3. The neighborhood’s name has multiple potential origins

Tonsor Street in Ridgewood, one of the neighborhood's residential areas.
Tonsor Street in Ridgewood, one of the neighborhood’s residential areas.

Over the years, multiple possibilities for the origins of the neighborhood’s name have arisen. One of the most popular theories asserts that the name was derived from the nearby Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park, which received its water from a chain of lakes and creeks near the towns of Hempstead and Jamaica. Originally, an old South Side Railroad station named Ridgewood sat on the eastern extremity of this chain, but eventually, it gave up its bid for possession over the Ridgewood name in 1891, with the local residents petitioning for the postal office to be changed to Wantagh. Others speculate that Ridgewood’s name comes from the character of the territory, which was originally thickly wooded. In early English records, the area was often referred to as “the Ridge” given its location as the backbone of Long Island. In addition, the name could also have come from Ridge Road, which in early deeds was used to designate Wyckoff Avenue. 

Ridgewood’s name would first be applied by the Kings County government in reference to the area within Brooklyn along the Kings and Queens County border. During the early 20th century, the area came to be known by different names such as Germania Heights, St. James Park, Ridgewood Heights, and Wyckoff Heights, but only Ridgewood remained popular past the 1910s.