Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

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Coordinates: 40°36′12″N 74°0′7″W / 40.60333°N 74.00194°W / 40.60333; -74.00194

86th Street

Bensonhurst is a large, multiethnic neighborhood in the southwestern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, in the United States. As defined by the New York City Planning Commission, the neighborhood's borders are 14th Avenue and Dyker Heights to the west, 60th Street Borough Park to the north, McDonald Avenue and Avenue N Midwood to the east and northeast, Stillwell Avenue and 86th Street southeast Gravesend, and 86th Street and 16th Avenue Bath Beach on the south and southwest.[1]

It was well known as a Little Italy of Brooklyn due to its once large Italian-American population.[2]

Bensonhurst has the largest population of residents born in China of any neighborhood in New York City and is now home to Brooklyn's second Chinatown.[3] The neighborhood accounts for 9.5% of the 330,000 Chinese-born residents of the city, based on data from 2007–2011.[4]

Etymology[edit]

Bensonhurst derives its name from Arthur W. Benson, the former president of Brooklyn Gas, who in 1835 began buying farmland that formerly belonged to the Polhemus family. Between 1835 and 1850 Benson divided the farmland into generous lots that were sold in the following decades as part of the newly created suburb of Bensonhurst by the Sea (current day Bath Beach section),[5] which was annexed into the 30th Ward of Brooklyn in the 1890s.

Demographics[edit]

Bensonhurst has a population of over 151,000 inhabitants as of the 2010 United States Census.[6]

Early 1900s[edit]

In the early 20th century, many Italians and Jews moved into the neighborhood, and prior to World War II the neighborhood was about equally Jewish and Italian.[7] In the 1950s, under pressure of an influx of immigrants from southern Italy and with new housing being built in the suburbs, the Jewish population began to decline and eventually, after several decades, most of the Jewish population left the neighborhood, leaving the area predominantly Italian.

With a large Italian-American population, Bensonhurst is usually considered the main "Little Italy" of Brooklyn.[8] The Italian-speaking community remains over 20,000 strong, according to the census of 2000. But, the Italian-speaking community is becoming "increasingly elderly and isolated, with the small, tight-knit enclave in the city slowly disappearing as they give way to demographic changes." [9] Its main thoroughfare, 18th Avenue (also known as Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard) between roughly 60th Street and Shore Parkway, is lined with predominantly small, Italian family-owned businesses—many of which have remained in the same family for several generations. 86th Street is another popular local thoroughfare, lined by the arches of the BMT West End Line.

1990s–present[edit]

Around 1989, an influx of immigrants from China and the former USSR began to arrive, mainly from Southern China, Russia, Ukraine and Armenia. In the 1990s Bensonhurst rapidly grew in cultural diversity. Bensonhurst is home to many ethnic Albanian, Turkish, Uzbek, Arab, Iranians, Palestinian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Pakistani, Mexican, Guatemalan, Ecuadorian, and Puerto Rican Americans. In 2000, the New York City Department of City Planning determined that just over half of the residents were born in another country.[7] By 2013, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city's foreign-born population had reached a record high, and that Bensonhurst had the city's second-highest number of foreign-born people with 77,700 foreign born immigrants in the neighborhood, just after Washington Heights.[10]

Current enclaves[edit]

Little Italy[edit]

18th Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway

The annual Festa di Santa Rosalia (commonly known as "the Feast" to locals), is held on 18th Avenue from Bay Ridge Parkway (75th Street) to 66th Street in late August or early September. "The Feast" is presented by Bensonhurst resident and marketer Franco Corrado, as well as by the Santa Rosalia Society, on 18th Avenue. Born in Rome in 1955, Corrado has been an active social member of the Italian-American community for the past 20 years. St. Rosalia is the patron saint of the city of Palermo and is sometimes venerated as the patron for the entire island of Sicily. The annual end-of-summer celebration attracts thousands. Bensonhurt also hosts a Columbus Day parade.

Like Lower Manhattan's Little Italy, Bensonhurst's Little Italy is declining with its Italian American population, superseded by Bensonhurst's rapidly expanding Chinatown and Chinese population.[11]

Little Hong Kong / Little Guangdong[edit]

The D train of the New York City Subway system connects Brooklyn's Bensonhurst Chinatown (唐人街, 本森社区) to Manhattan's Chinatown (紐約華埠).

