The "Lord of Bay Ridge Manor" Is No Longer "The Mayor of Bay Ridge"

Nearly a month later than normal, this Department begins its review of NYC’s November election results with a look at Bay Ridge.

Caveat at the outset. The review is here is based on what is on the web, which is Assembly District by Assembly District votes in each race. This is an imperfect form of analysis, and better and more thorough conclusions could be drawn from and Election District by Election District review of each race. But, I suspect you are not going to get that anywhere on the web, so this will have to do.

Even back in the day he was an enrolled Democrat and a mere civic leader, Marty Golden, former cop who owned a popular catering hall called “Bay Ridge Manor,” was a Bay Ridge legend and a force to be reckoned with in his neighborhood. Though there were surely other contenders, one could have accurately called him “The Mayor of Bay Ridge.

As a Republican, Golden beat strong opposition twice in races for a City Council seat held by Democrats before and since, and though it took both treachery and a grotesque reapportionment to elect him to the State Senate, the fact remained that his strength in Bay Ridge, even among voters who were normally Democrats (and sometimes even liberal Democrats) was an important part of his strength.

This was so true that a myth sprung up about what I call “The Golden Effect,” which posited that Golden had magical powers to bestow votes upon other Republicans; a myth that I think I’ve disproven pretty conclusively.

Yes, Bay Ridge was once the City’s most reliably Republican turf, and many of its Democrats,  including Golden, were really DINOs. Moreover, even the liberal Democrats in the Bay Ridge political establishment, people like Chuck Otey and Harriet Rosenberg, were usually more loyal to what I call the Bay Ridge Party, than they were to any political ideology.  

However, in the 1980’s with the unexpected election victories of Lou Freda, Joe Montalto and Sal Albanese, things started to change. A ghastly Assembly reapportionment, which has become somewhat less egregious in the last two redistrictings, but still raises hackles contributed somewhat to the area’s diminished Republican strength, though not as much as the local GOP would have you believe. Currently, most of the area has GOP State Senator (Golden) some of it has a GOP Assemblymember (Nicole Malliotakis), most of whose District lies in Staten Island, and a tiny bit (mostly the army base) is in the Council District of Staten Island’s Jimmy Oddo. 

But the truth is that Bay Ridge is changing.

Bay Ridge is becoming more Asian, especially its northern end. Its northern end is also becoming somewhat more Latino. Bay Ridge is also becoming more Arabic, and its Arabs, formerly as likely to vote Republican as Democratic, have now moved strongly towards the Democrats.

Most importantly, Bay Ridge is becoming more yuppified, and as part of that phenomenon, it is becoming more LGTB friendly.

As a result of these new voters, Bay Ridge is no longer even close to being the most Republican part of Brooklyn anymore. Rather, it is probably the most Democratic area of white Brooklyn outside of the Brownstone belt.

Further, the sort of old line Bay Ridge Democrat who would cross party lines to vote for Marty Golden are being replaced by new voters who find cheesy Golden tactics like taxpayers subsidized posture lessons for the ladylike to be offensive rather than endearing.

How Democratic has Bay Ridge become?

A map published in The Times indicates almost all of Bay Ridge (Brooklyn’s southwest corner) was carried by President Obama.

In the only AD result entirely within Bay Ridge (the Brooklyn portion of the 64th), President Obama beat Mitt Romney 5724 (61.89%) to 3351 (36.23%) with 173 votes going to others.

In the 11th District Congressional race, the district contained two constituencies entirely within Bay Ridge, the 51st and the Brooklyn portion of the 64th. Democrat Mark Murphy won the 51st with 354 (66.79%) to Michael Grimm’s 166 (31.32%), with 10 votes going to others. In the Brooklyn portion of the 64th AD, Murphy took 4772 (57.74%) to Grimm’s 333 (40.33%), with 160 going to others. 

So, in the two constituencies in the 11th CD entirely within Bay Ridge, Murphy beat Grimm 5126 (58,28%)  to 3499 (39.78%) with 170 votes going to others.

