Sea Gate, Brooklyn
Sea Gate is a private gated community at the far western end of Coney Island at the southwestern tip of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Located on the portion of the Coney Island peninsula west of West 37th Street, it contains mostly single-family homes, some directly on Gravesend Bay.
The area that is now Sea Gate was once known as Norton's Point. "Norton" was the name of the owner of a casino, which was situated where the Coney Island Light now stands. The neighborhood held a reputation for gambling before it was developed into a residential neighborhood.
Sea Gate was developed into a full neighborhood in 1892 by developer Alrick Man. By 1899, Sea Gate property owners included the Morgan, Dodge, and Vanderbilt families. Governor Al Smith and others frequented the Atlantic Yacht Club, whose clubhouse was designed by Stanford White. Sea Gate is surrounded on three sides by water with private beaches. In 1995, the Army Corps of Engineers completed its work of replenishing Coney beaches and building new jetties, including a long jetty at the border of Sea Gate and Coney Island.
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the neighborhood, which was inundated by ocean water and battered by strong winds. The area sustained significant damage and numerous houses were destroyed. The "Lindy Park" sea wall/bulkhead (officially known as Beach Reservation extending from Beach 48th Street to Beach 50th Street) was destroyed leaving Sea Gate, Coney Island and beyond open to any rough seas and additional damage.
Sea Gate is a gated community on the Coney Island peninsula west of West 37th Street. Residents refer to Sea Gate as "the gate" and venturing into adjoining Coney Island as going "out the gate". There are no stores in the neighborhood. There are express buses to Manhattan, which take an average of 80 minutes. Sea Gate is made up of 850 single-family houses in a variety of architectural styles, including Queen Anne Style and Mediterranean.
Residents pay for private security (Sea Gate Public Safety Department) as well as sewer, beach, lifeguards, street lights, and street cleaning.
There are two points of interest in Sea Gate. Located on Beach 47th Street in Sea Gate is the 75-foot-tall (23 m) Coney Island Light, is a lighthouse built in 1890, before the area was populated. The lighthouse is the former home of Frank Schubert, the United States' last civilian lighthouse keeper, who died in 2003. The chapel in Sea Gate, once used for services and built in 1901, is a historical building now used for social events, yoga classes, and is a polling site at election times. The Chapel with its stained-glass windows is the first structure seen when entering the main security gate.
In addition to large and private beach areas, Sea Gate has two parks:
- A playground with a basketball court and children's jungle gym pieces next to the Sea Gate Community Center on Surf Avenue.
- Beach Reservation (as referred to on the map of Sea Gate, VI.a, 1894) is near the Coney Island Light and extends before and beyond Norton's Point. A sandy/grassy patch of land with views of Lower New York Harbor and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It is nicknamed "Lindy Park", commemorating Charles Lindbergh.
There have been some controversial cases involving SGPD.
In 2013, Christopher Simmons, a Black officer with the Sea Gate Public Safety Department filed a federal discrimination and retaliation lawsuit alleging that the Sea Gate Association's president called him a "schwartze" (a Yiddish racial slur for "black") and that he was passed over for promotion, demoted, and then fired. In 2020, residents of Sea Gate called for the head of the Sea Gate Public Safety Department to resign amid accusations of racism and nepotism. Residents also filed a lawsuit against the Sea Gate Homeowners Association, alleging non-white residents were harassed for not providing IDs, vehicles were followed outside of the boundaries of the gates, and that discrimination occurred against black members of the Public Safety force.
Another incident, in 2020, involved an off-duty NYPD officer being contacted by a SGPD officer (despite not being in Sea Gate) and questioned, with the SGPD allegedly drawing his firearm twice. The NYPD (now retired) officer, took legal action.
Sea Gate is largely populated by families living in single- and two-family houses, 54 percent being rentals. As of 2000, the median age was 38.6 years and the median household income was $41,659. In addition to city and state taxes, residents also pay dues and charges to the Sea Gate Association, which have averaged $3,000 per year.
In 1960, Sea Gate was 99 percent white, and by the 2010 census, Sea Gate was 83 percent white. The community became majority Jewish by the 1930s; prior to the 1930s, there were signs in the community reading "no dogs or Jews". Many Hasidic Jews and Russians have settled in Sea Gate, along with a small number of middle-class Black families. Tensions around race and class exist between Sea Gate and the rest of Coney Island which has a significantly larger Black and Latino population. Both Sea Gate homeowners association and their public safety department have been frequently accused of racism and have been the subject of multiple federal lawsuits.
