December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from sunny Bay Ridge. Hope your 2006 is just fantastic.

December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

It's actually not snowing at all here, and its warm on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas to you all.

December 22, 2005

Subway Strike - Day Three, Which Ends It

Today was an interesting commuting day.

I had been given a ride by Nina from Bay Ridge yesterday, and she actually called me yesterday to arrange a ride to lower Manhattan. I met her in front of the firehouse on Third Avenue / 66th Street at 710am, and down Third Avenue we went.

Nina is from Davao, in the southern part of the Philippines, and she works for Catholic Charities. Her only concern in the three days of the strike was to help a few people each day get where they needed to go.

We picked up her pal ( also from the Philippines ) on 52nd Street Brooklyn who lives in a house across the street from an inflated Grinch ( God I loved that ) and headed down Third Avenue on the way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

With three in a car, we still could not cross the Brooklyn Bridge, so we went trolling for hitchhikers. We hailed two black women who had walked from Prospect Park, and who were preparing to walk across the bridge. They were really happy for the ride, and after they squeezed in, the five of us went off to Emerald City.

I got off in lower Manhattan with the other three passengers, and Nina headed back to Brooklyn. Her job is in downtown Brooklyn, her only purpose for driving into Manhattan these last three brutal days was in order to help her friend and to help other people.

I hitched a ride to uptown with Robert, a small business owner with a Mercedes-Benz BMW SUV. The FDR Drive moved very quickly

The evening commute was not so good. It was a busy day at work, as is normal for this time of year, so I could not leave before 630. And WINS news radio said that all the roads out of Manhattan were hopeless. So I started walking.

I walked over to Second Avenue, then hung a right, south. With only a stop for some Chinese Mexican tacos at Fresh Tortillas Grill Tex-Mex ( 31st/Second ) , went down all the way to the Manhattan Bridge.

There's normally very few people on the pedestrian walkways of the Manhattan Bridge, but tonight was an exception. There were a fair number of pedestrians, and a steady stream of bicylists, with their helmets and red light blinkers, whooshing by.

Trains and cars share this major bridge with pedestrians. One empty train went by, positioning itself for the imminent return to service. The car lanes to my right were bumper to bumper, at about the same speed as me, walking.

I went down Jay Street, and asked a cop at the Lawrence St station when subway service would return. He said maybe midnight. Not soon enough. He asked where I had walked from. When I said 52nd Street in Manhattan, he was pretty surprised.

I went past the urban nightmare of Fulton Mall, turned right at Flatbush, then right again at Third Avenue. I had hoped to hit the lottery with a just-restored Third Avenue bus service, but it was just too early for that. I passed Atlantic Avenue, and hailed a " black car " who for $15, took me back to the sunny shores of Bay Ridge.

After the long walk, it took a bit of effort to get up out of the car, legs weighing a millon pounds each. I treated myself to a 40 ounce Budweiser and a bag of cashews to celebrate the strike's end. Both are no more.

Looking forward to a normal ride to and from work tomorrow. Won't kill the workers, who are good guys in the main, but they did the wrong thing and they know it.

Tomorrow, heroes and villains of the strike on

December 21, 2005

Subway Strike - Day 2

Got a ride back to Bay Ridge from someone at work today. It took an hour and a half to get from 54th St / Madison. We went through the Midtown Tunnel and the BQE, which flowed well, then via the BQE, which was very slow until we reached Hamilton Avenue.

Got a ride at 720 at 3rd Avenue / 66th Street from a great lady who dropped me off near 59th Street Bridge. She dropped someone off in lower Manhattan first.

Lots of congestion on the approach roads to Brooklyn Bridge. Saw plenty of foot passengers on it. Traffic flowed well on FDR Drive. At work right on time at 9am.

December 20, 2005

Subway Strike-Day 1

The buses and subways are on strike.


Got back just now, after a ride from Aida from work. Traffic was great. Her husband took us down Park Avenue / Park Avenue South, down Water Street, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and down the Gowanus. Didn't like staying late after such an early departure, but the traffic was great.

