Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

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Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst
Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst
Etymology: Egbert Benson
Location in New York City
Coordinates: 40°36′11″N 74°00′07″W / 40.603°N 74.002°W / 40.603; -74.002Coordinates: 40°36′11″N 74°00′07″W / 40.603°N 74.002°W / 40.603; -74.002
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CityNew York
Community DistrictBrooklyn 11[1]
 • Total2.95 sq mi (7.6 km2)
 • Total151,705
 • Density51,000/sq mi (20,000/km2)
 • White48.7%
 • Asian35.7
 • Hispanic13.4
 • Black0.7
 • Other1.5
Area code(s)718, 347, 929, and 917

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 to the northwest, 60th Street and McDonald Avenue to the northeast, 86th Street to the south and 25th Avenue to the southeast.

It is well known as a Little Italy of Brooklyn due to its large Italian-American population.[4]

Bensonhurst also 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.[5] The neighborhood accounts for 9.5% of the 330,000 Chinese-born residents of the city, based on data from 2007 to 2011.[6]


Stillwell Avenue at Bay Parkway and Bay Ridge Parkway

Bensonhurst derives its name from Egbert Benson (1789–1866), whose lands were sold by his children and grandchildren to James D. Lynch, a New York real estate developer. Lynch bought the old farmlands of the Benson family in the mid-1880s, and by 1888, began selling private lots in an area dubbed as Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea, now Bath Beach.[7] The first sale of lands in "The New Seaside Resort" area was advertised in the July 24, 1888 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.[8]


Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the combined population of Bensonhurst West and Bensonhurst East was 151,705, an increase of 8,499 (0.1%) from the 143,206 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,890.81 acres (765.18 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 75.7 inhabitants per acre (48,400/sq mi; 18,700/km2).[2]

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 48.7% (73,933) White, 0.7% (1,081) African American, 0.1% (121) Native American, 35.7% (54,099) Asian, 0% (38) Pacific Islander, 0.2% (319) from other races, and 1.2% (1,831) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 13.4% (20,283) of the population.[3]


Early 1900s[edit]

In the early 20th century, many Italians and Jewish migrants moved into the neighborhood, and prior to World War II, the neighborhood was about equally Jewish and Italian.[9] 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.[10] The Italian-speaking community was over 20,000 strong, according to the census of 2000. The Italian-speaking community, though, is becoming "increasingly elderly and isolated, with the small, tight-knit enclave in the city slowly disappearing as they give way to demographic changes." [11] 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, located under the elevated BMT West End Line.


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 Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Albanian, Bosnian, Greek, Turkish, Georgian, Uzbek, Arab, 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.[9] 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.[12]

Current enclaves[edit]

Little Italy[edit]

18th Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway

Bensonhurst has long been well-known as a Little Italy of Brooklyn, containing a large Italian-American and Italian-immigrant population. 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, with Bensonhurst's Chinatown and Chinese population rapidly expanding.[13]

Little Hong Kong/Little Guangdong[edit]

Chinatown Bensonhurst (Bay Parkway and 67th Street)
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,[14] now emerging another Brooklyn Chinatown (布鲁克林華埠).[15] However, as of the 2010s, it is currently mixed in with different ethnic businesses and people, especially with the many Italians and Russians in the Bensonhurst neighborhood, with the Chinatown area of Bensonhurst resembling more of Manhattan's Chinatown of the 1970s-80s when it was in expansion mode, but still mixed in with other ethnic enclaves. Overall, the Chinatown section of Bensonhurst remains mixed with Italian, Jewish, and Russian residents. [16]

Within recent years, most new businesses opening within this portion of Bensonhurst's 86th Street, especially between 18th Avenue and 25th Avenue, have been Chinese. The West End 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 indirectly connected to the 8th Avenue Chinatown by the D train and N and ​W trains.[17][18]

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.[19] Chinese grocery stores, salons, bakeries, and other types of businesses are also expanding swiftly on this street.

With the large migration of the Cantonese and 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 such as 18th Avenue and Bay Parkway, but integrated with other ethnic groups and businesses. The N and ​W trains stations are also located in these sections which directly connects to 8th Avenue, Brooklyn's first Chinatown.[20][21][22][23][24][25]

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 only one small Chinese enclave on Avenue U is emerging. This means Bensonhurst has much higher proportion of Chinese than the Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay area and according to a The New York Times 2015 article, Bensonhurst's Chinese population is 31,658, and this population is primarily Cantonese-speaking; in addition the majority of Brooklyn's Cantonese population is concentrated in Bensonhurst, it is slowly replacing Manhattan's Chinatown as the primary Cantonese cultural center in New York City; in addition, the NY Daily News reported in 2011 that Manhattan's Chinatown Chinese population has dropped from 34,554 to 28,681 from 2000 to 2010, and it is continuing to decline due to the gentrification going on in Lower Manhattan. [26][27][28]

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, e small numbers are Fuzhou- and Mandarin-speakers.[29][30][31]

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 showed that Asians very often live in houses that are divided into studio apartments, which means the increased Asian population could be more than what the census represents and causing stressors on the growing Asian population in Brooklyn.[32]

Chinese translation terms Bensonhurst as 本森社区.


