06/20/16 11:47am
Nowadays is more like a park where booze is allowed than your typical bar. Photo: Nicholas Rinaldi

Nowadays is more like a park where booze is allowed than your typical bar. Photo: Nicholas Rinaldi

Not quite a beer garden, Nowadays is probably best described as a park where drinking is encouraged. Any discussion of Nowadays should also mention upfront that this place is pretty out of the way, but it’s more than manageable from the L train–the hard-to-spot entrance is about a five minute walk from the Halsey stop, in a neighborhood you probably wouldn’t have visited five years ago. (And for anyone wondering, the area feels as safe as Morgantown.)

On an average evening at Nowadays groups of friends cluster at picnic or cafe tables, beers and hot dogs in hand. On busier nights, you may have to wait in line for a bit at the bar, which is separate from the food truck selling a surprisingly sophisticated menu of upscale street food. The beer menu is a rotating offering of regional brews, like Narraganset and Lagunitas, that run $6 or $7 a pop. Wine, red and (sometimes) white sangria, and prosecco on tap are available for $8, with bottles also available (but strangely, pitchers of beer are not). This is the kind of place you might worry would be cash only, but cards are accepted–which is a good idea, as the nearest ATM machine is blocks away. It’s a solid, reasonably priced selection, but we wish they had a full liquor license for cocktails. (more…)

03/13/15 9:00am
 stretch of houses down Catalpa Avenue, with St. Matthias Roman Catholic church off in the distance. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

A stretch of houses down Catalpa Avenue, with St. Matthias Roman Catholic church off in the distance. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

I’d like to preface this piece by assuring you that that this neighborhood guide is not a sly ploy to get anyone to consider leaving Kings County in favor of Queens. This is not the makings of a movement, or an attempt to reposition Ridgewood as the next big thing in real estate. On the contrary,  it is merely a gentle nudge, a reminder that just because you may call Greenpoint or Bed-Stuy home, that doesn’t mean you can’t meander north of Myrtle Avenue. Getting to know a new neighborhood is a luxury that’s afforded to pretty much anyone with a MetroCard, so why not take advantage? Ridgewood, Queens, with its effortlessly tranquil streets and homegrown sensibilities, is an excellent place to begin.

Ridgewood has long been debated territory, with is borders being disputed as far back as the 18th or 19th century. It lies precariously between the borders of Brooklyn and Queens, and often fights for zip code status with nearby Bushwick. Middle Village and Glendale surround Ridgewood to the east and south, and originally, it was the Dutch that settled here, making a living by farming before waves of urbanization began overrunning the area in the early 20th century. Following World War I, the rise of knitting factories and breweries (the remains of which can still be seen strewn across Ridgewood’s west side) attracted a flood of Eastern European immigrants, mostly Germans and Slovenians. Today, the community is an amalgamation of long-time, old-school Eastern European residents, a Hispanic community and younger artist types who are starting to fall under Ridgewood’s spell. Craig Hubert and Chloe Wyma, both journalists in their 20s, have lived in Ridgewood for five and three years, respectively.

“I love how relatively affordable it is (though unfortunately it’s becoming less so), and its sleepy, family-oriented vibe” says Wyma, with Hubert sharing similar sentiments. He notes that the neighborhood’s peacefulness is undoubtedly part of its allure, and that “it even gets eerily quiet at night,” making Ridgewood seem far removed from the city that never sleeps.

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