726 pm
There was a lot more traffic to be seen by 2pm. A lot of people, incl a woman at work, came in or were driven in after the ban on vehicles with less than 4 people ended at 11am. Still at work, not looking forward to the ride home, though at least I have a ride home and don't have to hitch.

I " hitchhiked " a ride to Manhattan at near the entrance to the Gowanus Expressway at 66th St / 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge at 650am. The ride on the Gowanus went well, as we were in the HOV lane. In Manhattan, there was a lot less traffic than normal, due to efficient NYPD enforcement of the four-passsengers to a car rule on the main highways.

We'll see how we get back home.

December 19, 2005

R Train / Bay Ridge Subway Problems

Bay Ridge is served by the R local subway. It does a workmanlike job most of the time, but it falls short in the late evenings, after 9pm. From 9 to 11pm, there will often be two or three N expresses rolling into 59th Street, for every R train that lumbers in. Why?

In the peak hours, the M train shares the track with the R from 36th Street to Borough Hall. The only problem is, the R trains are nearly full, while the M train is nearly empty. This is because the M train has a route , from Bay Parkway to Chambers Street, to Middle Village that makes no sense. It would make more sense to
have the southbound M end at Chambers Street, and add a couple of R trains that would start in Bay Ridge and end at Chambers Street. There was once an RR or RJ train that made this run.

The route of the M train makes no sense. It makes for very bad service from Borough Hall all the way to Bay Ridge.

Why such poor service on the Bay Ridge subways? And why don't the Bay Ridge elected officials do something about it?

December 17, 2005

Christmas is Coming

And the illuminated decorations come out. From north side of 68th Street, betwen 3rd and 4th Avenues, 30 minutes ago.

December 11, 2005

Brooklyn Nets Coverage

The " Bay Ridge Paper " and the " Brooklyn Paper " have instituted coverage of what I shall henceforth refer to as the " Brooklyn Nets ".

I am delighted that there is now coverage in the, ahem, Brooklyn media. Now, who plays for this team? And what is their record?

December 04, 2005

Alpine Theater to Close?

--Business was better in 1946. ( Click on the photo image to make it larger ) Few cars, no tv. See women and ( tugging ) child waiting for the trolley. And Neilsen's Furniture, which lasted into the 1970'S or later. And katty-korner across the intersection, the " Haddon Hall " sign on the candy store ( which of course is still a candy store. ) --

Say it ain't so.

The NY Daily News reports that the Alpine Theater is for sale for $10 million . The seller has no restrictions on the future use of the building, so the Alpine Theater could soon be no more.

This would come less than a year after the death of the Fortway Theater

Like the Fortway, the Alpine was chopped up into a multiplex years ago, and lost its magic as a theater.

Neighborhood theaters all over America suffered a big wound with cable tv/HBO/VCRs/etc and most have probably suffered a fatal blow with DVDs/Netflix/etc. Ask not whom the bell tolls, theaters of America--it tolls for thee.

Mournful dialogue in Cinema Treasures

See a movie at the Alpine when you can. Maybe I'll see " Walk the Line " again there.

November 29, 2005

" Bag Search " at Bay Ridge Avenue

Four or five policemen at Bay Ridge Avenue R station this morning. I walked by them with a laptop bag. They only stop some of the passengers with bags. Even though I would have missed the next train if they had stopped me, I wish they had. This policy is just for show. Almost nobody gets searched.

November 20, 2005

74th Street

74th Street, below Colonial Road, sun about to set.

Key Food Supermarket

Loading up after some Sunday shopping at Key Food supermarket, 95th Street and Third Avenue, Bay Ridge. This is my favorite supermarket in the neighborhood.

November 19, 2005

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

It has stood on the northeast corner of Ovington and Fourth Avenues for a long time. I went to a wedding there once.

A scene from an awful movie called The Guru , was filmed here. I saw the production trailers parked on 69th St.

Marisa Tomei was in the movie, Malachy McCourt played the role of a priest conducting the ceremony. This movie came and went so fast in 2003, I'm not sure anyone ever saw it.

Bethlehem Church has a website

November 16, 2005 is lame

I remember a number of years ago, seeing a bumper sticker for . I barely understood the internet's www at the time, and could not believe that our little neighborhood had its own internet site! How exciting!

