Bay Ridge Library - Local History & Photos
The Bay Ridge Free Library was organized in 1880 by the Bay Ridge Reading Club. A Reading Room was established on Ridge Boulevard near Ovington Avenue. In 1896 a building opened on the site of the present-day branch; in 1901 this building and its collection 6,000 books were incorporated into the Brooklyn Public Library. The Library served a community of 12,000 people representing forty-four different nationalities including Dutch, Germans, Scandinavians and Italians.
In 1958 the old building was demolished to make way for a spacious new building. In the meantime, the branch moved to temporary quarters at 259 Ovington Avenue. It moved into the new two-story building, with its loggia-like double-height entry lobby and decorative transom panels, on May 24, 1960.
Today's Bay Ridge Branch continues to serve a diverse population, now numbering 42,000. In addition to large Irish, Italian and Latino populations, there are still residents with Scandinavian and German heritages. Languages spoken in the neighborhood include Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Greek and Korean. Along with its regular services, the Bay Ridge Branch provides many programs, including events for children and older adults, the latter through the Library's Service to the Aging.
Highest concentration of restaurants in Brooklyn; Kleinfield & Son is one of New York's most famous bridal stores; Gingerbread House built in 1917, a whimsical cottage with a mock thatched roof, on the estate known as Owl's Head; Henry Cruse Murphy, first Brooklynite who came close to being President of the United States, Jean Balukas, America's greatest woman pool player; Vincent J. Gentile, State Senator of 23rd District; 3rd Avenue is longest commercial street in New York City.