- Chaim Zanvl Abramowitz (1902–1995), "the Ribnitzer Rebbe"
- Austin Basis (born 1976), actor
- Mordechai Ben David and his son, Yeedle, singers
- Jeffrey Epstein (1953–2019), Wall Street financier and convicted sex offender
- Leonard Everett Fisher (born 1924), writer (The Jetty Chronicles)
- Jack Foley (1891–1967), inventor of movie sound effects techniques
- Yossi Green (born 1955), Jewish music composer
- Moss Hart (1904–1961), playwright and theatre director
- Ludwig Satz (1891–1944), Yiddish theater and film actor
- Andrea Batista Schlesinger (born 1976), political writer and campaigner who was executive director of the Drum Major Institute
- Frank Schubert (1915–2003), last civilian lighthouse keeper in the United States
- Sandra Seacat (born 1936), actress/acting teacher and coach (lived there as Sandra Kaufman, her then-married name, for most of the 1960s)
- Harriet Shorr (1939–2016), artist, writer, poet and professor who was known for large-scale realistic still life paintings.
- Beverly Sills (1929–2007), opera singer
- Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902—1991), Yiddish author
- Ernst Steiger (1832–1917), bookseller, publisher and bibliographer.
- Jake Steinfeld (born 1958), actor, fitness specialist and fitness trainer
- Hughes, C.J. (September 3, 2010). "Living In Sea Gate, Brooklyn". New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
- Crouse, Timothy (November 22, 2005). "Close-Up on Sea Gate, Brooklyn". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
- Superstorm Sandy: Residents survey damage in New York's famed Coney Island, oregonlive.com; accessed March 27, 2017.
- "$300K Ferrari on Official Police Business Parks in No Standing Zone". 11 April 2013.
- "Sea Gate Homeowners in Uproar over Payouts Tied to Private Police Force Misconduct". 11 June 2020.
- "SGPD Local union".
- "Former Sea Gate cop files racial discrimination suit". New York Post. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 2021-05-29.
- "SEA GATE RESIDENTS CALL FOR POLICE CHIEF TO RESIGN AMID CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS". Brooklyn Paper. 26 February 2020. Retrieved 2021-05-29.
- "Sea Gate Homeowners in Uproar Over Payouts Tied to Private Police Force Misconduct". The City. 10 June 2020. Retrieved 2021-05-29.
- "Sea Gate cop pulls gun on NYPD officer more than a mile from the seaside community: Suit". March 2020.
- "Sea Gate Homeowners in Uproar over Payouts Tied to Private Police Force Misconduct". 11 June 2020.
- Broker Website for Sea Gate, Brooklyn, agentachieve.com; accessed August 4, 2017.
- Berger, Joseph. "Enclaves, Long Gated, Seek to Let In Storm Aid", The New York Times, November 26, 2012; accessed March 27, 2017.
"Pinny Dembitzer, president of the Sea Gate Association, said that since the national economic downturn, many residents were unable to pay maintenance charges averaging $3,000, which could jeopardize the solvency of the association."
- "RESIDENTS ONLY: INSIDE NEW YORK CITY'S OLDEST GATED COMMUNITY". The Brooklyn Ink. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 2021-05-29.
- Radomsky, Rosalie R. (17 April 1988). "If You're Thinking of Living in: Sea Gate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-05-29.
- Williams, Winston (6 February 1989). "Keeping Outsiders Out: Passes for Sea Gate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-05-29.
- Katinas, Paula. "Brooklyn born actor loves his Beauty and the Beast role", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 8, 2013. Accessed August 11, 2019. "Basis grew up in Seagate, the gated community at the end of Coney Island. 'It was beyond the end of all of the train lines and the bus lines. It felt like growing up in the suburbs,' he said."
- Teitelbaum, C. S. "Songs for the Soul: The man behind 'Neshama Flam'", Hamodia, June 16, 2011, pg. 18.
- Yanover, Yori. "His Brooklyn Home Destroyed by Sandy, Singer Mordechai Ben David Is Making Aliyah", The Jewish Press, November 8, 2012; accessed March 27, 2017.