Now, well over seven years have passed, and...there's not a lot to

  • an event calendar that does have some school information on it.
  • A Guestbook which seems to be populated by a lot of people who moved to Jersey years ago and who write in to say that they remember the Alpine Theater
  • a This Day in History thing that tells me that Oklahoma became a state 47 years ago
  • Click onto news, news, news, and you see...nothing
  • There are ten old pictures of the neighborhood, which are ok.

    That's it? That's it. I believe is connected to the Home Reporter newspaper. This newspaper, though small, has some resources and should be able to put out a better website than this. Bay Ridge is a good neighborhood, and it deserves a better website than Even this stinking web site is better!!

November 14, 2005

Brooklyn Parrots, continued

My man John S drives a route in Brooklyn and advises that the parrots are " all over " his route in Bensonhurst. " If you're interested there's one spot on the corner of Bath Avenue and 15th Avenue. I think the other spot is a couple of blocks away. "

Might have to go on a reconaissance mission this weekend. John's comments are in sync with this map on the Brooklyn Parrots website

Full Moon

It's supposed to rain later tonight, but at 730 pm, it was gorgeous. There was a full moon over Bay Ridge. You don't notice the brightness so much when out on the street, but in the backyard, away from the streetlights, you still notice the beautiful white moonlight.

I read where in Rome, there are plans to lower the intensity of the streetlights so as to reduce light pollution. So that people can see the sky once more. Brava, Roma.

November 13, 2005

Moonrise over Fourth Avenue

Scruffy Murphy's - What's Going On?

Not too long ago, Scruffy Murphy's on Fourth Avenue, just off 69th Street, was a popular place, with live bands a couple of nights a week.

Over two years ago, it closed for renovations, and I think, so owner Sean could spend some time back in Ireland. It was supposed to reopen in 2004. Now, 2005 is nearly over and there is no sign of life in Scruffy's, nor in the two apartments above it.

We miss Scruffy Murphy's, who was a good neighbor. Bring it back!

November 12, 2005

Wild Parrots Of Bay Ridge

I've known for awhile that there are wild parrots in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, but was unaware that there was a monk parrot colony in Bay Ridge. They're up by the Dust Bowl.

I just found this tonight, from the amazing site

November 09, 2005

Vincent Gentile Re-elected to City Council

Vincent Gentile, Democrat, won re-election to the Bay Ridge City Council seat yesterday, beating Pat Russo, the Republican challenger. Not too long ago, Republicans always won here. Now, Bay Ridge is a swing area- can go Democrat or Republican.

The State Senator here is Marty Golden, a Republican.

October 04, 2005

Grandma's Baseball

Visited Grandma's Original Pizza today.

They're crazy baseball fans there. There's a tv across from the marble pizza counter, and if there is a ballgame being aired, it is on that tv. And being commented on, with passion and with knowledge, by the pizzeria's Italian and Mexican crew.

Had a regular slice and a " grandma's" square slice. They were impeccable. At a little pizzeria that always bats 1.000.

September 12, 2005

Bay Ridge Pizza Hall of Fame

New York has the best pizza in America and Brooklyn has some of the best pizza in New York. And some of the best pizza in Brooklyn is in Bay Ridge.

Here, as a result of extensive testing over decades, is a list of my top five pizzerias in Bay Ridge:
  1. Grandma's Original Pizza, 6918 Third Avenue, 718-833-4646. Everything here is of championship caliber, but my favorites are a) Grandmama's Pizza, a crispy thin crust square, with mozzarella, marinara sauce, fresh basil, olive oil, topped off with sharp romano cheese, and b) margherita pizza ( similar to grandmama's but a from a large round pie that isn't crisp.) Fabulous.
  2. Pizza Wagon, Fifth Avenue, off 86th Street. Great round pie. Good square.
  3. Rocco's, 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. Great round pie. Good square.
  4. Lento's. Ovington and Third Avenues. Serving very good thin crust pizza on ancient wood tables since the 1930s.
  5. Elegante, Fifth Avenue, between 69th and Ovington. Bare-bones, but a good salty slice essentially unchanged since the mid 1960s.

