Kensington, Brooklyn

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Coordinates: 40°38′19″N 73°58′23″W / 40.638528°N 73.973167°W / 40.638528; -73.973167

Kensington American Foursquare Houses

Kensington is a neighborhood in the center of the New York City borough of Brooklyn in the zip code 11218. It is the area south of Prospect Park and the Green-Wood Cemetery. It is bordered by Coney Island Avenue to the east, Fort Hamilton Parkway and Caton Avenue to the north, McDonald Avenue to the west, and 18th Avenue to the south.The neighborhoods that border it are Ditmas Park and Prospect Park South to the east (both of which are parts of Flatbush), Windsor Terrace to the north, Borough Park to the west, and Midwood to the south.

Kensington is a predominantly residential area that consists of housing types that run the gamut from brick rowhouses to detached one-family Victorians to apartment buildings. Pre-war brick apartment buildings dominate the Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue frontage, including many that operate as co-ops. The main commercial streets are Coney Island Avenue, Church Avenue, Ditmas Avenue and McDonald Avenue. Ocean Parkway bisects the neighborhood east-west. Kensington is served by the NYPD's 66th Precinct.[1]

Kensington is a very diverse neighborhood, containing African-American, Ukrainian, South Asian (Bangladeshi and Pakistani), Chinese, Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic, Irish, Polish, Italian, Albanian, Russian, Latino, Mexican, Australian and Caribbean communities.[2] More than 300 immigrants from Darfur have also settled in Kensington as of 2010.[3]


Kensington Post Office, listed on the NRHP

The land where Kensington now sits was first colonized by Dutch farmers during the seventeenth century within the Town of Flatbush. It was re-settled by British colonists in 1737. Developed in 1885 after the completion of Ocean Parkway, the neighborhood was named after the place and borough in West London, at the turn of the century.[4]

Ocean Parkway, which starts in Kensington, was finished in 1880; it features about five miles (8 km) of landscaped malls, benches, chess tables and walking and bike paths, linking Prospect Park to Coney Island, and is now part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. Homebuilding began in earnest in the 1920s and attracted Italian and Irish immigrants to the neighborhood. Brick and brownstone townhouses coexist with single- and two-family homes with yards and garages. Five- and six-story pre- and post-war apartment buildings and co-ops are also common.


The Culver Ramp takes the IND Culver Line from a tunnel to an elevated structure.

The New York City Subway's IND Culver Line (F G trains) runs along the western part of the neighborhood and stops underground at Fort Hamilton Parkway and at Church Avenue. The line rises above ground to an elevated structure (F train) to serve the Ditmas Avenue and 18th Avenue stations.[5] In addition, Kensington is served by the B8, B16, B35, B67, B68, B69, B70, B103 local buses, as well as the BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4 express buses to Manhattan.[6]


18th Avenue library

Founded as a deposit station in 1908 by the Mothers' Kindergarten Club of P.S. 134 (18th Avenue and East 5th Street) and the Kensington Improvement League, Kensington's branch library quickly outgrew two locations before becoming a full-fledged branch at 770 McDonald Avenue (near Ditmas Avenue) in 1912. When it again needed more space in 1960, it moved to 410 Ditmas Ave., between East 4th & East 5th Streets, a former catering hall known as Ditmas Gardens, Savoy Garden, and The Manor, that was leased and renovated, arousing national media interest. The branch moved again in 2012, opening on November 15 at its new facilities at 4207 18th Avenue.[7]


New York City Public Schools in Kensington include: four public primary schools: P.S.1 30 (shared with Windsor Terrace), P.S. 230, P.S. 179, and P.S. 134. There are two middle schools: J.H.S. 62 and J.H.S. 23. The area has no public high schools.[8]

Notable people[edit]

  • Bryce Dessner (born 1976), composer and guitarist.[9]
  • Evelyn Kozak (1899-2013), American supercentenarian.[10]
  • Sid Luckman (1916-1998), Hall of Fame quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1939 to 1950; led them to four NFL championships. According to the 1940 Federal Census, Luckman lived at 318 East 8th Street in Kensington.
  • Sufjan Stevens (born 1975), singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.[9]
  • Frank Terpil (1939 - 2016) Rogue CIA agent, arms trader, international felon.[11]


  1. ^ 66th Precinct, NYPD.
  2. ^ "Little Bangladesh". All City New York. Retrieved February 28, 2009. 
  3. ^ "From Darfur to a Corner of Brooklyn". New York Times. April 10, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Ask the Historian". WNYC. Retrieved July 31, 2010. When the developers were buying up the farmland at the end of the 19th and the early 20th centuries, they wanted to attract the wealthy to buy their new homes. Giving English-sounding names made it an attraction. Kensington is a suburb of London. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Official Webpage of the Kensington Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library
  8. ^ Mooney, Jake (May 25, 2008). "Living in Kensington, Brooklyn Name From London, People From Everywhere". New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Ryzik, Melena. "Mr. Strummy-Strum Tries a Synth Sound", The New York Times, October 14, 2010. Accessed May 15, 2016. "'Music comes really easily to Sufjan,' said Bryce Dessner, a founder of the band the National and a neighbor of Mr. Stevens’s in Kensington, Brooklyn."
  10. ^ Haughney, Christine. "Searching for New York’s Oldest, and Finding Them", The New York Times, August 15, 2010. Accessed May 15, 2016. "Since Evelyn Kozak was born on the Lower East Side on Aug. 14, 1899, she has outlived two husbands and survived the Spanish flu and two strokes. She ran a boardinghouse in Miami until she was 90 and avidly played Scrabble until she was 95. In January, she moved in with a granddaughter — and eight great-grandchildren under 13 — in the Kensington section of Brooklyn, where she gets manicures, gives precise instructions on how to prepare her breakfast, and recently asked relatives to survey the planet for older eligible bachelors."

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