Day 17 – Friday, September 25, 2015

“Prime Bay Ridge – Part 1”

Real estate agents call it “Prime Bay Ridge” – the area between 75th (Bay Ridge Parkway) and 86th(ish) Streets, from Shore Road to Ridge (ish).  The area seems to expand and contract based on the real estate agent’s needs.  The area closest to Shore Road being the most exclusive.  I call it “expensive suburbia”.

If you look at my map (today’s color is dark blue):

Bay Ridge Map

you’ll see that I focused on the “prime blocks” of 76th to 91st, between Narrows and Shore Road.  That’s only one “avenue” block, but quite a number of streets – for a grand total of about 7.5 miles.  Oh, and check out how few blocks I have left to do!

We headed south on Narrows, and once we hit the new territory (76th Street), we would turn left down a street and head to Colonial.  Then we’d cross the street and and walk the opposite side of the street back to Narrows.  We ended up doing each street block twice.  Roxy doesn’t like walking the same block twice.  I don’t think she’s talking to me anymore.

The further south you go, the bigger the houses get.  This monster (I mean mansion) on Narrows Ave just before 77th Street was an abandoned lot when we moved here.

narrows bet 76 & 77

There is also an entrance on 77th.  I don’t know which is the main entrance.  You can look at the car on the street to give you a sense of scale.  But to have so many windows…!

Turning left on 77th Street, we come across the more typical houses that are on the street blocks in the 70’s.  Some are single family, some are duplexes.  These blocks remind me of Suburbia, USA:

77 street

One of my favorite houses in the neighborhood is on 79th between Narrows and Colonial.  I love it’s mixture of “farm” and “city”, and in the summer the wisteria grows through the pergola style roof.  It also has an interesting shape – that’s I think what reminds me of a farmhouse.  If anyone’s wondering what to get me for my big birthday in a few years…:

79 bet narrows and colonial     79 bet narrows and colonial 2

Turning back onto Narrows, the houses start to get bigger.  And as we hit the next few blocks, the houses on the streets start to grow.  Lots start to grow.  And suddenly – for only a few blocks – you’re walking in the middle of one of the wealthiest areas around.

And as we turn onto Narrows, we start to do something we haven’t done in awhile – walk up and down hills.  This part of the neighborhood is hilly in spots.  This group of houses on Narrows between 79th and 81st is situated high on the hill.  I bet the other sides of the houses have great views of the water.

narrows bet 79 & 82

The house that is in between those two trees is my favorite.  It has this Italian villa feel to it.

As we turn down 80th, you’ll see that the houses get bigger still, a little more spread out, and have some nicely well-manicured lawns:

80 lawns between narrows and colonial

And then we come back to Narrows, and that’s when the beauty, size and scale of the residences really shine.  It’s hard to tell from this picture:

narrows at 81

but that brick house is quite large and really marks the beginning of the grand homes. This one makes me think of the brick houses that I hear are in the south.

And then we turn onto 81st Street.  The street seems to open up.  We are awash in sunlight, amongst the multi-multi million dollar homes.  A Maserati was parked in a driveway.  I had never seen greener grass.  Or felt more out of place.  These are all on 81st Street.  The first two are neighbors, just as they are below:

81 bet narrows and colonial white slate     81 bet narrows and colonial

I love the shape and “Tudorness” of the one on the left.  It’s hard to see here, but it has a gorgeous slate roof.

A bit further down the block:

81 bet narrows and colonial 3

There’s another, larger home directly across the street from this one that I did not take a picture of.  The homeowners were outside and taking a picture would not have been appropriate.  Suffice to say, the others paled in comparison to “photo not available”.

And then on 82nd Street:

82 street

another granddaddy of a house.  I should also mention that most of these houses have patios and pools in the back.  They’re usually fenced in and you can only catch a glimpse of what’s going on back there by looking up the driveways and catching a break in the fence.

Heading back towards Narrows, I should mention that the Gingerbread House (scroll back a couple of posts) is located on Narrows between 82nd and 83rd – so right about where we are now.

It’s funny – it’s not that I’m in awe of the size of the houses, their beauty, their land, their weird ornamental fountains;  but I’m surprised that they’re HERE.  In New York City.  When you think of NYC, you think (or at least I did) of Times Square, the people, the congestion, the high rises, the fast pace of it all.  Here it’s different.  There’s still a good deal of wealth, but there are homes, and yards, and water, and peace.  I don’t think I saw more than 5 people in the whole 4 hours we were out today, and one of them was a bus driver waiting for his next route to begin.  That’s what draws me here.  To the peace and quiet within NYC.  It exists.  You just need to find it.  Like this guy:

sad angel 83

He’s on 83rd.  He sits in a peaceful state on top of a brick entryway.  He’s found his peace.  Either that or he’s pissed he couldn’t see the Pope.

The area between 83rd and 85th gets a little wonky with Ft. Hamilton High School in the way.  I’ve already shown you a picture of the front, but here is one of the back, taken from a walkway that is essentially Narrows Ave, connecting 83rd & 85th Streets (there is no 84th because of the school):

back ft hamilton hs

I like the back of this building more than the front.  When they added on to the school, they put the addition on the front.  It’s not as clean looking as it is from the back.  I was surprised to see that we could walk right up to it in the middle of a school day.  Perhaps the back is less guarded.

Now that we’re south of the school, the houses start to get smaller, and we return back to a more “normal” type of block.  Between here and 88th Streets we’re back to the single family brick or Tudor houses, with a couple of larger ones tossed in.  Once you’re south of 88th Street you start to get into the large multi unit buildings that we wandering around on our last walk.

Off of 89th Street, there is a private, dead end street called Shore Court.  It had big “no trespassing” signs, but we were determined to head down.  Luckily it’s only a block long, so we did it with relative ease, but I have to say – I was a little nervous.  I did manage to grab a quick picture of the awfully adorable Tudor style buildings that graced both sides of the street:

Shore Ct

Where Narrows Ave and 89th Street merge (which is where the trees are in the far right corner of the picture) is another one of those “walks”.  This one is called Colonial Gardens and is right next to the white Spanish style house that I showed you when Cressa and I went on our walk.  These “walks” really remind me of the mews in London, and I would buy a house on one in a heart beat:

Colonial Gardens

After going south to 91st, we met with old territory and turned back and headed north on Shore Road.  I didn’t have a bunch of time left (I needed to be at Damon’s school at 2:30) so I decided to walk the few short blocks between Shore and Narrows, just to 83rd Street.  From there I would head back up Narrows to Xaverian.

On the corner of Shore and 86th is a home/pediatrician’s office.  I love the look, the canopy, and the corner location:

corner 86 & shore

And as we came back up Narrows, at 80th Street I was able to get a picture of one of the newer houses in the area.  It was just completed this past spring.  When we moved here a small, brick ranch house stood on the property.  It was for sale.  We talked about winning the lottery.  But someone else must have beat us to it, as they put this up in its place:

Narrows and 80

From here we headed to school to meet Damon and then home.  Roxy did not want to go to the school.  I had to pick her up and turn her left onto 71st instead of right.  We fought.  I won.

We did 7.5 miles (18,400 steps) today.  We only have a few blocks left, and then we tackle Shore Road Park.  This will be the last post for a couple of weeks, as I’m out of town beginning Tuesday, but I’m back on Columbus Day and we’ll wrap it up then!   🙂


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