"Only three days ago, popular singer and songwriter Mordechai Werdyger, known by his thousands of Orthodox Jewish fans as Mordechai Ben David, or just MBD, shot and distributed a video clip depicting the destruction of his neighborhood, Sea Gate, at the southwestern tip of Brooklyn, NY, in an effort to raise awareness—and donations—to rebuild this once thriving Jewish community."
- Chiaramonte, Perry. "Former neighbors describe young Epstein as 'nerdy,' quiet with no signs of predatory behavior", Fox News, July 17, 2019. Accessed August 11, 2019. "Epstein and his brother, Mark, were raised in the gated community of Sea Gate, a private enclave located on the western end of Coney Island."
- Lauterborn, Mike. "Resident Reflections: Leonard Everett Fisher", Westport News, February 17, 2011. Accessed March 27, 2017. "'I was born in the Bronx in June 1924, and, at 8 or 9, moved to Sea Gate in Brooklyn, America's first gated community, where the family had initially summered', Fisher said."
- Rodrigues Singer, Philip. The Story of Jack Foley, Marblehead Publishing Company. Accessed March 27, 2017. "Jack was born in Yorkville, N.Y. in 1891, and was raised in the Seagate section of Coney Island."
- Wilson, Gemma. "Behind the Curtain of Act One! Chart Theater Legend Moss Hart’s Extraordinary Journey to Broadway", Broadway.com, April 16, 2014. Accessed August 11, 2019. "As Hart tells the story, he went straight to his family's dingy home in Sea Gate, Brooklyn, and whisked everyone away to live at the Ansonia Hotel in Manhattan."
- "Sea Gate", in The Menorah Journal, p. 56, Menorah Association, 1930. Accessed August 11, 2019. "These were 'high class Jews' who first moved to Sea Gate, among them intellectuals, writers, Jewish theatrical stars. Celia Adler, Maurice Schwartz, Ludwig Satz, and others as prominent."
- Richardson, Lynda. "Persuading Youth to Think Ahead (Way Ahead)", The New York Times, February 24, 2005. Accessed August 11, 2019. "A great deal of Andrea Batista Schlesinger's working hours are spent trying to insert the voices of young people in the fervent debate over Social Security's financial future.... Ms. Schlesinger, who is of Dominican and Jewish heritage, grew up in the southern tip of Brooklyn in Sea Gate, where her father ran a computer consulting business out of the family's home."
- Stebner, Beth. "Students shine light on last civilian lighthouse operator Frank Schubert in new documentary", New York Daily News, February 27, 2014. Accessed August 11, 2019. "Frank Schubert, keeper of the lighthouse on the water in Sea Gate, Brooklyn, pictured in 2002 at age 87, a year before his death."
- Gray, Tom. "Shaw's St. Joan a Role She Loves, Sandra Says", The Atlanta Constitution, October 7, 1965.
- Harriet Shorr, Vassar College. Accessed January 17, 2022. "Harriet grew up in Sea Gate in Brooklyn and is remembered with pride and love by her childhood friends Roberta, Simmie and Linda."
- Sochen, June. "Beverly Sills; 1929-2007", Jewish Women's Archive. Accessed August 11, 2019. "her neighborhood, called Sea Gate, Jewish families were in the majority and frequent socializing of family and neighbors was common. Sills easily acknowledges her Jewish heritage, though she had little formal Jewish education."
- "Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Upper West Side", New York Press, March 15, 2017. Accessed January 17, 2022. "During his first few years in the new country, Singer lived in picturesque Sea Gate near Coney Island, another area that for which maintained an attachment for his entire life."
- "Obituary Notes", The Publishers' Weekly, August 11, 1917. Accessed January 17, 2022. "Ernst Steiger, one of the oldest men in the book-trade in America, died suddenly at his summer home at Sea Gate, Long Island, on August 2nd."
- Yakowicz, Will. "Jake Steinfeld, Personal-Fitness Guru, Gives Tips to Keep Kids Fit The fitness personality of 'Body by Jake' gave Patch some advice to help kids and the whole family stay in shape together.", Park Slope, NY Patch, April 21, 2012. Accessed August 11, 2019. "Steinfeld, who was born in Sea Gate, Brooklyn, grew up in Baldwin, Long Island and has lived in Los Angeles since 1977, started training celebrities in L.A. and gained a reputation as the 'trainer to the stars.'"