Monday, December 17, 2007

Bay Ridge Turns 154

One of the neighborhoods that has seen a blogging boomlet this year is Bay Ridge, with three relative new blogs bringing news every day from that corner of Brooklyn. Yesterday, Right in Bay Ridge--one of the new crew blogging away there--noted the neighborhood's 154th birthday with a great post reviewing its history. A sample:
Like so many facets of this neighborhood even till today, the naming of the area "Bay Ridge" in 1853 had as much to do with a real estate deal as anything else.

The original Dutch settlement of this neck of the woods, going back long before the 1800s, was called Geelen Hook (Yellow Hook in English) due to the yellow soil here. Just dig a few inches in your back yard and you'll understand how fitting this name was. Similarly, our neighbor to the north - Red Hook - earned its name for such a reason as well.

By 1853, however, a variety of circumstances would conspire to lead to the re-naming of the area. Local businessmen and civic leaders in Yellow Hook had wanted to divvy up the vast, rolling farmland here and begin plotting for a future, densely populated residential area. However, around the same time there had been a horrible outbreak of Yellow Fever across the country. Many were concerned that the name "Yellow Hook" might be associated with the disease and subsequently spoil the planned real estate development. (Imagine, for instance, trying to sell houses today in a place called "Aids Town," "Tuberculosis City," or "Gonorrheaville." It wouldn't be easy).
And so, after some discussion, Yellow Hook was renamed Bay Ridge. Read the full story at Right in Bay Ridge, which has become one of our required daily reads this year along with the other Bay Ridge news blogs, The Bay Ridge Rover and The Bay Ridge Blog.



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