Ridgewood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It borders the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale, as well as the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick and East Williamsburg. Originally, Ridgewood was part of the Dutch settlement Boswijk (Bushwick) and was later incorporated into the village of Breuckelen (now Brooklyn). A legacy of this past stands today.
Major streets in Ridgewood include Seneca Avenue, Forest Avenue, Fresh Pond Road, Myrtle Avenue, and Metropolitan Avenue. All are narrow two-lane roads (with parking lanes), and the high volume on these streets can cause traffic tie-ups during rush hour. The intersection of Fresh Pond and Metropolitan is especially notorious for being a bottleneck. The main shopping areas are on Myrtle Avenue and Fresh Pond Road. Other, smaller shopping strips are located on Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Avenue, and Seneca Avenue.
Ridgewood is a densely settled neighborhood, with housing stock ranging from six-family buildings near the Brooklyn border to two-family and single-family row houses deeper into Queens. Ridgewood is visually distinguished from Bushwick by the large amount of exposed brick construction; in Brooklyn, vinyl siding is more common. Like neighboring Bushwick, nearly all of the buildings in Ridgewood are classified as combustible.
Most of Ridgewood was developed block-by-block around the turn of the 20th century. Most of the buildings were designed by local architect Louis Berger & Co., which designed more than 5,000 buildings in the area. The neighborhood has been largely untouched by construction since then, leaving many centrally planned blocks of houses and tenements still in the same state as their construction.
In Ridgewood 10 national historic districts were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. 68th Avenue-64th Place Historic District; Central Ridgewood Historic District; Cornelia-Putnam Historic District; Cypress Avenue East Historic District; Cypress Avenue West Historic District; Fresh Pond-Traffic Historic District; Madison-Putnam-60th Place Historic District; Seneca Avenue East Historic District; Stockholm-DeKalb-Hart Historic District; and Summerfield Street Row Historic District. In addition, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated three landmark districts in Ridgewood.
This new/used book store opened just this year and was spearheaded by Benjamin Friedman, previously a buyer for St. Marks’ Bookshop. Topos Bookstore is charming, with lots of sunlight, plants and has indoor/outdoor seating. Spend a cozy afternoon nursing cold brew alongside a locally made pastry and pick up everything from George Burroughs to Haruki Murakami. Laptop junkies be warned: there’s no Wi-Fi but you can (gasp) talk to people instead or work without distraction. There’s no shortage of interesting conversations to eavesdrop on i.e. Walt Whitman’s sexuality.
Although only a Thursday-Sunday joint, Nowadays Bar is an enormous outdoor-only bar that opened just last June and isn’t to be missed. Enjoy beer from Queens Brewery alongside sangria and traditional burgers and vegetarian options. Sit at one of the many picnic tables and if you’re a New York resident stop caring you don’t have a backyard. Tourists will enjoy probably the greenest open space they’ve seen in NYC so far. Added plus? Optional pink-pong or bocce ball games.
Myrtle-Wyckoff Tamale Food Truck
One of the many great things about Ridgewood is the delicious diversity of food at your fingertips. If you’re on the go at lunch or skipped breakfast en route to the L, Myrtle-Wyckoff Tamale Food Truck has you covered. Reliably on the corner of Myrtle-Wyckoff, these fresh tamales will fill you up and keep your wallet full too at approximately a buck each.