Cholesterol management and V8

Living longer and healthier may be important to you. Having routine check-ups with comprehensive blood tests may provide alerts to silently creeping illnesses. There are pills for almost everything. When you find cholesterol levels rising, you might want to consider adding V8 to your diet as a lifestyle addition. Like most lifestyle alternatives, V8 may be as annoying as routine exercising. Yet this vegetable juice beverage may have some covert positives that you may not be aware about.

Eating vegetables is good for you, ancient wisdom indicates. Adding a daily serving or two of V8 vegetable juice to your diet may help manage cholesterol and gradually contribute to wellness. V8 Vegetable Juice contains the juices of tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress and spinach. While the juice doesn’t necessarily brims with vitamins or fiber, there are phytonutrient traces, that (over time) may help contribute to overall wellness. V8 nay possibly help manage LDL cholesterol levels by around 10%.

Phytonutrients are plant nutrients, thought to help decrease the risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough. Salads provide insufficient amounts in many cases. Most people don’t really eat enough carrots and tomatoes to get the required flood of those nutrients.

Many are familiar with antioxidants being present in fruits and berries. Research indicates that coffee and tea contain catechins that are forms of antioxidant phytonutrients that are healthy. Tea isn’t just a comforting beverage, it also has remarkable healing properties—so much so that it’s deemed a sort of “wonder drink” by many for thousands of years.

Antioxidants are chemicals that block the activity of other chemicals known as free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and have the potential to cause damage to cells, including damage that may lead to cancer. Most research studies were with animals. Tests on humans have not demonstrated convincingly that taking antioxidant supplements can help reduce the risk of developing or dying from cancer. Eating foods rich in antioxidants may promote other healthy issues at maintaining cellular health.

According to George Mateljan, who maintains a comprehensive website on the world’s healthiest foods, V8 may not be his number one choice for getting those great phytonutrients. He believes that using whole foods provide the natural nutrients.

Indeed, V8 is a processed juice and is not organic. It is available in most supermarkets, especially since it is sold by Campbell Soup companies. There may be smaller traces of those phytonutrients but they are still present.

Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their oftentimes-rich concentration of lycopene. Lycopene is present in tomatoes and tomato sauces and juices. It is a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red color, and is considered one of the carotenoids. Research has garnered inconsistent results withy regard to eye health, something well touted for maintaining vision as you age. There is some evidence showing that higher lycopene blood levels is associated with a reduced risk of hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis that contributes to cardiovascular disease. Harder arteries allow plaque deposits from cholesterol and other lipids to form and obstruct blood flow.

V8 contains spinach. Health-supportive phytonutrients found in spinach are called Glycoclycerolipids that have shown anti-inflammatory properties in digestion. Spinach contains lutein, which helps protect arteries from clogging. Spinach is among the highest lutein food and there are many delicious ways to eat spinach (kale also is high, while broccoli and cauliflower have lesser amounts). One of the neat things about spinach is that some research cite evidence that foods that have Glycoclycerolipids also may behave as bile acid sequestrants. Bile acids often contain cholesterol lipids. Bile acid sequestrants bind bile acids in the intestine and increase the excretion of bile acids in the stool. The liver converts more cholesterol into bile acids, which lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Watercress is sort of like cabbage and may find its way into salads. It shares many properties with spinach but Gluconasturtin, a glucosinolate compound providing the peppery flavor, helps add a spicy taste to V8. Glucosinolates are natural components of many pungent plants such as mustard, cabbage and horseradish. This form of phytonutrient is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach. Like spinach, watercress has that bile acid sequestrant property to help reduce LDL cholesterol blood levels.

Parsley and lettuce are ingredients in V8. One cup of parsley contains 3.7 milligrams of iron. Cup for cup, it has one of the highest iron contents of all leafy greens. When was the last time you had a cup of parsley? Parsley and lettuce behave as bile acid sequestrants but to a lesser extent than spinach.

Some find that steaming or cooking spinach or other greens lose phytonutrient content. In some cases, it enhances it. Excessively eating raw spinach may have a side effect. Oxalic acid is found in greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, beet tops, lambs quarters and amaranth plus sorrel, parsley, purslane and rhubarb. It imparts a sharp taste to beet greens and chard that is felt in the throat. Oxalic acid generally increases as foods mature, producing increasingly bitter vegetables. Young, fresh vegetables such as baby spinach are less likely to have oxalic acid. Oxalic acid may form into insoluble salts such as calcium oxalates that when found in high quantities in body fluids, might crystallize and may cause health problems such as kidney stones. The processing of V8 juice minimizes formation of oxalates so you can feel better with all its green-leaf ingredients.

