Upcoming “Ridgewood Immersion” tour sparks outrage from local tenant advocacy group

Total Ridgewood Immersion tour
Photo via Brooklyn Based

An upcoming guided tour of Ridgewood‘s new bars and restaurants is raising eyebrows among members of a local tenants organization.

Brooklyn Based, a culture and events blog for Brooklyn residents, is making its way into Ridgewood for the first time this June as they bring their “Immersion Tour” series over the Bushwick border into Queens. Partnering with Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn Based is hosting their Total Ridgewood Immersion tour as part of their Immersion Tour series which, for the last seven years, has brought people to explore new neighborhoods and visit some of the area’s bars and restaurants.

They now hope to bring people into Ridgewood to show them what the neighborhood has to offer.

“In Ridgewood, you’ll spend the day exploring quaint, leafy streets, generations-old bakeries, and laid-back bars,” the Brooklyn Based website touts.

The tour is then a self-guided walking tour of Ridgewood between noon and 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, using participating locations as markers on your journey across the neighborhood.

“The Immersion series is a program we created with Brooklyn Brewery in 2010,” said Nicole Davis, publisher of Brooklyn Based. “Back then we wanted to create a beer crawl that wasn’t just about the bars, but about ‘immersing’ yourself in a neighborhood by exploring all the things that make it unique and cool — its cafes, shops, creative spaces and of course, its bars. We’re able to do that by curating deals you can only get on an Immersion, from free Brooklyn Brewery beers to lunches to storewide sales. Ultimately it’s a great excuse to eat, drink and shop in Ridgewood, and benefit its small businesses, too.”

While some see the tour as a great way to get people spending money at local Ridgewood establishments, others like the Ridgewood Tenants Union feel the Immersion tour is adding to the ongoing gentrification of the neighborhood and the displacement of long-term residents and business owners.

The Ridgewood Tenants Union — which has been fighting the displacement of Ridgewood residents and the increase of high-rise buildings in the neighborhood — has dubbed the walking tour “The Total Ridgewood Gentrification Tour,” and has a meeting scheduled for the same time as the tour (Saturday, June 3, from noon to 6 p.m.) to campaign against the 17-story “Ridgewood Tower.”

“As a long-time resident of Ridgewood and as someone who sees every day the negative impact that gentrification has on the people of our neighborhood, I find it deplorable that Brooklyn Based and Ridgewood Social have organized this tour,” said Raquel Namuche of the Ridgewood Tenants Union. “This event directly connects to the efforts of real estate companies who are helping to displace families due to the influx of new young residents craving the Brooklyn they may have left behind but within our ‘sleepy, family-oriented’ neighborhood. Just like the real estate companies, Brooklyn Based and Ridgewood Social only care to serve their self-interests. The fact that Ridgewood Social is spinning this event as if it was originally organized with the goal of supporting small and immigrant owned businesses is pathetic — we know this is only a ploy to further their brand and make our neighborhood marketable for their target audience.”

Although Ridgewood Social wrote about the Immersion tour, they had no hand in organizing it, Davis said. Brooklyn Based and Brooklyn Brewery are the only organizers for the event.

For more information about the “Total Ridgewood Gentrification Tour” meeting, visit the Ridgewood Tenants Union Facebook page.

As for the Immersion Tour, the $15 ticket will get you a free Brooklyn Brewery beer at four bars — The Bonus Room, Factory Bar & Restaurant, Onderdonk & Sons, and Milo’s Yard. For $25, tour goers can add a lunch at one of these bars, or at Paloma’s Mexican Cuisine.

Aside from free beers and food, several Ridgewood bars, restaurants and shops will be offering exclusive deals to Ridgewood Immersion participants. Some of those deals are:

  • The Bad Old Days — $1 off Summer Ale cans and $1 off bar snacks;
  • Aunt Ginny’s — $1 off Summer Ale Drafts and $2 off sandwiches;
  • Ridgewood Pork Store — Buy a pound of smoked pork sausage, get one pound half off;
  • Tornado Crepe — Buy a crepe, get a free bubble tea;
  • Kings XXI Juice Bar — Buy a juice, get a juice free;
  • Madison New York — 20 percent off storewide;
  • Rudy’s Bakery and Café — Buy an iced latte or iced Nutella latte, get a free Nutella or raspberry tart;
  • Norma’s Corner Shoppe — Buy a large iced coffee, get a free cookie;
  • Nowadays — $1 off a Brooklyn beer;
  • Saint Seneca — 20 percent off storewide;
  • Sweet Janes — $1 off a Brooklyn beer;
  • Craft Culture — Buy two Bel Air Sour beers, get a free Brooklyn Brewery pint glass, and more.

Tour goers can exchange their Immersion tickets at the designated pick-up spot, The Bonus Room, located at 991 Wyckoff Ave. between noon and 1 p.m. on June 3 for a pack of “WAM” or walking around money, redeemable for a free Brooklyn Brewery Beer at four different bars across the neighborhood, as well as special deals at participating locations.

More information about the Total Ridgewood Immersion tour, can be found at the Brooklyn Based blog. Tickets can be purchased here.