Below the West End Line, served by the D train along on 86th Street between 18th Avenue and Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue,[12] now emerging another Brooklyn Chinatown (布鲁克林華埠).[13] However, as of the 2010s it is still currently mixed in with different ethnic businesses and people, especially with many Italians and Russians still in the Bensonhurst neighborhood resembling more of Manhattan's Chinatown of the 1970s-80s when it was in expansion mode, but still mixed in with other ethnic enclaves.[14]

Within recent years, most new businesses opening within this portion of Bensonhurst's 86th Street, especially between 20th Avenue and 25th Avenue, have been Chinese. The D train is directly connected from the Grand Street station in Manhattan's Chinatown (紐約華埠) to this rapidly growing Chinese enclave between 18th Avenue and 25th Avenue, and it is becoming a third extension of Manhattan's Chinatown. It is also in some way becoming a second extension of Brooklyn's 8th Avenue Chinatown since the D trains are transferrable to the N train to travel to Brooklyn's 8th Avenue Chinatown.[15][16]

On 86th Street, Bensonhurst is home to growing Chinese restaurants including the 86 Wong Chinese Restaurant, which is one of the earliest Chinese restaurants and businesses to be established on this street.[17] Chinese grocery stores, salons, bakeries, and other types of Chinese businesses are also expanding swiftly on this street.

With the large migration of the Cantonese as well as some Fuzhou people in Brooklyn now to Bensonhurst, and along with new Chinese immigration, other small Chinatowns have also started to emerge in other parts of Bensonhurst like 18th Avenue and Bay Parkway, but integrated with other ethnic groups and businesses. The N train stations are also located in these sections as well.[18][19][20][21][22][23]

As a result, Bensonhurst now has several small emerging Chinatowns, but they are more scattered and mixed in with other ethnic enclaves in contrast to the Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn where there is only one small emerging Chinese enclave on Avenue U. This means Bensonhurst has much higher proportion of Chinese than the Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay area.

The newly emerging Chinese enclaves in sections of Bensonhurst and another one in Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay are primarily Cantonese populated and are more of extensions of the Western Cantonese section of Manhattan's Chinatown or Little Hong Kong(小香港)/Little Guangdong(小廣東) or Cantonese Town (粵語埠). However, there are small numbers of Fuzhou and Mandarin speakers.[24][25][26]

According to the Daily News, Brooklyn's Asian population, mainly Chinese, has grown tremendously not only in the Sunset Park area, but also in Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, and Borough Park. In Bensonhurst alone, from 2000 to 2010, the Asian population increased by 57%. The study also shows that Asians very often live in houses that are divided into studio apartments, which means there is a possibility that the increased Asian population could be more than what the census represents and causing stressors on the growing Asian population in Brooklyn.[27]

Chinese translation terms Bensonhurst as 本森社区.

Geography[edit]

Sons of Israel Synagogue

As there are no official neighborhood designations in New York City, Bensonhurst does not have any official boundaries.[28] Still, parts of Bath Beach, Mapleton, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, and Borough Park are sometimes considered parts of Bensonhurst.[7][29] However, Bensonhurst-proper includes the area bounded by 86th Street, 14th Avenue, 60th Street, McDonald Avenue, Avenue P, and Bay Parkway.[30]

Bensonhurst is patrolled by the NYPD's 62nd Precinct.[31] McDonald Avenue from Avenue I to Kings Highway is sometimes considered the eastern boundary.

The area's local post office is the U.S. Post Office-Parkville Station located at 6618 20th Ave., was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.[32]

Housing stock[edit]

Many of Bensonhurst's houses are attached or semidetached, though fully detached houses can be found in the west near Dyker Heights. These are mostly 20th century houses made of brick, stucco, and stone, with aluminum siding facades. After rezoning in the 2000s, many houses dating back over 90 years are being torn down and replaced by three-story brick apartment buildings and multi-family condominiums.[7] They are sometimes called "Fedders Houses" for their distinctive, standard air conditioner sleeves.[33] From 2002 to 2005, 1,200 new housing units in Bensonhurst were approved to accommodate the growing population including many foreign-born residents. With an increase in the area's real estate values, long-time homeowners sold their houses.[7]

Notable landmarks[edit]

Education[edit]

The New York City Department of Education serves Bensonhurst.[36]

Public transportation[edit]

The D train, which runs on the BMT West End Line above 86th Street, provides a direct connection to Grand Street in Manhattan[7][37] while the N train, which runs on the BMT Sea Beach Line near 63rd Street, provides a direct connection to Canal Street.[7] This provides convenient commutes into Manhattan's Chinatown for the growing Bensonhurst Chinese population.[38] The Sea Beach Line has a station at Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn's Sunset Park Chinatown and a transfer to the West End Line is available at New Utrecht Avenue / 62nd Street. The IND Culver Line along McDonald Avenue, carrying the F train, also runs through the most northeastern end of Bensonhurst between the Bay Parkway and Kings Highway stations.[39]