If we add in the 11th’s portion of the 46th AD, which includes the majority of Bay Ridge, but also includes a large portions of neighboring Dyker Heights (also considered part of Golden’s traditional base) as well as smaller parts of  Greater Bensonhurst and Beach Haven, and the 49th AD, which includes a small piece of Bay Ridge, most of the rest of Dyker Heights and a smaller portion of Bensonhurst, then the votes in the parts of the district including all of Bay Ridge and most of Dyker Heights was Murphy 15,952 (53.88%) and Grimm 13,228 (44.64%), with 452 going to others.   

I should note that this 2,724 vote margin accounts for almost the entirety of Murphy’s 2,882 vote victory margin in Brooklyn. 

In the one Assembly result entirely within Bay Ridge, John Mancuso beat Nicole Malliotakis 4395 (52.91%) to 3905 (47.01%), with 7 votes going to others (she more than made up for this on the Rock).

In the 23rd Senate District, which contains those parts of Bay Ridge Marty Golden conceded were too Democratic for his taste, Democrat (for these purposes) Diane Savino  beat her Republican opponent, Lisa Grey, 540 (73.77%) to 192 (26.23%)  in the two ADs (49 and the Brooklyn part of 64) whose portions in the district were located entirely in the Ridge. If we add in the district’s piece of the 51st, most of the population of which is Bay Ridge, but which also includes a piece of Sunset Park) then Savino’s margin is 1560 (75.95%) to 481 (23.42.%) with two votes going to others.   

Finally we come to Golden’s 22nd SD.

In the 22nd Senate District race, the district contained two constituencies entirely within Bay Ridge, the district’s portions of the 51st and the 64th.

Democrat Andrew Gounardes won the 51st with 1000 (58.93%) to Golden’s 696 (41.01%), with one vote going to others.

In the 64th AD, Gounardes took 4339 (51.77%) to Golden’s 4037 (48.16%), with 6 votes going to others. This is a result barely better than that of Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Islander who, unlike Golden, did not spend most of her adult life as “The Mayor of Bay Ridge.”

So, in the two constituencies in the 22nd SD entirely within Bay Ridge, Gounardes beat Marty Golden 5339 (52.92%) to 4733 (46.96%) with 7 votes going to others.

If we add in the 22nd’s portion of the 46th AD, which includes the majority of Bay Ridge, but also includes a large portions of neighboring Dyker Heights, as well as smaller piece of  Greater Bensonhurst, and the 49th, which includes a small piece of Bay Ridge, most of the rest of Dyker Heights and a large piece of Greater Bensonhurst, then the votes in the parts of the district including all of Bay Ridge and most of Dyker Heights was Gounardes 18,235 (48.36%) and Golden 19,456  (51.59%), with 19 votes going to others.

To put things in perspective, if one subtracts the likely more Friendly turf (for Golden) encompassed in the 46th and 49th, the likely result is that the one-time Mayor of Bay Ridge either lost his home turf or ran a dead heat there.

Now some of this comes from the fact he ran against a Greek candidate who probably did better than most Democrats in the normally Republican Bay Ridge Greek community. But that is surely not the most important factor, as is shown in the other races.

Outside the ADs entirely within Bay Ridge, Golden won the race 33,851 (59.60%) to 22,904 (40.32%) with 44 votes going to others. Outside the areas containing any pieces of Bay Ridge, Golden won 19,128 (65.58%) to 10,008 (34.31%) with 32 votes going to others.

 In other words, Marty Golden remains State Senator mostly through courtesy of his strength in places like Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park and Sephardic Gravesend; places nowhere near his supposed home base. Not only is the magical “Golden Effect” a myth as to other Republicans, it is a myth as to Golden himself.

If I was mean I’d say that the people who know Marty Golden the best like him the least, but it would be more accurate to say that the people who know Golden the best are a rapidly diminishing commodity in Bay Ridge.