Title: 57th BRCC Presidents' Luncheon Is 'Who's Who in Bay Ridge' Success
Author: Harold Egeln
Publisher: Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It was a huge turnout of "Who's Who in Bay Ridge" at the stellar 57th Annual Bay Ridge Community Council's Luncheon, with a parade of praise for the Council founded in 1951.
Presiding over the invitation-only event which honors heads of the Council's 100-plus member organizations was President Arlene Keating. Handling arrangements was Executive Secretary Gloria Melnick.
"Our neighborhoods are the keys to New York City," said Sen. Schumer at the Bay Ridge Manor on Saturday. "Bay Ridge personifies what our neighborhoods are like, for its 156 years. It is one of the great neighborhoods of the city and everyone knows it."
Noting the council's long history, Schumer said: "For all the years I've been in public life since 1974, Bay Ridge has always stood out for the neighborhood you've fought for through thick and thin. To everybody who kept Bay Ridge the beautiful, wonderful place that it is, served by all its elected officials, I make a toast to 100 more great years of Bay Ridge!"
Council President Arlene Keating and Executive Secretary Gloria Melnick, luncheon chief organizer, presented Schumer with a special gift - the new photo book, the local best seller "Bay Ridge Then & Now" (Arcadia Press) by Bay Ridge Historical Society leaders Lawrence Stelter and Peter Scarpa.
"Nine years since I emigrated from Flatbush, I know there's no place in America that has the support system for people to be directly involved in their community as Bay Ridge," said Brooklyn District Attorney Hynes. He urged people to visit any one of three-dozen community centers in the borough that has programs that help prevent crime and improve the criminal justice system.
State Senator Marty Golden, whose longtime business is the Bay Ridge Manor, said, "There are tough times ahead. We've had this before and we'll come through again."
He spoke of current efforts to save the B37 Third Avenue bus from the MTA budget axe, along with the threatened stoppage of weekend service on the B4, B16, X27 and X28 bus routes. "There are 400 businesses on Third Avenue alone that employ thousands of people, and we've got to keep the B37 going for them, their customers and our seniors and disabled," he said.
Of the threatened Roman Catholic elementary school closings, such as his alma mater Our Lady of Angels, he vowed that "we'll make sure they stay open and help relieve our overcrowded schools" and he told of new public schools being built and planned now.
"You are a wonderful umbrella of 100 organizations, with the camaraderie, guts and gumption to fight for your community," said Assembly-member Alec Brook-Krasny. Among others mixing with BRCC leaders were new Congressman Mike McMahon, Councilman Vincent Gentile, and Assembly-members Janele Hyer-Spencer, Peter Abbate and Felix Ortiz and state Senator Diane Savino.
"What makes a community grow are you active people in the community," said Sen. Schumer, there with his Chief of Staff Martin Brennan of Bay Ridge and two of Brennan's daughters.
Title: 'Bay Ridge Then & Now' Shows Dynamics of Change
Author: Harold Egeln
Publisher: Brooklyn Eagle Gazette
Two authors brought Bay Ridge's past and present alive, with old and new photos, facts and fun, at a book signing talk at the Court Street Barnes and Noble bookstore in Brooklyn Heights.
"Bay Ridge is always changing and transforming, despite what we lose and what we keep," said architect Lawrence Stelter of the Bay Ridge Historical Society, speaking at the store on Monday evening. "Here on Page 60 we have immigrants Julia and Conrad Beyer in front of their bakery at 7402 Fifth Ave. in 1912. Above we show immigrant David Saliaman in front of the same storefront, now Furniture and Beyond."
Beyer immigrated to the United States at age 16 and later opened his first bakery and lunchroom at 5009 Third Ave., when an elevated railroad ran above it. That area was part of Bay Ridge then, but is now Sunset Park. There are two photos of his employees a century ago.
"On Page 60 is Short's Tavern, opened on March 16, 1943, in a photo given to us by Walter Short himself," said co-author Peter Scarpa, president of the historical society. "It became a furniture store and is now a pet supply shop."
More than 160 photographs illustrate the former look of a once-rural community, founded as Bay Ridge in 1853 after dropping its original name of Yellow Hook. The photos follow the community as it expanded, transforming into a fast growing-suburban town with the city. Finally, the book shows Bay Ridge as one of the most stable, prosperous and civic-minded communities in Brooklyn. On each page one old photo and one new photo show this fascinating contrast.
For the Bay Ridge Historical Society, which holds monthly meetings at the Shore Hill Community Room, the book was its second published by Arcadia Publishing. The society's first book, Images of America: Bay Ridge, was published by Arcadia in 2001, and remains a popular item at stores and shops around and beyond Bay Ridge.
Among the photo gems that make this new book a treasure trove of time travel for the curious are the Loew's Bay Ridge and RKO Dyker theaters, the Third Avenue trolley, Drewes Brothers department store, and the new Bay Ridge High School under construction.
New Book A Collaborative Enterprise
Like the first book, Bay Ridge Then & Now Ridge was a cooperative effort by society members and friends led by longtime Bay Ridge residents Scarpa and Stelter. One of the contributors at the Barnes & Noble talk was community activist Ted General, a society member and a Society of Old Brooklynites member. "Larry and Peter have done a great job with this book, and it's a must volume to see, read and keep," said General, who researched the details of Bay Ridge's history.
Among other contributors were civic activist Rene Adams, who contributed photos old and new from his American Legion post; Bay Ridge memorabilia collector Joe Volpe; Joan Morcerf of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church; and Ruth Arciero and Marion Sinott, whose family album photos covered the time expanse.
"Here's a photo of Marion Sinott on Page 37 as a baby in a carriage with her mother in August 1932. Notice the house awnings," said Scarpa. "Below is a photo of Marion in the same house where she now lives. The awnings are now gone."
For a photo comparison, Stelter stood atop an apartment building at 88th Street and Gatling Place, looking north to 86th Street over the Gowanus Expressway. "See Page 38 for a photo taken in 1960 atop the same building, found in the late George Paszewicz's collection," he said.
"There are rowhouses, the Raleigh Catering Hall and Bohack supermarket. They were all demolished by Robert Moses for the expressway to connect to the new Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, opened in November 1964," Stelter said.
"Despite the destruction of several blocks dividing Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge has transformed and thrived. Look, Peter and I are still here and doing very well, thank you!" Stelter exclaimed.