Fort Hamilton, located in the southwestern corner of Brooklyn, is a neighborhood where families go to settle down.
The residential streets and avenues lined with businesses provide the perfect combination of quiet and bustle, allowing residents to stay for generations since all their needs can be met in the area.
Taking its name from the nearby Fort Hamilton Army Garrison Base, the small enclave is geographically part of Bay Ridge but it maintains its autonomy.
“It is its own separate community -- always has been. People who I know refer to themselves as living in Fort Hamilton,” said Josephine Beckmann, the district manager of Community Board 10.
Liam Groarke, owner of the Rent A Kilt shop on Fourth Avenue, said the nabe retains its residents.
“People rarely move from the neighborhood,” he said. “I know neighbors that were born in their house and still live there 60 years later.” However, Groarke moved here a year ago from Queens.
Beckmann noted that in recent years younger families have been moving to Fort Hamilton. She calls it a “nice shift.”
"You see them in the ice cream shops and boutiques," she said. "And when they do come here they set down their roots and stay; it's a lovely place to settle down."
She said the neighborhood is reflective of the young families moving in.
"Kid-friendly and family-friendly shops like Little Cupcake Bakeshop and Baby Mama, have popped up because of the younger families moving here," she said.
According to the local Community Board 10, Fort Hamilton, named after the founding father Alexander Hamilton, was built between 1825 and 1831 to protect New York from invasion by sea.
During the 1990s the fort faced closure by the federal government but was spared. Today, according to the board, the military base is the only active Army post in the metropolitan area. The site now provides services for military personnel and civilians, and hosts many family-friendly activities. It is also home to a senior citizen recreation center.
The neighborhood has its share of greenery with Shore Road Park at 92nd Street and Shore Road, and John Paul Jones Park, where the Fort Hamilton Cannon monument is found, at 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
Houses in the area range from condo and co-op buildings, many along Shore Road, to Tudors, two-family homes and one-family detached homes along the quiet streets like Ridge Boulevard and 91st Streets.
Beckmann noted that some smaller homes along Fort Hamilton Parkway have given way to larger condo buildings in recent years.
"In the future I do see development in some pockets of the area," she said.
However, finding parking can be a challenge for some residents,
That being said, "it has always been a place where families come and place roots and become engaged in the community," Beckmann stressed. "I see more of that in the next 10 years; I think that's what people who move to this part of Brooklyn are looking for."
Fort Hamilton is situated in the southwestern end of Bay Ridge. Its northeastern boundary is 87th Street. Seventh Avenue and Poly Place mark its eastern boundary. The Belt Parkway serves as its western and southern boundaries.
R train to Bay Ridge 95th Street
B1, B8, B16, B63, B70, S53, S79, S93, X17, X27, X37 buses
Brooklyn Public Library, Fort Hamilton, 9424 Fourth Ave.
Fort Hamilton Post Office, 8801 Fifth Ave.
The 68th Precinct at 333 65th St. covers Fort Hamilton. In 1990, there were 11 murders in the neighborhood, compared with one in 2012. There were 3,142 auto grand larcenies reported in 1990, which went down to 119 in 2013. For the week of Dec. 30, 2013, through Jan. 5, 2014, there were four robberies reported by the precinct, up from two in the same week in 2013. There were three burglaries reported during that week this year and last year. There were no rapes, murders or shooting victims or incidents reported that week in either 2013 or 2014.
Robicelli’s Bakery, 9009 Fifth Ave.
Sit down and enjoy the cupcakes, pies and cakes of the well-known cookbook authors and husband and wife team, Matt and Allison Robicelli. 917-509-6048
101 Restaurant and Lounge, 10018 Fourth Ave.
Enjoy outdoor seating (in warm months) and views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at this well-loved neighborhood restaurant. 718-833-1313
Bridgeview Diner, 9011 Third Ave.
The name speaks for itself, as this diner offers bridge views in addition to an array of appetizers and entrees. 718-680-981
The Wicked Monk, 9510 Third Ave.
Dine on Dublin crab cakes or sirloin beef sliders and sample any of the variety of craft beers while enjoying live music at this Irish pub. 347-497-5152
Kitty Kiernans Lounge, 9715 Third Ave.
