Brownstoner takes on Brooklyn history in Nabe Names, a series of briefs on the origins and surprising stories of neighborhood nomenclature.

5th Avenue and 86th Street circa the 1940s, photographer unknown. Photo via the Bay Ridge Historical Society

Made famous for its blue-collar Italian Catholic community and love of disco in Saturday Night Fever, today Bay Ridge is home to one of the city’s largest Middle Eastern populations. But what’s in its name?


Evan Schwartz and his wife, Rebekah, were “tired of spending all their money on rent,” so they left Park Slope and migrated south to Bay Ridge.

“At first I pooh-poohed the idea, but 24 hours later it was a done deal,” said Schwartz, an interior designer for private clients and Homepolish, a company that provides affordable by-the-hour design services. “The streets are wide, it’s quiet, there’s good food. Yes, the commute to Manhattan is annoying, but the rent is reasonable and you get more space.”


A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

By 1880, Bay Ridge was developing as one of Brooklyn’s premier suburban neighborhoods. Its greatest asset was that wonderful view of New York Bay and the Narrows — close to New Jersey, while simultaneously tied to Downtown Brooklyn and on to Manhattan by trolleys, roads and ferries.

Many of Brooklyn’s moneyed folk were looking to Shore Road as a grand location for second homes. The largest of these homes was owned by Henry Murphy, a lawyer, past mayor of Brooklyn, Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to The Hague and one of the most influential voices in advocating the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.


A day of nautical fun is coming to Bay Ridge for local landlubbers and seafarers alike.

The Sailors Carnival will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 26 at the 69th Street American Veterans Memorial Pier. Sponsored by the Waterfront Alliance, the festival will feature miniature golf with “nautical obstacles,” bell strikers, sand art, foil boat building and other briny activities.