Carrots are rich in carotenoids and Vitamin A and this V8 ingredient offers considerable power. Inconsistent findings cite some evidence that carrot polyacetylenes as phytonutrients can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. Polyacetylenes isolated from carrots have been found to be potentially highly cytotoxic against numerous cancer cells. The massive amount of natural vitamin A from carotenoids offers high antioxidant properties.

Ever eat beets? Some products add beet juice as a natural coloring. A key ingredient of Borscht, an eastern European soup, one serving of beets contains 11% the daily recommended value (DV) of vitamin C, 37% DV of folate, 5% DV of vitamin B6, 13% DV of potassium, 22% Dv of manganese, 8% DV of magnesium, and 6% DV of iron. Beets have a high level of nitrate, which is known to effectively lower blood pressure levels. By lowering blood pressure, beets also may aid in cardiovascular health.

V8 offers several leafy vegetable ingredients per serving. They are the best natural sources for vitamin K. Vitamin K is perhaps best known for its role in the blood clotting process. For those using prescribed blood thinner medications, those vegetables are prohibited.Over a three-year period, 500 mcg of vitamin K—about the amount found in one serving of parsley was associated with slightly slower progression of hardening of the arteries of the heart.

Again V8 is processed and many of the phytonutrient components may be miniscule. There are also organic vegetable juices with similar ingredients that are less processed. As lifestyle choices, the many different types of V8 offer average, healthy individuals some helping of very vital phytonutrients that can help as a dietary means of keeping cholesterol levels at normal levels.

For those that have chronic or genetic cholesterol issues, virtually all the medications indicate “as part of a dietary and exercise routine” for maximum effect. Adding V8 (or those vegetables indicated in this article) may help you manage your cholesterol levels better.

For those watching sodium intake, Low Sodium V8 has 140 mg sodium per 8-ounce serving or contains 78% less sodium than regular V8 juice. Add your own spices for additional flavor. While debates occur about salt and blood pressure elevation, sodium is required for cellular maintenance. If you feel hypertension is a problem, go low sodium.

V8 was invented in 1933 and has been a Campbell Soup product since 1949. As a food juice, V8 has longevity. While V8 is no substitute for eating vegetable portions, it is a great choice for those that skip their veggies as they reach for a burger or pizza. It may be an acquired taste and definitely is not preferred over most soft drinks. V8 may offer some health benefits toward longer and healthier living, as part of your lifestyle. V8 is only one of many choices to consider. Ask your doctor or dietician about it.

DARPA Airlegs for military mobility

It is often debatable whether all is fair or unfair in love and war. When it comes to the latter, the costs of war often require technology developers like DARPA to help the military and those we love. DARPA was created nearly 60 years ago under President Eisenhower’s administration as a part of the USA Department of Defense. Many of the technologies you use today, from smartphones to GPS and voice-to-text capabilities probably came from ideas from DARPA.

Few might recall that many of the basic principles of the internet were founded by a government agency for sharing information. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA created the first computer-based web network to collect and share research from various centers under DARPA grants. One of their recent projects is Airlegs, that helps energize walking power for soldiers climbing extreme levels of terrain.

Many of the prosthetics and walking devices used by those with muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis, that are generally available today, may have been results of earlier DARPA research.

Ankle Foot Orthoses or AFO that are dynamic braces that assist those with weak ankle muscles may have originally been designed for use by veterans. Today, these are mechanical devices that help make walking easier for those that normally can’t. Without the use of AFO devices, many would only be using wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Those patients and health care professionals who are aware of AFO technologies may help some patients with ankle and lower leg muscular problems choose the option of walking at close-to-normal levels.

Of course DARPA primary focuses are catering to military excellence in the field and those that are casualties of war. Engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan have motivated the need to revolutionize upper-limb prosthetics for use by wounded veterans. The program, launched in 2006, has been designed to allow those with upper-leg and upper-arm problems to enjoy nearly normal mobilities and lives.