This spacious well-loved neighborhood lounge offers live music, fireplaces that add a warm ambiance and a jukebox with classic rock hits. 718-921-0217
Delia’s Lounge, 9224 Third Ave.
This trendy spot’s warm lighting and eclectic décor make for a casual night out. 718-745-7990
Baby Mama, 9002 Third Ave.
Catering to expecting and new mothers, Baby Mama offers a wide selection of baby and motherhood products with brands like Catbird, Babylegs, and Born Free! The boutique also offers classes for parents with babies. 718-238-2354
Panda Ski and Sport, 9213 Fifth Ave.
Known as Brooklyn's oldest ski shop, they supply everything from snowboards and skis to boots, apparel and professional boot fittings. 718-238-4919
Heart to Heart Gifts & Collectibles, 9006 Third Ave.
Find cards, collectables and gifts ranging from toys to jewelry boxes at this boutique. 718-680-6586
Harbor Defense Museum, 230 Sheridan Ave.
This museum exhibits historic material of Fort Hamilton and provides educational programs and services for audiences, military or civilian. 718-630-4349
Fort Hamilton MWR Army Garrison 137 A Poly Place #3A
The historic Fort Hamilton, which is the neighborhood’s namesake, offers plenty of activities for families including casino night, bowling lanes and a comedy show on Valentine’s Day at 8 p.m. 718-630-4758
Shore Road Park, 92nd St. and Shore Road
Sit down and soak up the sun, ride, walk the dog or fish at this park, where views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the sunset are coveted. Nycparks.org
The New York City Council approved the plan to rezone Fort Hamilton in July 2007 to preserve the character of the neighborhood.
According to the Department of City Planning, who proposed the rezoning, there was a growing concern that one and two-family homes were being torn down and replaced with attached, multi-family apartment buildings eroding the character of certain blocks. The lower-density zoning districts proposed aimed to preserve the existing scale and character of the neighborhood. New, moderate-density residential developments were directed to the commercial corridors.
The rezoning was adopted on Jan. 25th 2007 and "changes began to happen as soon as it went into effect," said Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10.
“There have been some nice, new condo projects that have been built since the rezoning but there hasn’t been any demolitions of homes or other buildings to build them,” she said. “That’s something the community was concerned about.”
She said the rezoning has helped the neighborhood by allowing an expansion of the Food Town supermarket, at 9105 Third Avenue. A new Met supermarket also popped up after, at 9606 Third Ave.
“We had a shortage of supermarkets for a period, so it helped that,” Beckmann said.
The neighborhood was rezoned along with neighboring Dyker Heights.
9022 Fort Hamilton Pkwy. Four-bedroom, three-bathroom brick home; 2,152 square ft.: $867,888
9917 Shore Rd. #2B. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo; 1,004 square ft.: $615,000.
9430 Ridge Blvd. #5A. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op; 1,050 square ft.: $479,000.
244 93rd St. #3. Three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment; 1,000 square ft.: $2,350.
9888 Shore Rd. #3B. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment; 1,050 square ft.: $3,500.
9201 Shore Rd. #C5. One-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment; 825 square ft.: $1,750.
Looking for a home in Fort Hamilton?
Century 21 DeMasi Realty, c21demasi.com
Dorsa Group Realty, dorsagrouprealty.com
Q&A with Liam Groarke: Local biz owner
Liam Groarke owns the Rent A Kilt shop at 9018 Fourth Ave. It is a Scottish/Irish store that proudly displays its Celtic roots. It is the only kilt-rental company in the five boroughs and often rents out to Broadway shows and TV shows. Rent A Kilt also sells argyle jackets, vests, bow ties and accessories.
What is unique about this neighborhood?
It’s a neighborhood that has retained its own image. There are many stores here and people shop in the neighborhood; they don’t have to leave the area to find anything. We’re well supplied.
How would you describe the residents here?
The people are friendly. They will say ‘hello’ to you, your next-door neighbors find out who you are and they will look out for you. It reminds me of Ireland in that way.
Are there any drawbacks or changes you’d like to see?
I think there is a shortage of housing. There should be more planning toward building condos for people who want to come and live and work here.