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Living in Brighton Beach

Developed as a beach resort in the 19th century (the word “Brighton” is meant to evoke the English seaside), Brighton Beach today still has an active boardwalk, with joggers and strollers headed past expansive Russian cafés. Luxury condos, such as Oceana, an 850-unit development with both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, are abundant in this area of Brooklyn.

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Brighton Beach, a small enclave in New York City’s borough of Brooklyn, offers both full and part-time residents a precious slice of the local waterfront, strolls on the famed boardwalk and fun-filled days at the beach. The neighborhood provides both an alternative home base to bustling city life in Manhattan and easy access to all New York City has to offer, via the BMT Brighton Subway Line.

With a diverse group of residents and shops inspired by Eastern European styles and tastes, Brighton Beach also offers locals a unique glimpse into different cultures without leaving home.  

Brighton Beach real estate

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Brighton Beach real estate options begin with an impressive selection of luxury condos overlooking the waterfront. The towering properties, just minutes from Brighton’s boardwalk, offer plenty of upscale perks like doorman and valet services, L-shaped balconies and European-inspired decor. Full-service gyms and saunas also give residents plenty of options when during rainy weather, or if they simply prefer to stay indoors.

A smattering of single-family bungalows and multi-family homes are available, too, and give Brighton Beach real estate shoppers much-welcome variety. The private houses, typically with a single story and surrounded by white picket fences, feature finished basements, expansive bedrooms and wide driveways with plenty of parking.

Brighton Beach history

Part of a small village called Gravesend until the 1860s, the neighborhood of Brighton Beach was an oasis for New York City residents seeking a waterfront playground and tranquil escape from the bustle of Manhattan. William A. Engeman, a successful entrepreneur, took advantage during a frantic land grab and purchased tracts of oceanfront property, naming the spot Brighton Beach after the famed English town of Brighton. Other developers bought neighboring parts of Gravesend, today known as Manhattan Beach, Coney Island and Sea Gate.

Brighton Beach became a burgeoning resort community thanks to the construction of toll and railroads. Throngs of New Yorkers flocked to the exciting, new neighborhood overlooking the Coney Island Channel. Not a place to shy away from entertainment, Brighton welcomed horse racing, vaudeville theaters and music halls, along with the opening of an iconic mile-long boardwalk in 1905.

The 20th-century version of Brighton Beach continued to attract visitors to its shores and welcomed new residents from varied backgrounds and cultures, making today’s Brighton a cornucopia of culturally diverse residents and storefronts.

Brighton Beach restaurants

The Brighton Beach restaurant scene owes much to its Eastern European influences. Local favorite Bakery La Brioche, with an array of savory doughnuts and cakes sitting on marble countertops, draws everyone with an early morning sweet tooth and curiosity about Russian-inspired delicacies. Specialties include meringues stuffed with hazelnut cream and brioche donuts filled with rose petal jam.

For traditional Russian cuisine later in the day, you can’t go wrong experiencing the cozy ambiance of Skovorodka. Live Russian folk music, paired with a wide selection of authentic dishes, such as borscht and khachapuri, awaits patrons under glowing chandeliers and wooden shelves stocked with imported trinkets.

Kashkar Café’s Uyghur and Uzbek cuisine — one-of-a-kind in the entire Brooklyn borough — hails from Uzbekistan, with platters of succulent kebabs and steaming dumplings served in simple confines surrounded by intricately woven curtains.

Brighton Beach attractions

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The local boardwalk connecting Brighton Beach to Coney Island serves as the area’s most popular attraction and best chance to catch gorgeous views of the waterfront. Quirky souvenir shops and eateries overlook the expansive wooden walkway popular with joggers, shoppers and anyone in the mood for beachside walks and scents of salty air.

For an authentic Eastern European experience, head to the Brighton Bazaar, where you’ll find everything from caviar to fresh bread and deli meat.

Brighton Beach shopping

The Brighton Beach Surf Shop, with a rich local history dating back to 1962, welcomes surfers and beach-goers through its doors for water-related fun in the sun. With a large selection of used and vintage surfboards fitting any budget and style, and an expert staff, you’ll find the right gear to turn heads and enjoy Brighton’s waves.

For an immersive Russian cultural experience, look no further than Brighton Beach’s St-Petersburg Global Trade and Publishing House. The cavernous shop offers a rich collection of Russian dolls, porcelain and home goods, as well as one of the largest selections of Russian books in the United States.

Brighton Beach nightlife

Once known as Millennium Theater, the revamped and renamed Master Theater draws world-class entertainers like Ray Charles and Jackie Mason through its doors, as well as renowned Russian performers in ballet, classical music and drama. For a night out watching performing arts spectacles unfold, you can’t go wrong buying tickets to their shows and enjoying the theater’s state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.

A more opulent setting awaits at National Restaurant & Night Club, where you’ll find white drapes, candle-lit bouquets and wooden dance floors providing late night entertainment for large groups and events. The catering hall, fully stocked bar and live music stage means plenty of options for local revelers and visitors alike.

What's In The Area: Brighton Beach

Driving Walking

Local tips and information for going out in the Brighton Beach from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.

All Brighton Beach tips




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