Tag Archives: Gottscheer Hall

Influx of hipsters revives 90-year-old Ridgewood German bar


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Gottscheer Hall was on its way to closing down two years ago. But the Ridgewood bar and grill turned a profit in 2012 because of younger, more affluent patrons who began to appear in larger and larger groups.

People packed the Gottscheer Hall on Sunday to watch the World Cup final. The patrons that afternoon were either older and of German descent or younger and attracted to the German appeal of the bar and grill that derives its name from a region in Europe that was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

“I like the history of the bar, the kitschiness. The beer is good and cheap,” Jonathan Deentler, 25, said as he ate a German pretzel and sausage with sauerkraut. “I guess you could say I’m being a cultural tourist.”

Deentler and his friends, who all live in Bushwick, began to come to the bar two years ago and have since often frequented it. Around that time, the Gottscheer Hall began to turn a profit, something that hadn’t been seen for 15 years, according to the bar’s secretary Roland Belay.

“The hipsters revived us,” Belay said. The German restaurant is celebrating its 90th anniversary this September but up until recently the business suffered a loss of patrons. Belay attributes this loss to the fact that the German immigrants who drank at the bar are getting older and dying off. The last big wave of Germans to the neighborhood was during WWII when the war displaced many Germans from the Gottschee region, now part of Slovenia.

“Every year we get fewer and fewer Germans coming here,” Belay said. “So we have to look forward and it seems like the hipsters will keep this business alive.”

Brian Questa, 26, lives in Williamsburg but decided to watch the World Cup match between Germany and Argentina in Gottscheer Hall. He, too, was attracted to the bar’s “authenticity,” something he thinks Williamsburg lost when it became gentrified. Questa plans on moving to Ridgewood soon because of cheaper rent and the charm of the neighborhood. He noted the irony of contributing to Ridgewood’s gentrification.

“I concede the fact that because there’s more young people taking an interest in it does make it more attractive to me,” said Questa, who identifies himself as a musical composer. “Unlike places like Maspeth where it’s all families living there.”

When Germany won the match, the bar erupted into cheers and German chants, with both the older Germans and the hipsters celebrating the moment. In the coming years, Belay and the other owners of the bar will have to juggle the necessity to make money with “preserving the German heritage,” as Belay put it. But he will also have to try not to make the bar “very fake,” like Questa said Williamsburg is.

“People come there to live in Williamsburg but it’s full of people just there to see and live in Williamsburg,” Questa said.

 

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Ridgewood, Glendale German ancestry revealed in World Cup


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Gottscheer Hall

Most bars will be broadcasting the World Cup game this weekend but to celebrate it in true Deutsch fashion, Ridgewood and Glendale maintain a healthy group of German bars that harken back to the German ancestry of the area.

Gottscheer Hall on Fairview Avenue will be open on Sunday, a day that they usually close on, for the game. Roland Belay, who is the secretary for the bar and grill, plans to meet the game between Germany and Argentina with a full force of potato pancakes with applesauce, goulash , bratwurst, German pretzels and a whole menu of German-Austrian food that is sehr gut.

“The whole purpose of this building is to maintain our heritage,” said Belay, whose parents left the once Austrian-owned Gottschee region. “It’s a very homey atmosphere and we keep all the traditions alive here.”

Other German bars in the area to watch the game include: Zum Stammtisch and Celtic Gasthau on Myrtle Avenue, and Manor Oktoberfest on Cooper Avenue.

“This is definitely the area for German fans to hang out,” Belay said. “But we won’t be mean to the other side.”

 

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Shoppers flock to new artisan flea market in Ridgewood


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

The arts are exploding in Ridgewood at a new monthly artisan flea market, bringing a unique flair to an industrial area.

“I did this to support local artists,” said Sarah Feldman, the market’s creator. “Art in Ridgewood can be underappreciated. I feel like there should be more of a connection to the arts around here.”

Roughly 50 vendors set up shop at Gottscheer Hall on Sunday, April 14 for almost 200 shoppers coming in and out of the ballroom. Local residents came to browse the selection, as did customers from well outside the borough.

“I’m a big flea market person,” said Sara Andrews, a shopper from Westchester County. “I would rather buy from individuals. I like oddities, and I would definitely come back to this.”

The atmosphere and getting the opportunity to meet different artists was also an experience Andrews valued about the Ridgewood Market.

“The thrill of meeting all of these people is an experience in itself,” she said.

The market offers everything from vintage goods, to pottery, to paintings, handmade jewelry and food. For some vendors, it was their first time showcasing their work to the public. For others, it was simply another day on the job.

Rudy’s Pastry Shop has been a part of Ridgewood for 79 years, but came out to join the community at the new market and also present some of its new, gluten-free, vegan items.

“We still have the same old recipes, but we also have new items for the new neighborhood,” said pastry chef Cristina Nastasi. “We wanted to support what’s going on in Ridgewood and be a part of it.”

Feldman first got the idea to bring the unique market to Ridgewood after selling her own vintage jewelry at other venues.

She noticed there were very few vendors offering homemade items, particularly for an affordable price. And so she created the Ridgewood Market, with $25 tables for vendors, and has attracted a variety of sellers.

First-time vendor Amelia Toelke brought her unique jewelry pieces to the market – first, she creates a design on her computer, then she converts the design onto a piece of acrylic, creating laser-cut necklaces.

“This is a hard thing to get into, it’s been a while trying to sell and get this stuff happening,” said Toelke. “But this seemed like a really great market, and I love the neighborhood.”

Toelke does larger-scale sculptures as well, and said her jewelry line, Piecemeal, reflects her work. While trying to get the line off the ground, she works part-time for a jeweler and as a technician at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

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The market’s opening was a successful one, and next month will consist of new artists with new pieces. Feldman said the variety will keep on coming – the vendor waitlist is growing by the minute.

“To see other artists here with such amazing work, it just blows my mind,” said Barbie Rodriguez, who makes handmade dolls, jewelry and purses. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

For more information on the market and next month’s date, visit www.ridgewoodmarket.com.

 

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