Subway stations in the neighborhood include New Utrecht Avenue / 62nd Street, 71st Street, 79th Street, 18th Avenue, 18th Avenue, 20th Avenue, 20th Avenue, Bay Parkway, Bay Parkway, 25th Avenue, Avenue N and Avenue P.[39]

The B1, B3, B4, B6, B8, B9, B64, B82 bus lines operate through Bensonhurst.[40]

In popular culture[edit]

Bensonhurst has long been portrayed in film, art, and literature:

Notable people[edit]

Notable current and former residents of Bensonhurst include:

Organized crime[edit]

A number of high-profile organized crime figures hail from Bensonhurst including Anthony Casso, Paul Castellano, Mikey DiLeonardo, Anthony Gaggi, Carlo Gambino, John Gambino, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, Gregory Scarpa and Carmine Sessa.

See also[edit]

Chinese enclaves:

Italian enclaves:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Radomsky, Rosalie R. "If You're Thinking of Living in Besonhurst", The New York Times, August 26, 1984. Accessed August 21, 2016. "The City Planning Department says it is bounded by 14th Avenue to the northwest, 61st Street and MacDonald Avenue to the northeast, Avenue U and 26th Avenue to the southeast and Gravesend Bay to the southwest."
  2. ^ Holter, Lauren. "City Living: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn's Little Italy, is now teeming with diversity", AM New York, February 11, 2015. Accessed August 21, 2016. "The neighborhood's Italian roots are still visible in the many eateries and specialty shops nestled along the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn's Little Italy, including Lenny's Pizza, made famous by its cameo in the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever. However, an influx of Chinese, Russian, Mexican and Middle Eastern immigrants has diversified the area for a few decades."
  3. ^ Robbins, Liz. "With an Influx of Newcomers, Little Chinatowns Dot a Changing Brooklyn", The New York Times, April 15, 2015. Accessed August 26, 2016. "As the sidewalks on Eighth Avenue overflow with new arrivals in Sunset Park, Brooklyn's first Chinatown, and grocery stores proliferate along 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn's second Chinatown, immigrants have been pushing southeast toward the ocean. ... Bensonhurst has the largest number of Chinese-born residents of any neighborhood in the city, with 31,658, narrowly edging the populations in Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, according to a 2013 city report that offered the most recent data on immigrant New Yorkers."
  4. ^ "The Newest New Yorkers; Characteristics of the City's Foreign-born Population", p. 69. New York City Department of City Planning, December 2013. Accessed August 26, 2016.
  5. ^ Brooklyn's Large Estates: What Has Become of the Old Farm Lands of the City of Brooklyn?. Retrieved July 31, 2006.
  6. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/census/census2010/t_pl_p1_nta.pdf
  7. ^ a b c d e f g David Scharfenberg (2006-08-20). "An Old Neighborhood Grows Up Again". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Treadwell, David (September 2, 1989). "Racial Tension Haunts a 'Nice Neighborhood'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Santos, Fernanda (January 6, 2009). "For Italians in Brooklyn, Voices on Streets Have Changed". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2009. 
  10. ^ "There Are More Foreign-Born New Yorkers Than There Are People In Chicago". The Huffington Post. 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  11. ^ Vivian Yee and Jeffrey E. Singer (2014-12-30). "For Officer Liu's Funeral, Blending Police Traditions With Chinese Customs". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-30. 
  12. ^ "MTA/New York City Transit Subway Map" (PDF). MTA. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  13. ^ Annie Hauck-Lawson and Jonathan Deutsch (eds.) (2009). Gastropolis: Food and New York City. Arts and traditions of the table. New York: Columbia University. p. 136. 
  14. ^ "Bensonhurst transforms as international families move in". New York Daily News. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  15. ^ "MTA/New York City Transit Subway Line Information". mta.info. Retrieved 2016-03-28. 
  16. ^ "MTA/New York City Transit Subway Line Information". mta.info. Retrieved 2016-03-28. 
  17. ^ [1] Archived September 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ The New York Times' Book of New York: 549 Stories of the People, the Events. Black Dog & Leventhal. 2009. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  19. ^ Joseph Berger (2009-06-24). The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of the New New York. Random House. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  20. ^ A Coat of Many Colors: Immigration, Globalism, and Reform in the New York City Garment Industry. Fordham University Press. 2005. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  21. ^ Let's Go New York City 17th Edition. Books.google.com. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  22. ^ Ellen Freudenheim; Anna Wiener (2004-04-01). Brooklyn!, 3rd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to New York's Most Happening Borough. Macmillan. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  23. ^ BEYOND CHINATOWN: DUAL IMMIGRATION AND THE CHINESE POPULATION OF METROPOLITAN NEW YORK CITY, 2000, SUNY-New Paltz study, 2002.