Mechanical lower extremity prosthetics have been available since World War II as shown in the movie Best Years of Our Lives. A Navy soldier was one of the actors and demonstrated his adroit capabilities with mechanical hands. Of course, those were bulky and heavy and required quite a bit of strength to wear. The dilemma with upper-limb prosthetics is facilitating weight balance and lower extremity control with a lightweight product.

The DEKA-3 is a result of DARPA development. This and other next step technologies are being commercially produced for use by patients in need.

DARPA pushes the leading edged of the sciences and often are society’s first encounter with the legal or ethical dilemmas that can be raised by new biological and engineering technologies. When considering these, the Department of Defense does need to integrate the necessities of USA interests along military usefulness.

Airlegs uses an exoskeletal backpack that generate air impulses that help normal soldiers walk faster, and better in rough conditions. As superheroes go, Harvard University (under a DARPA grant) developed an Exosuit that conforms to the body, allowing for natural joint movement while augmenting effectiveness in combat. Both these technologies may one day be beneficial to those suffering with incurable muscular-skeletal problems.

Somewhat lower in scale to Airlegs, there are numerous commercial devices available for neuromuscular disorders that use air to enhance mobility. People with foot injuries may benefit from AirCast that is a post-surgical cast that can be customized with air pockets for comfort and greater walk ability.

The WalkAide system uses electro-stimulation of nerves to help patients with nerve diseases like multiple sclerosis walk more naturally. It’s a fair and less cumbersome device to most AFO braces but does not influence those with muscular exclusive diseases.

Electrical stimulation therapy has been co-sponsored by Christopher Reeve and DARPA funding to help treat paralyzed patients as an aid for possible recovery or some mobility.

DARPA is not exclusive in setting these trickle-down technologies from military to public use. The National University of Singapore has been studying robotics as an aid to improve gait and walking abilities of patients under care of physiotherapists.

While many of these independent research projects and DARPA projects offer exciting reads, some succeed and some fail.

DARPA is intended primarily for defense technologies and the resulting products are intended for use by skilled soldiers. Some products derived from DARPA research grants do manage to trickle down for use by medical professionals and the general public. The internet was one of those DARPA projects! The efficacy of applying some of those technologies on wider samples may be difficult, while many promising projects fail in production.

Some limitations may stem from health insurance coverage restrictions or professionals with no education of newer methods at handling certain problems. It becomes more economic than practical.

Physiatrists, Orthotists and Prosthetists often work jointly in accessing and finding ways to help mobilize immobile medical patients. Some of the hardware come from archival DARPA studies. Because conditions vary from one patient to another, experimentation and therapy are necessary for adaptation to different individuals. “The evolution of orthosis and prosthetics is very promising,” says David Zwicker, a New York specialist. He adds, “Customizing these for each patients use is a must for performance.” As advanced as these appliances are, they aren’t always 100% perfect. Benefits and consequences partner in each design.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are wounded soldiers and athletes using DARPA-sponsored prosthetics that are so exceptional that they manage to compete in Paralympic games. The Paralympic Games are organized in parallel with the Olympic Games, while the IOC-recognized Special Olympics World Games include athletes with physical, sensory, and intellectual disabilities.

Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) of these is Oscar Pistorius. Although both of Pistorius’ legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, he has competed in events for single below-knee amputees and for able-bodied athletes. He competed in the 2012 Olympics. At his unfortunate criminal trial in 2013, he discussed how prosthesis evolved at such great levels that he was able to compete and win many Paralympic awards.

Zwicker concedes, “These are more exceptions than the average patients.” As a Myotonic dystrophy patient, using the Toe-Off AFO braces Zwicker recommended, my dynamic brace is indispensable as a walking tool. Sometimes they are like a balancing act and they stretch walking shoes beyond limits. Nonetheless, these braces allow a smooth (if slow) walk for someone with my degree of uncurable muscular ailment. The basic mechanics of the dynamic orthosis may have been introduced in earlier DARPA-funded experiments for wounded veterans.

More people resort to more orthodox, less challenging methods like wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. I notice very few that recommended or prescribe dynamic braces. Thankfully, more children with neuromuscular development diseases find new technological tools that help them through their lives. Some have been adopted from DARPA products targeted for military use. Unfortunately, at this point, they are exceptions. They are the few fortunate ones.