August 27, 2005

Brooklyn Cyclones' Player Needs Help - Spread the Word

Jon Malo is a 21 year old kid from suburban Montreal who is living his dream playing shortstop for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

But he bears a heavy burden because his Mom is dying of colon cancer and related illnesses. This story broke in a Jon Heyman column in Newsday.

The doctors in Canada completely missed the diagnosis four years ago. Now, an operation that could save her life is not available in Quebec. It is available in the US--but would cost $250,000--money Linda Ferland and her minor leauger son do not have.

That's where you might come in. Jon Malo is raising money, the Cyclones are helping, and so can we. There's a fundraising website up in Quebec, and this is it, translated from the French

This is the place where you can make a donation. Spread the word.

August 22, 2005

Apple Express Mess

Business must be bad at Apple Express car service. They've been parking their cars overnight on Senator Street and 68th Street over the past weeks. Its illegal for a livery car company to park on the streets overnight, but Apple Express does it anyway. Bad thing is that Apple Express takes parking spots away from a neighborhood with too few of them.

Maybe we will post license plates of these illegally parked cars as a public service. Apple Express, start respecting the neighborhood.

August 08, 2005

Word has it that Mrs. Zafiroulos has shown some progress. Still in critical condition, but there's some reason to be hopeful.Hang in there.

And Marty, you hang in there too.

August 07, 2005

State Senator Golden in Auto Accident

State Senator Golden was involved in an auto accidentyesterday on Third Avenue and 84th Street. The victim, Harkli Zafiroulos, 74 is in Lutheran Hospital in critical condition. The article in the NY Post says that she was crossing against the light.

Hope she makes it. Say a prayer, and spare one for Mr. Golden, too.

He's a good man. Have met him several times over the years and have great respect for him.

August 05, 2005

Alpine Theater

Alpine Theater Posted by Picasa

Bay Ridge Movie Theaters: Alpine Theater

Of the eight theaters that once operated in Bay Ridge ( including the Fortway, Stanley, Dyker, Shore Road, Harbor, Electra and the Bay Ridge Theater ) the last man standing is the sturdy Alpine Theater.

The Loew's Alpine opened in 1921, and remained a Loew's theater until pretty recently. Originally a 2200 seat palace, it, like most theaters, has been chopped up into a much less appealing multiplex.

What I think was the original marquee was damaged when some jamoke ran a truck into it a few years ago. The new bland marquee will have to do.

To the left of the Alpine is the Bay Ridge Mosque ; to the right, for years, was the Neisen Furniture Store.

More details, as always, on the wonderful Cinema Treasures.

Hang in there, Alpine.
NYPD was randomly checking bags at Bay Ridge Avenue R train this morning. Good.

August 04, 2005

Electra Theater

Bay Ridge Movie Theaters: Electra Theater

You've never been to a movie at the Electra, and neither have I. The Electra was built on this site at 75th and Third Avenue in 1913 as a silent movie house, was converted to a sound house, and lasted until the early 1950s.

Then they tore it down, and built a ( Bohack? ) supermarket in 1960. Its now a Food City supermarket. Good Spanish food next door at Sanchos.

More information on the Electra at Cinema Treasures

Tomorrow, we conclude our tour of Bay Ridge Theaters with the last man standing: the Alpine.

August 03, 2005

Harbor Theater

Bay Ridge Movie Theaters: Harbor Theater

Out on Fourth Avenue and 92nd St, the site of the Harbor Theater still has its marquee. Though the theater closed in 1979, the building still looks like a movie theater, and is in fine shape. Now a health club, its one that has " Harbor " in its name. Whoever decided to keep the marquee and the word " Harbor " , I tip my hat to you. Details on Cinema Treasures

August 02, 2005

Site of RKO Shore Road Posted by Picasa

Bay Ridge Movie Theaters: RKO Shore Road

Down 86th Street, across the street from Century 21 Department Store, we see the building most residents will remember as the home of Crazy Eddie, then later the Wiz. Its now been chopped up into three stores, and the there is construction going on upstairs ( the left wall is punched out in places ).

