ran through the lost communities of Winantville and Columbusville, as well as a locale whose name is still used today, Middle Village, so named for its central location between Williamsburg and Jamaica.

by

Ah, strawberries. They are great fresh, frozen, and drowned in brandy. They add life to milk, yogurt, pie, smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches, and even certain perfumes and cosmetics.

This Saturday, the Onderdonk House will host its Family Strawberry Festival in conjunction with Flag Day. Of course, strawberry shortcake and Old Glory will be front and center, but attendees can also expect classic cars from the East Coast Car Association, live music, tours of the historic Dutch Colonial stone house, old-fashioned games, and a hilarious pie-eating contest.

by

The Woodside zip code – 11377 – lost more native sons during the Vietnam War than any other area in the United States. Many other neighborhood residents made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country over the past centuries, and 34 individuals who lived or worked in Woodside died during the Twin Tower terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

On Monday, members of the John V. Daniels VFW Post 2813 will honor veterans by placing a wreath at the flagpole at John Vincent Daniels Square near Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street at 11 am. Also, after a 10 am mass, the St. Sebastian War Veterans group will host a parade that kicks off from the St. Sebastian School parking lot at Woodside Avenue and 57th Street.

That’s only part of it. Queens has about 55,000 veteran residents, more than any other borough in New York City. It also hosts the country’s biggest Memorial Day parade (in Little Neck/Douglaston). Here’s a list of local parades scheduled for this weekend.

by

You could call Ridgewood’s Stockholm Street the yellow brick road of Queens. The street’s main claim to fame is a charming landmarked block boasting 36 homes built with yellow brick from the Balthazar Kreischer kilns of Staten Island. The street itself  is constructed with red-brown brick from the same kilns — and it’s the only brick-paved street in the borough.

There are similar rows of yellow brick houses elsewhere in Ridgewood and in Long Island City, but only these have the added attraction of thin, Doric-columned porches.

It makes for one of the most distinctive parts of Ridgewood — an area that’s seeing an influx of newcomers arriving via neighboring Bushwick and other Brooklyn neighborhoods. It’s an area worth a visit for those thinking about following suit, or just exploring Queens.

by

This gut-renovated, one-bedroom townhouse in Ridgewood makes great use of its available space. The kitchen has lots of cabinets and counter space, and it gets good lighting thanks to the open wall between it and the living room area. The bathroom is a bit small but well-designed, with funky glass cubes lining the shower. The monthly rent comes in at $1,600.

The Q39, Q58, Q55, B20, B13, and B38 buses are all within walking distance, and the M train is four blocks away. There are grocery stores and restaurants nearby, and the Ridgewood Public Library and Rosemary’s Playground are two blocks away. Click through for more photos.

60-55 Woodbine Street [Town Residential, LLC] GMAP 

by

This Wednesday marks the 45th anniversary of the first official Earth Day, which many people consider the birth of the modern environmental movement. Since it’s mid-week, there will be a few related activities on the actual day and additional ones over the weekend. Here’s a short list with information on the big Arbor Festival last.

  • Green Garden/Green Planet: Celebrate with urban gardening, sustainable art-making, hands-on workshops, and a spring garden tour with natural plant-and-backyard care tips. At 1 pm and 3 pm, participate in a workshop on starting flowers, herbs, and vegetables from seed and make a recycled bird feeder. Learn about recycling, composting, and local earth-friendly resources. Voelker Orth Museum, 149-19 38th Avenue, Flushing, April 22, 1 pm to 4 pm, $4/$3 for students and children/free for infants and toddlers.
  • Earth Day Craft and Mini Garden Tour: Celebrate by taking a stroll and making a botanically themed craft. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, April 22, 3:30 pm, free.
  • Spring Fling for Earth Day: Celebrate by touring this historic house and its gardens, and enjoy crafts, games, music and entertainment. Onderdonk House, 1820 Flushing Avenue, Ridgewood, April 25, noon to 4 pm, $5.
  • Composting in the City: Celebrate with the NYC Compost Project, which teaches how to reduce waste and create “black gold” for gardens by composting leaves, kitchen scraps, garden trimmings, and weeds. Queens Botanical Garden, April 25, 1 pm to 3:30 pm, registration required via compost@queensbotanical.org, $5.
  • Let’s Talk About Pollution: Celebrate by learning how to help clean up Flushing Bay and Flushing Creek. There will be time to share stories and brainstorm solutions. Flushing YMCA, 138-46 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 25, 3 pm.
  • Arbor Festival: Activities for all ages, including a petting zoo, live music, food and craft vendors, compost demonstration and a beer tent. Queens Botanical Gardens, free with admission, but there are extra fees for some activities.