Mobility devices make up only a small portion of DARPA sponsored research. Most go to weaponry, targeting, and reconnaissance. People are fortunate to inherit the by-products of some of these as available apps in smartphones and tablets.

According to the US Department of Labor, training and employment of Orthotists and Prosthetists is projected to grow 36 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. The large, aging baby-boom population will create a need for orthotists and Prosthetists, since both diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are the two leading causes of limb loss, are more common among older people. In addition, new methods are likely to challenge this growing field as more people suffer from incurable immobilizing diseases.

When you see what may seem as inordinate government spending toward the military, realize that some of that money fuels DARPA research. You inherit some of the DARPA outcomes indirectly. Any transaction requires weighing benefits and consequences, DARPA funding sponsors at-the-edge research at many universities and labs that work toward advances of all kinds. There may be consequences. Yet, the next time you use GPS, the Internet, or a form of prosthesis, remember benefits often outweigh the consequences that may result through personal needs and interactive abuse.

Perhaps nothing is fair in war but being triumphant may be a necessary good or evil. Reaping other benefits from war-based research may indirectly help many. DARPA helps balance the scale.

Jane Fonda and lifestyle choices pay off

Jane Fonda looked youthful and slim as she (along with Lily Tomlin) presented the best actor award at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards. It’s even more amazing that Fonda is an age of 77 years. It seems clear, in this case, when you consider aging and loss of lean muscles (as a state of normal) Jane Fonda and lifestyle choices have been very good investments with high pay offs.

The two-time Academy Award actress is an accomplished actor, political activist, and a fitness guru. She also had a brief stint as a fashion model. 30 years ago, at the pre-menopausal age of 47, Jane Fonda released the first of her workout videos. She continues to make them. When you consider all factors of creative and physical activity, Jane Fonda and lifestyle choices seem to have done well.

While genetics does play significant roles, fitness is associated as a lifestyle as opposed to brief focus periods. Voiced and written extensively, fitness lifestyles do pay off for nearly everyone.

The key problem is reaching your personal, enduring fitness lifestyle and integrating it into all the other things you do. It’s like a religion and there are some personal sacrifices.

Brief diets may promise loss of inches or pounds within weeks but many drop off and gain their original weight back (and then some more). Going from healthy unfit to healthfully fit is often an exception to all societal rules. It requires an obsessive focus that few people can muster.

Part of fitness lifestyles is weight loss. There are extensive libraries of ways to achieve weight loss. At, you will find a list of 23 popular diets and reviews. Several of these are difficult to follow.

People ask me how I manage to keep slim with my mobility problems. I indicate that it takes perseverance and exercise. I make it a point to walk each day despite difficulties and balance issues. Exercise or any movements of (at least) 20 minutes continuous can reap benefits to muscles all over your body. Exceeding 20 minutes reap more benefits but only if you can keep up a routine. Some research shows multiple short exercise periods per day may be as beneficial as a long period. But can you maintain that routine.

Gyms and recreational areas fill up for those four to six weeks of fitness related New Year resolutions but then drop to normal. Those stationary bicycles and treadmills you bought lie dormant until another year flies by.

Changing to fitness lifestyles is a slow and sometimes painful process. Weight loss and strength often are very slow. It can take about two years to shed 10 pounds or exercise up a couple levels. After years of bad behavioral habits, your body craves fatty and carbohydrate filled foods. It craves rest over movement. Starting a fitness lifestyle often means battling what your inner body needs for balance. Results are achieved when you win in the long term. Your body gets accustomed to the new lifestyle. To proceed further, you need to apply more pressure.

Your cells require fats as they are made of lipids. Certain neurons in your brain crave sugar and fats and form addictions. Withdrawals are akin to a heroin user trying to abstain.

It’s fairly easy to understand why obesity and weakness continue to expand in percentages as people become more sedentary. There’s no pain and you only gain pounds and inches. Fitness lifestyles are painful and there may be some masochism to reach that fitness-based high. I concede that fitness lifestyles begin as akin to punishments. In the long road ahead, though, it may pay off with greater happiness as you age.

So, when you see a beautiful person at any age over 50, chances are that genes and fitness have been assistive team players. At 77, Jane Fonda and lifestyle choices make many people cry with envy. Why cry? Eat wiser and then go for a walk. Do it each day. It helps if you can do this every day. Great pay offs don’t come quickly but you’ll eventually feel better.