Sons of Israel Synagogue

As no official neighborhood designations are used in New York City, Bensonhurst does not have any official boundaries.[33] Still, parts of Bath Beach, Mapleton, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, and Borough Park are sometimes considered parts of Bensonhurst.[9][34] However, Bensonhurst-proper includes the area bounded by 86th Street, 14th Avenue, 60th Street, McDonald Avenue, Avenue P, and Bay Parkway.[35]

Bensonhurst is patrolled by the NYPD's 62nd Precinct.[36] 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.; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.[37]

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. There are also a cluster of apartment buildings throughout the neighborhood. 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.[9] They are sometimes called "Fedders Houses" for their distinctive, standard air conditioner sleeves.[38] 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.[9]

Notable landmarks[edit]


The New York City Department of Education serves Bensonhurst.[41]

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[9][42] while the N and ​W trains, which run on the BMT Sea Beach Line near 63rd Street, provide a direct connection to Canal Street.[9] This provides convenient commutes into Manhattan's Chinatown for the growing Bensonhurst Chinese population.[43] 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.[44]

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.[44]

The B1, B3, B4, B6, B8, B9, B64, B82 and B82 SBS lines operate through Bensonhurst.[45]

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:


  1. ^ "NYC Planning | Community Profiles". New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Table PL-P5 NTA: Total Population and Persons Per Acre - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, February 2012. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Table PL-P3A NTA: Total Population by Mutually Exclusive Race and Hispanic Origin - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, March 29, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  4. ^ 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."
  5. ^ 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."
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Howard, Henry W.B. "The Eagle and Brooklyn: the Record of the Progress of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 1150. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Auction Sales. Next Tuesday, Jere. Johnson, Jr., Auctioneer. Absolute Auction Sale, 340 Lots". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g David Scharfenberg (August 20, 2006). "An Old Neighborhood Grows Up Again". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Treadwell, David (September 2, 1989). "Racial Tension Haunts a 'Nice Neighborhood'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  11. ^ Santos, Fernanda (January 6, 2009). "For Italians in Brooklyn, Voices on Streets Have Changed". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  12. ^ "There Are More Foreign-Born New Yorkers Than There Are People In Chicago". The Huffington Post. December 19, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  13. ^ Vivian Yee and Jeffrey E. Singer (December 30, 2014). "For Officer Liu's Funeral, Blending Police Traditions With Chinese Customs". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  14. ^ "MTA/New York City Transit Subway Map" (PDF). MTA. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Bensonhurst transforms as international families move in". New York Daily News. March 1, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  17. ^ "MTA/New York City Transit Subway Line Information". Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  18. ^ "MTA/New York City Transit Subway Line Information". Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  19. ^ [1] Archived September 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ The New York Times' Book of New York: 549 Stories of the People, the Events. Black Dog & Leventhal. 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  21. ^ Joseph Berger (June 24, 2009). The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of the New New York. Random House. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  22. ^ A Coat of Many Colors: Immigration, Globalism, and Reform in the New York City Garment Industry. Fordham University Press. 2005. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  23. ^ Let's Go New York City 17th Edition. November 25, 2008. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  24. ^ Ellen Freudenheim; Anna Wiener (April 1, 2004). Brooklyn!, 3rd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to New York's Most Happening Borough. Macmillan. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  25. ^ BEYOND CHINATOWN: DUAL IMMIGRATION AND THE CHINESE POPULATION OF METROPOLITAN NEW YORK CITY, 2000 Archived October 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., SUNY-New Paltz study, 2002.
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  29. ^ "Bensonhurst becomes Brooklyn's second". Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  32. ^ Nelson, Katie (September 15, 2011). "Asian boom in Brooklyn along N-lline neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Census data shows". Daily News. New York.
  33. ^ Michael M. Grynbaum (September 9, 2012). "Amateur Mapmakers Redraw Boundaries, Working Online". The New York Times.
  34. ^ New York City Market Analysis (PDF). New York: News Syndicate, New York Times, Daily Mirror, and Hearst Consolidated. 1943. p. 19.
  35. ^ Google (August 21, 2015). "Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  36. ^ 62nd Precinct, NYPD.
  37. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  38. ^ Mooney, Jake (March 19, 2006). "The True Story of the 'Fedders' Curse". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  39. ^ "Milestone Park : NYC Parks". Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  40. ^ "Film locations for Saturday Night Fever (1977)". Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  41. ^ "School & Zone Finder." New York City Department of Education.
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  46. ^ 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."
  47. ^ 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."
  48. ^ 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."
  49. ^ 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."
  50. ^ Barron, James; Stevens, Kimberly; and Brescia, Joe. "PUBLIC LIVES", The New York Times, May 29, 1998. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  51. ^ "Vic Damone, Who Crooned His Way to Postwar Popularity, Dies at 89". The New York Times. February 12, 2018.
  52. ^ 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.
  53. ^ Martin, Douglas. "Marshall Flaum, Documentary Filmmaker, Dies at 85", The New York Times, October 8, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010.