The signs are right (finally!) in Bay Ridge

The Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about writing a wrong!

One day after The Brooklyn Paper started making calls about a misspelled street sign on Dahlgren Place in Bay Ridge, the city fixed the sign and promptly ended a year-long snub against the so-called father of American naval ordnance.

“‘Dahlgreen’ is a nice name, but it’s not the correct one,” said neighborhood historian Peter Syrdahl, who pointed out that the four-block-long street, which lines the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway from Fort Hill Place to 86th Street, was named in honor of Rear Admiral John Dahlgren.

Don’t know Dahlgren? Here’s a primer: a Civil War naval officer (for the Union side, silly), Dahlgren designed a variety of guns and armaments for Lincoln’s prized ships.

No, he never lived in Brooklyn (he was born in Philly and died near Washington, D.C.), but an innovative gun of his design was installed on a ship called the U.S.S. Brooklyn.

“[His] contribution to military ordnance and American history should not be misspelled on the street bearing his name,” said Syrdahl, who co-authored “Bay Ridge,” an essential history of the neighborhood once known as Yellow Hook (but that’s a whole ’nother story!).

The Department of Transportation apparently agrees. Yes, the city put up the sign — plus the extra “e” — at the corner of 86th Street in January, 2008, at the request of Bay Ridge’s Community Board 10, according to District Manager Josephine Beckmann. But when the mistake was pointed out, city workers rewrote history faster than you can say, “Is that a Dahlgren howitzer or are you just happy to see me?”

Some Ridgites were pleased with the attentiveness, but others didn’t care — after all, they’d been calling the street “Dahlgreen Place” all along.

A Bay Ridge mail carrier, who gave her name as Joan, told a Brooklyn Paper reporter that she didn’t even know the proper name for the street until she started working for the post office.

“I always thought it was ‘Dalgreen,’” said the mail carrier, who continued to deliver the mail through rain, sleet and misspellings.

— with Kate Emerson

Updated 5:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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