Getting and being fit is easier when you watch and follow with these available video instructions. There are no sure things that you’ll appear as fit as Jane Fonda at age 77. When you consider Jane Fonda and lifestyle choices, your appearance, strength, energy, and attitudes may be much better as you age. The pay offs will be visible.

Or you might find an apartment in Bay Ridge

There are many great cities. New York City is arguably the most majestic. For many, New York City is Manhattan, one of the 5 boroughs that are part of Greater New York City. Living, commerce, business, and tall buildings epitomized Manhattan since the 1800’s and it continues to grow and attract more excitement and variety. Manhattan is all about attitude, competition, work, and play. Manhattan rocks with your lifestyle choices. There aren’t many playgrounds that offer perpetual fun as Manhattan if you use it and can afford it. If most of your salaries go to overhead expenses – rent, gas, phone, internet, dating – is Manhattan living worth it? That’s why many young new urbanites are reaching to Brooklyn and Queens.

With many gross salaries teetering at less than $50,000 gross per year, access to the fun often takes compromise. Small studios may rent for $2,000 to $4500 per month, eating most of many people’s net salary. So many young people sought out the less central neighborhoods of Manhattan or the perimeter neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens. Those neighborhoods also began to demand higher rents. There are really no more affordable bargains in Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Williamsburg, Long Island City, and Sunnyside. With a growing drought of affordable, larger and convenient apartments, many real-estate agents advise searchers, “…Or you might find an apartment in Bay Ridge.”

Often it may be a hard sell but more people are reluctantly targeting areas further in the boroughs and Bay Ridge is one of them.

Brooklyn neighborhoods are vast and complex. In the 17th century, Brooklyn was originally made up of six separate towns, five of them Dutch, which then united into the borough of Kings. Brooklyn was one of those towns. In the late 19th century all those towns were united as Brooklyn. Each of those towns had to find their own water supplies. Many were using ground water supplies that, with expanding populations, were growing smaller and polluted. In 1898 Brooklyn, along with Queens, after much debate, was removed from Long Island and made part of Greater New York.

One problem in planning Greater New York was the need for a larger water supply, when New York consisted of Manhattan, Bronx, and Staten Island. Planners sought water from upstate and tunnels were constructed to bring that water to the city. Water tunnel number one was completed in 1843 but was too small for the growing population. Water tunnel 2 construction began in 1880 and, as a separate city, Brooklyn was not part of New York’s plan. After unification, the pipeline was extended to Brooklyn and Queens for completion by about 1935. At this time, Brooklyn now shares water quality with Manhattan.

Passage to Brooklyn was by ferry and, by late 19th century, bridges. Near Brooklyn, just north, was the town of Bostwick. When the City of Brooklyn annexed the village of Williamsburgh and the Town of Bushwick, this area was then known as the eastern district of the City of Brooklyn and Williamsburgh lost its final “h”, in 1827. In 1834, Town of Brooklyn (including Village of Brooklyn) becomes City of Brooklyn. Kings County now includes 1 city (Brooklyn) and 5 towns (Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend and New Utrecht). New Utrecht is where Bay Ridge originated from what was earlier called Yellow Hook.

Because of independent urban planning, a united Brooklyn proved certain not so subtle navigation problems. The streets in Brooklyn do not line up because each of the 2 cities and 6 towns in Kings County were independent municipalities and created street grids with different naming systems that did not line up with the adjoining city or town.

The city of Brooklyn experienced a lot of development in the 19th century. There were many factories opening. Prospect Park (1859), Greenwood Cemetery, elevated railroads from Long Island Railroad and the Robert Culver line connected to deeper areas of these different towns, including the Coney Islands (yes, there were two). Construction of the Brooklyn (1870) and Williamsburg (1896) were built and permitted people to walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Many homes were built for more spacious surroundings than the slums of Manhattan’s immigrants.

As a city, Brooklyn consisted of many neighborhoods. Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights, Park Slope, Red Hook, South Park Slope, Sunset Industrial Park, and Windsor Terrace. These neighborhoods enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the 1970’s as apartment seekers found values in the decaying 19th century houses of these areas. Over the next 30 years, these Brooklyn neighborhoods, many offering skyline views, flourished with property restorations and higher rents and sales.

