First of all, Ridgewood is not a ghetto. Please disregard the prior reviewer's assessment. There are plenty of places in NY where you can fear for your life when you walk out the door. Ridgewood is not one of them. If you are of the opinion that diversity is a negative when it comes to a neighborhood, than it isn't for you. As a matter of fact, neither Queens, nor NYC is for you, as one of our strengths is the array of diversity and the ability to live with each other (more or less).
Food: There are at least 6 supermarkets in Ridgewood, with a ton more in a 10 mile radius. Even a Trader Joe's if you drive or take the bus. Many supermarkets have extensive ethnic sections, so if you like to cook, chances are you can find bizarre ingredients right outside your door. (I happen to love this.) Take out and restaurants are definitely limited in this neighborhood, but is getting better. Chinese, Indian, Thai, Pizzerias on every corner, Mexican, Dominican, Columbian, and probably some more. Also, delis are everywhere if you need something and you don't want to go to the supermarket. We also boast some great butchers and bakeries.
Transportation: We have 2 major train lines, M and L. Both travel through Brooklyn before getting to Manhattan. Not the best trains, but about 40 min from downtown Manhattan. Many buses come through here, the major one, the Q58. This connects with many other buses/trains. If you need a cab, you can call one or get an illegal one. Parking is a nightmare, lots of people with lots of cars. Streets with businesses have muni-metered parking.
Housing: Most of Ridgewood is made up of 4 family railroad apartments, hence the high density of people and cars. There are various two family houses, and other permutations of living arrangements, but most of Ridgewood looks the same. Rents here are cheaper than in other places, since it takes a while to get to Manhattan, but if you have a car and are willing to play the parking game, it's very convenient.
People: Historically, the neighborhood was German and Italian. There are remnants of this in the vegetable stands and butcher shops. This has shifted to mostly Eastern European and Hispanic, depending on if you are in Ridgewood, Queens, or Ridgewood, Brooklyn. The Eastern Europeans have opened many shops and delis providing cheap comfort food to neighborhood working people. Queens and Brooklyn supports a large Hispanic population, so this is normal for most parts.
Shopping: Myrtle ave, as reported before, does have a large amount of dollar stores and discount shopping. Personally, I like shopping here, as there are a few beauty supply stores, Telco discount clothing store, a few name brand stores, like NY and Company, and some junior's stores, like Mandee, Joyce Leslie, and Rainbow. I like being able to run out in the day if I need to put together something quick to go out in. Dollar stores have their own peculiar following, but I like to get cleaning supplies and odds and ends there rather than the supermarket. Also, more thrift shops have opened in the past few years and I like that too.
Safety: I feel relatively safe here. Our apartment was broken into once when we weren't home, but that's the only problem we had here. I don't make a habit of wandering around by myself late at night, and keep the doors and windows locked. It's NYC, though, and these things happen. During the day, I feel safe here.
All in all, I've liked living here the last 10 years. It's NY. It's expensive, there's a lot of people, everything you do throughout the day is a PITA, but if you want to live here, you deal with it.
Its horrible area. Dirty, 1 dollar stores all over, strange mixture of mostly old and super weird younger people, varying from Arab, Polish, Latinos, Chinese. Smells all over, people are harsh and impolite. The M train stations are big stinky holes, and I hear only bad things about travelling on that train. The Myrtle-Wyckoff station of M/L train is a horrifying representation of the area, the feel when u put a foot on it is that if you don't get murdered today, it will be next time. Its not fun to live in Ridgewood and in actuality its extremely depressing, although not as depressing as Bronx, but almost there. I name it one of the many ghettos in NYC, pretty horrifying. There is NO entertainment, no nightlife. If 1 dollar stores is called shopping, Fresh Pond Road is the 5th avenue of the 1 dollar stores. Full of them. There are no attractions whatsoever, except nasty old looking trashy houses from whenever Queens was built. The only gem of Ridgewood is Force Fitness Club that creates something like a community feel. However its on the border Maspeth/Ridgewood so probably its not even relevant. The other shopping street is Myrtle Ave. I once walked on it and I am so done with the Ridgewood "shopping". In NYC, the general opinion is that people don't need to have cars since the public transport is allegedly so well organized. No, you so need a car in NYC especially if you live in one of the ghettos. My recommendations on Ridgewood? Turn around and run till you cant breathe, and then do it again and again. Then go online and find a place in Astoria or Forest Hills.
I have lived in New York, NY for about 2 years now. There are many things I really like about this area. There are also many things I do not like. One thing I like is how everything is located close by. You will not have to drive 20 miles to get to a shopping mall or Wal-Mart. Everything you could need is located within 5 miles. There are several places to shop and eat. There is also plenty of entertainment in this area. You will find yourself discovering new things every day. Historical buildings are also very popular in this area. There are plenty of historical sites to explore year around.
The neighborhood I live in is Ridgewood. There are many bad and good things about this neighborhood. One thing I rather like is the old historical houses. Most of the houses in this neighborhood have been there since it was first built. The houses have held up rather well too. Another thing I really enjoyed was how there is plenty of stuff in walking distance from this neighborhood. There is also the "M train" that runs through Ridgewood. This would be the train you get on to go anywhere you cannot walk. The streets are always crowded. All of the streets tend to be narrow two lane roads. On these roads there is a small spot for parking on each side. There is only one public school located in Ridgewood. They are currently trying to get it shut down due to the amount of crime surrounding it. The actual neighborhood has its ups and downs. The people who live there are all very nice. The only problem is the amount of gang related activities around this area. This neighborhood is not geared toward children. It is fine for you and your significant other, but I would not throw a child in the mix.
Overall, this neighborhood has its good and bad things about it. If you are looking for a decent neighborhood with quite a few attractions, this might be the one for you. Keep Ridgewood in mind when deciding on your next big move!