Photo: Onderdonk House

by

I was invited to attend the annual Ridgewood Democratic Club brunch over on Putnam Avenue last Saturday. The event raises funds for the upkeep and renovation of the building which has housed the organization since 1917. I was there last year as well, and my colleague Kevin Walsh offered this post describing the building at Q’Stoner back in 2013. The structure holds a collection of political memorabilia – campaign posters and so on – which is unparalleled in my experience. This year’s brunch had food and beverages provided by Congressman Joseph Crowley‘s office, although the Congressman was unable to attend as he was on a trip to India with President Obama.

Having arrived a bit early, as is my habit, I was treated to a short tour of the second floor which is undergoing renovation. Coming back down the grand stairs, a buzzy crowd and the smell of fresh coffee greeted me.

More after the jump…

by

Hitler was the self-declared führer of Germany, Babe Ruth was playing his last professional games, and Bonnie & Clyde were on the run in 1934, when Rudy’s Bakery and Café opened on Seneca Avenue in Ridgewood. The neighborhood was largely German back then, and the eatery was known for its bienenstich and strudel. The owners, patrons, and menu have changed a bit over the years, but Rudy’s remains a traditional bakery and community anchor. This Saturday, the establishment will celebrate its 80th birthday with some sweet deals as baked goods — Black Forest cake, doughnuts, linzertorte and the time-tested strudel — will cost 80 cents a piece.

The anniversary coincides with the Seneca Avenue Stroll, hosted by the Myrtle Avenue BID and the NYC Department of Transportation. The block between Myrtle and Catalpa avenues will be closed to traffic on Saturday so the following entities can provide samples of their treats to passers-by: Ridgewood Eats, 903 Seneca; Rudy’s Bakery, 905 Seneca; Nepalese Indian Restaurant, 907 Seneca; and Zum Stammtisch, 69-46 Myrtle. Other local providers, such as BelGioioso Cheese, Finback Brewery, Wilk Apiary, and Viola Pretzels, will participate too.

Details: Seneca Avenue Stroll, Seneca Avenue between Myrtle and Catalpa avenues, Ridgewood, October 25th, noon to 5 pm.

Top photo: Nepalese Indian Restaurant; middle photo: Rudy’s Bakery

by

New York City is a hot dog city. The frankfurter, wiener, tube steak, hot dog; whatever you want to call it, was invented right here in New York. At Coney Island, to be specific. Although there are conflicting stories, most people credit German immigrant Charles Feltman with the invention of the American hot dog, a cooked sausage served on a bun so that it did not have to be handled with the fingers, or need a fork and a plate.

Feltman first served his frankfurters in his restaurant on Coney Island in the 1870s, and over the next several decades, the hot dog made him rich beyond his dreams. In 1916, one of his employees, Nathan Handwerker, with the help of his wife, came up with an even better tasting recipe, and a better price, and Nathan’s Famous became synonymous with this cheap and satisfying food, the staple of Coney Island, and a quintessential New York favorite.

Almost all of the words that are used to name hot dogs are German, and that’s because the hot dog is really a variation on Germanic sausage recipes.” Frankfurter” is derived from Frankfurt, Germany, and “wiener” refers to “Wien,” the German name for Vienna, Austria. Unfortunately, the word “dog” in relationship to sausages also comes from the Germans of yesteryear, who often called any kind of sausage a dog, a bad joke pertaining to the rumors of dog meat in sausages, a rumor as old as 1845. It wasn’t always an urban legend, either.