Commuting was merely within minutes from Manhattan, allowing easy work and recreational access to and from Manhattan. These neighborhoods were perceived as extensions of the Manhattan lifestyle as they were very nearby. Some merely a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

As these areas grew more in demand, real-estate agents started advising their clients, “Or you might find an apartment in Bay Ridge.” For many, this undiscovered zone seems more of an insult than a commendation. Why does Bay Ridge illicit such reactions?

The drawbacks for those finding Bay Ridge are that commuting is farther from the city. Bay Ridge has a more suburban family than active city feel. Bay Ridge was not associated with the city of Brooklyn before borough unification. It was part of the township of New Utrecht and the area that encompasses the the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. The rest of the town’s lands are today the neighborhoods of Borough Park, Dyker Heights, and Bay Ridge. By subway, the commute is over 30 minutes. Though parts of Bay Ridge overlook the New York Harbor, the Atlantic ocean, and the grand Verrazano Bridge, there’s no Manhattan skyline. The view is Staten Island.

Bay Ridge officially stretches from 65th St to 101st St, and from 7th Ave west to Shore Rd. It’s a welcome change from the mind-numbing traffic of Manhattan and an easy day trip for travelers. From Manhattan take the N or D train downtown to 36th St in Brooklyn. Take the R train across the platform to 86th St and 4th Ave. It is still viewed by many as suburbia.

While Williamsburg and Bushwick grow increasingly expensive with the arrival of twenty-somethings eager to be next to Manhattan, Bay Ridge’s seven-mile commute is just too far from the city to be considered attractive. But you get more apartment living space for fewer dollars, So you might ask yourself whether the extra 20 minutes travel is worth a nice-size 1 bedroom apartment instead of a cramped studio or room-mate situation. Many see Bay Ridge just a little too far from Manhattan

The 4th Avenue R subway is the only nearby subway. The local route requires about 14 stops to reach 86th Street, the main shopping boulevard of Bay Ridge. That is nearly double of the F route to Park Slope. Switching to the N express train at select R stops can reduce commuting time.

A valuable asset and major benefit, is the X27 express bus route that runs mostly on Shore Road and travels from 100 Street in Bay Ridge (near the Verrazano) to 57th Street in Manhattan. Fortunately, many apartment buildings are near Shore Road, allowing for costlier but very comfortable commuting 7-days per week for easy Manhattan access. The entire route (barring traffic) is about an hour from Bay Ridge to 57th Street and Madison Avenue. During rush hours, the X37 delivers more rapid access to midtown stops from 23rd Street to 57th Street.

Like most Brooklyn neighborhoods, parking a car requires strategy. Because Bay Ridge has many private houses, more street parking is available than Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights. A rarity for Brooklyn, there are public garages near 4th and 5th avenues. Many apartment buildings have garages for residents but there are waiting lists.

Bay Ridge also has a few local bus routes that make the area attractive for those choosing not to have a car. The B16 connects to various subway and bus routes as it routes to Prospect Park’s botanical gardens. B37 runs along 3rd Avenue, the shopping and restaurant district, to the Brooklyn Atlantic Terminal mall and Barclays center. Other buses take you on 86th Street and on 5th avenues. 86th Street is the areas main shopping strip, with stores like Century 21, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Modell’s, and many more. There’s even a New York Sports Club (one of four major fitness centers in the Bay Ridge area).

Despite all this, the area maintains a quiet, safe suburban charm of when Brooklyn was not part of New York City. That’s what many long-time Bay Ridge residents find attractive. It also makes Bay Ridge a harder pill to swallow for former suburbanites seeking the big-city environment.

Instead of masses, trickles of people do discover Bay Ridge residential opportunities and other qualities. That may be a good thing for Bay Ridge residents but not such a good thing for realtors. Houses run higher in value but apartment sales remain generally stable, except for larger spaces. The area hasn’t yet found the urban settlers yet but as more down5town realtors advise, “Or you might find an apartment in Bay Ridge,” the area is encountering a younger and more diverse crowd.

Bay Ridge is an active traditional community. Predominantly Christian with Norwegian, Polish, Italian, and Irish backgrounds, Bay Ridge is a neighborhood in the southwest corner of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, bound by 65th Street on the north, Interstate 278 on the east, and the Belt Parkway-Shore Road on the west. The portion below 86th Street is a subsection called Fort Hamilton. An active army base, Fort Hamilton is among the oldest bases and recognized landmark. A small area east of I-278, bounded by 7th Avenue, is also part of Bay Ridge. Access to local streets and highways offer conveniences to drivers.