You'd have to be a very long time resident of Bay Ridge to remember that there was once a movie theater here, the RKO Shore Road. When TV became widespread in the 1950s, this place was closed. More info to be found at Cinema Treasures.

Tomorrow, we walk down to Fourth Avenue, hang a left, and walk down to the Harbor Theater.

August 01, 2005

Site of RKO Dyker TheaterPosted by Picasa

Bay Ridge Movie Theaters: RKO Dyker Theater

The RKO Dyker was on 86th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Details to be found at Cinema Treasures. But lots of us remember the Dyker, which closed its doors in April 1977. Tomorrow, we walk one block down 86th Street to the Shore Road Theater, which few would be old enough to remember...

July 31, 2005

The Stanley Theater once stood here ( what is now Apple Bank ) Posted by Picasa

Bay Ridge Movie Theaters -- Stanley Theater

This week, we will take a look at tour of the sites of what once were movie theaters in Bay Ridge. In earlier posts, we've spoken of the Bay Ridge Theater, then of the recently closed Fortway Theater.

Today, we start at Fifth Avenue, between 74th and 75th Street. You'd never know that this Apple Bank was a movie theater, but it was the Stanley Theater for years. Click into Cinema Treasures for lots of information on this theater.

I may have seen the closed marquee of this theater, which would have to be in the 1960s ( Cinema Treaures believes it closed in 1957 ); I definitely did see it as a supermarket in the late 1960s and later on remember a Chase Manhattan Bank at this site.

This is next to local landmark " The Lincoln Savings Bank ", which has changed hands a zillion times and is now Washington Mutual or whatever.

Tomorrow, we walk down Fifth Avenue in the direction of the Dyker.

July 26, 2005

Fortway Theater, RIP ( 1927 - 2005 )

The lights are out for good. If you look closely, you'll see a small tree growing on the left side of the arch near the top. Posted by Picasa

July 25, 2005


Will try to take a photo of the Fortway soon. Its funny, Bay Ridge is a pretty large neighborhood, but we have no press worth a damn--do not see a thing in the internet even on this. For what its worth, here are some snippets from " Cinema Treasures " about the Fortway here.

The Fortway was --always-- a little on the ratty side, but it is sad to see it go.

July 24, 2005

Fortway Theater , Banana Leaf

I've been ignoring this blog for awhile, sorry about that. A major reason for this is that I was in Hawaii the week before last, and I was preparing for the trip, then recovering from the trip etc etc.

Whats new in Bay Ridge?

Unfortunately, I've heard that the Fortway Theater has closed. The Fortway joins the Bay Ridge Theater, the Dyker, the Harbor, the Stanley and the Berkshire as Bay Ridge theaters that no longer exist.

And with the rise of DVDs, a lot more neighborhood theaters will be closing, everywhere.


And a very local restaurant, Banana Leaf was reviewed in the New York Times. I was reading the NYT in Hawaii when I read this favorable review. I hope this restaurant makes it.

July 05, 2005

Bay Ridge Fireworks II

The NY Times had a story today about how fireworks in NY " don't disappear " they are creeping back in NY after the Guiliani ban. Again, I heard plenty of firecrackers in Bay Ridge yesterday. Not like the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst of the 1960s, which was a once a year fireworks free-fire zone, but certainly fireworks were heard all day long.

In the early 1970s I remember spending every penny I had on firecrackers, " ashcans ", cherry bombs, " jap rockets " ( bottle rockets ) and all the rest of it. Me and my pyro buddies would blow the neighborhood to hell every year, and it was great fun.

Rudy the Reformer made the city a safer place by banning them effectively, but it did take away a lot of the fun of July 4 for little kids. Big kids too.

July 02, 2005

Bay Ridge Fireworks

You can tell Rudy isn't mayor anymore. As I tortured myself doing some exterior painting today, heard lots of fireworks. Not cherry bombs or other big stuff, these were firecrackers. But you did not hear them when Rudy was mayor, not in his second term anyway.