  24. ^ http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2014-06/30/content_17627657.htm
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  27. ^ Nelson, Katie (2011-09-15). "Asian boom in Brooklyn along N-lline neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Census data shows". Daily News. New York. 
  28. ^ Michael M. Grynbaum (2012-09-09). "Amateur Mapmakers Redraw Boundaries, Working Online". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ New York City Market Analysis (PDF). New York: News Syndicate, New York Times, Daily Mirror, and Hearst Consolidated. 1943. p. 19. 
  30. ^ Google (August 21, 2015). "Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  31. ^ 62nd Precinct, NYPD.
  32. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  33. ^ Mooney, Jake (2006-03-19). "The True Story of the 'Fedders' Curse". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  34. ^ "Milestone Park : NYC Parks". Nycgovparks.org. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  35. ^ "Film locations for Saturday Night Fever (1977)". Movie-locations.com. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  36. ^ "School & Zone Finder." New York City Department of Education.
  37. ^ D Line
  38. ^ N Line
  39. ^ a b "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-07. 
  40. ^ Brooklyn Bus Map, Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  41. ^ Berman, Eliza. "Why Margot Robbie Thought Her Career Was Over After Making The Wolf of Wall Street", Time, August 4, 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016. "Naomi Lapaglia, the foul-mouthed, platinum-haired lover-turned-wife she played in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, is from Bay Ridge, just a handful of blocks away from Bensonhurst. That's the birthplace of Harley Quinn, the bonkers baddie Robbie portrays in DC Comics' supervillain convention Suicide Squad, out Friday."
  42. ^ West, Abby. "General Hospital: Maurice Benard on Sonny's journey home to Brooklyn", Entertainment Weekly, November 28, 2011. Accessed September 6, 2016. "'I'm very excited about the stuff I've done in the last month, when Sonny and Kate [Kelly Sullivan] go to Bensonhurst,' says Benard of episodes that kick off today and deal with Sonny's childhood abuse at the hands of his stepfather.... Sonny and Kate leave their upstate New York town for the Brooklyn neighborhood they grew up in as part of an effort to help Sonny – who recently spiraled out of control after Brenda (Vanessa Marcil) left him – deal with his anger/abandonment issues."
  43. ^ Atkinson, Michael. "Reel Brooklyn: The French Connection: Gravesend/Bensonhurst", Brooklyn Magazine, August 15, 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016. "Friedkin shot and cut this chaos so clearly it practically serves as its own map: after a French hood takes a shot at Hackman's hothead from a rooftop in Gravesend, he boards the elevated B train at Bay 50th Street station, and Hackman grabs someone's LeMans and follows the train at illegal speeds under the platforms, up Stillwell Avenue, north onto 86th Street and then New Utrecht Avenue. The train doesn't stop—the assassin makes the driver blow through the stations, after offing a few transit cops—and the LeMans races it across Bensonhurst for some 26 blocks, through a hairy litany of crashes, near-misses, screaming pedestrians, and flat-out outlaw driving, until the runaway train meets another at 62nd Street Station, and crashes."
  44. ^ Boyar, Jay. "Dice Man's Ford Fairlane Is One For The Junkyard", Orlando Sentinel, July 13, 1990. Accessed September 6, 2016. "In The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Clay plays the title character, a Dice-like Los Angeles detective (by way of Bensonhurst, N.Y.) who specializes in solving crimes involving the rock-music industry."
  45. ^ Barron, James; Stevens, Kimberly; and Brescia, Joe. "PUBLIC LIVES", The New York Times, May 29, 1998. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  46. ^ Martin, Douglas (July 28, 2002). "Millie Deegan, 82, Pioneer In Women's Baseball League". The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2009. Mildred Eleanor Deegan was born on Dec. 11, 1919, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bensonhurst.... She excelled in track and field at Lincoln High School, and after graduation played amateur softball with a team called the Americanettes. 
  47. ^ Martin, Douglas. "Marshall Flaum, Documentary Filmmaker, Dies at 85", The New York Times, October 8, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010.