Bay Ridge is relatively quiet, with little traffic noise from Shore Road to 4th Avenue. After sunset, it is nearly silent.

Is it safe? Bay Ridge is patrolled by the NYPD’s 68th Precinct. From 2013 to 2014, there is significantly less crime and lesser crime than most Brooklyn neighborhoods. The 68th Precinct Community council meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 P.M. and provides the community with the opportunity to meet local officials and raise their concerns. A youth council sets up team play in neighborhood parks. Bay Ridge is served by Engine 241, Engine 242, and Ladder 109 of the New York City Fire Department, located at 92nd Street and 5th Avenue.

Once called “Little Palestine” because of an Arab population in the 65 to 70th Street area, Bay Ridge offers numerous family-owned restaurants, shops and markets. Bay Ridge boasts many New York City parks and bay views. Perhaps Bay Ridge’s family-based influences tend not to attract many young singles to the area but more singles and young-marrieds are discovering Bay Ridge than before as they ride the bicycle path along Shore Road Park.

Bay Ridge is mostly a neighborhood of stately, private houses. As a prominent family neighborhood, private home prices are high.

Apartment buildings are mostly on or near Shore Road. They offer affordable rentals and sales prices. One bedroom apartments might average around $2,000 per month, facing the Shore Road Park. It’s quite attractive when compared with the more popular parts of Brooklyn. Many buildings have elevators. There are pre-war and more recent buildings. Most are 6 floors. No towers here.

Shore Road Park was once the natural edge and the ridge that contributed to changing the area’s name from Yellow Hook to Bay Ridge in the mid-1800’s. In 1930, the ridge became a New York City park, extending from 68th Street to 100 Street. The conversion was designed by Robert Moses, who created the Belt Parkway through the park. The compromise was using landfill to widen the park and building footbridges over the parkway to a bay-shore path, a greenway for walkers, bikers and more. Though larger than the Brooklyn Heights promenade, there’s no Manhattan skyline. The bay is stunning, especially at sunsets. The park also has an active, privately-sponsored conservancy that helps maintain and enhance its natural beauty.

There are several other parks to note. Owl’s Head Park, near 68th, and John Paul Jones, at 101, nearly beneath the bridge. From Owl’s Head Park to Jones Park, and Shore Road Park in between, there are over 2 miles of uninterrupted park lands for recreation, meandering, views, and solace. There is a bike path promenade that stretches even farther.

Shore Road resembles Manhattan’s upper west side Riverside Park but, instead of stately pre-war high-rise buildings, most of the apartment buildings are 6 or 7 floors. Some even have a doorman or concierge – a rare resource in Brooklyn. Many of the larger apartments offer comfortable terraces.

Age wise, over half of the neighborhood is over age 50. There are families that have been there for several generations. Unlike Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens once was, the neighborhood is not in disrepair. It is strong and solid. As of 2010, the median age is about 36 of 170,000 residents. Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights have smaller populations and area sizes but, ironically, the median age is about the same. The only area that is significantly lower I median age is Williamsburg at 29.11.

Bay Ridge has a very strong argument. Many apartment rentals are available for less than $2,000. You don’t have to squeeze into a studio at that price. Some have 2 bedrooms at those price points. There’s hardly another decent area around the city that offers the features of Bay Ridge. While it’s not closest to the high-class thrills of being in Manhattan, you get more living space, more money saved, and a (somewhat) happening neighborhood with parks, restaurants, and shopping conveniences. It’s a good, safe neighborhood that might be a little less pretentious than others. It could be a good place to live. The savings allow you to have more fun when you do go to Manhattan.

Bay Ridge may be more distant from Manhattan and may not have as many people in their 20’s. As apartments go, you might be wise to try and find an affordable apartment in Bay Ridge. It’s like pioneering but, in a safe neighborhood, you might find to be a suitable fit for (at least) many of your lifestyle needs.

There maybe nothing as exciting as Manhattan or the Brooklyn Heights area. If your realtor advises, “Or you might find an apartment in Bay Ridge.” it isn’t a brush-off. Considering Bay Ridge might be a nice idea. Is Bay Ridge perfect for you? It may be an idea worth exploring.