June 07, 2005

Tiger Seen in Bay Ridge

It's the name of the friendly grey cat that prowls the aisles of Sunnydale Farms on 68th St and Third Avenue. Saw him tonight as he was stretching up on some boxes as the woman owner was talking to him, asking him why he did not eat all his dinner. Tiger is extremely cool.

May 30, 2005

Old House Demolished

There's an old wooden house on 68th Street, between 3rd and Ridge. Its on the north side of the street, closer to Ridge. Or it was. Don't see it anymore, and there is a large wood fence around it with a sign for a demolition company.

It did not look as though it was in great repair. I only took notice of it over the past years, when I was parking my car down there. There would often be some old guys hanging out on the porch. This old house will probably be replaced by an anonymous grey brick townhouse whatever.

May 26, 2005


Todays NY Times reports that Kleinfeld's will close the Bay Ridge store and move to Manhattan. A major bummer for that part of the neighborhood.

May 19, 2005

Bay Ridge Movie Theaters: Bay Ridge Theater

Loews Bay Ridge Posted by Hello
This was a movie theater from the 1920s up till the 1950s or 1960s. I remember the marquee of the closed theater in the 1960s. The top two floors are used by New York Sports Clubs Health Club. For some additional information on this theater's history see Cinema Treasures --and be sure to scroll down to see the comments.

The side entrance of the Bay Ridge Theater. Maybe that balcony was part of a fire escape. Posted by Hello

May 15, 2005

The Bay Ridge Paper has a story this week stating that the Army Corps of Engineers is concerned about the deterioration of the bike path, saying that if it is left unaddressed, it could easily affect the Belt Parkway.

This florist had been in business at 7012 Third Avenue for decades. But the owners have retired. There was a sign in the window thanking their customers for their support, but I guess the real estate guys took it down. Posted by Hello

May 11, 2005

Remove the image of the highway, and this could be northern California. But its off Shore Road, maybe 88th St, near the end of a perfect Sunday. And a setting sun makes everything look great. Posted by Hello

May 09, 2005

Daily News story Bay Ridge Bike Path mess

What the hell's going on?

From Judy. Maybe it's bad design, maybe it's bad maintenance by the City, maybe it's Global Warming come to the Narrows, maybe this thing is falling into the ocean. Go for a jog or bike ride while you can. Posted by Hello

May 08, 2005

Self-portrait. Colonial Road, by Fort Hamilton High School. Posted by Hello

May 07, 2005

NYC Bloggers

NYC Bloggers tracks blogs in New York City , organizing them in a very NYC way, by the closest subway station. Manhattan is the blog champion with 2515 blogs, but Brooklyn is a strong presence with 1564. Click on the R line subway stations to find who's blogging in Bay Ridge. (Of course, the Bay Ridge Blog is represented.)

Shore Bike Path

The bike path, here near the 69th Street pier is one of the best things about Bay Ridge. Saturday, May 7, about 7pm. Posted by Hello

But the bike path has lots of potholes now. This is in a section near 79th Street that is fenced off for the protection of cyclists and pedestrians. How would you like to ride into one of these potholes at night? Posted by Hello

May 06, 2005

Friday, May 6, 2005, about 7pm. Its cold, feels like rain. 68th Street, south side, below Fourth Avenue.  Posted by Hello

May 02, 2005

Senator Street

Just above Third Avenue, south side of the street . May 1, 2005 around 7pm. Posted by Hello

May 01, 2005

68th Street

Have the new Olympus Digital, and now will start to learn it. This is one of the first pictures taken . On 68th Street, just below Fourth Avenue, north side of the street. Sunday May 1, 2005 at about 7pm. Posted by Hello

April 28, 2005

Digital Camera Has Arrived

The digital camera has arrived, is at my feet in a box in my Manhattan office, and I am about to take it home on the subway. Give me a few days to figure it out, then we'll see what it'll do. Can't wait.

April 26, 2005


Please stand by. Will be quiet for a while. But will be back in less than a week. Ciao.

April 23, 2005

Bought a digital camera

OK, broke down and bought an Olympus digital camera. Should see some better photos actually taken by me, here, in about a week. Can't wait to get it.
this is an audio post - click to play