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Living in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach

There's a cozy sense of familiarity to Bath Beach and Bensonhurst, with its suburban streets and stucco-clad houses. This traditional Brooklyn neighborhood sprawls towards the waterfront, dotted with family-run bakeries and children's playgrounds. Bensonhurst is in southwest Brooklyn, bordered by Gravesend and Dyker Heights. Its residential enclave, Bath Beach, sits to the south, with 86th Street marking the boundary with Bensonhurst proper.

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The area is often referred to as the “Little Italy” of Brooklyn. Sicilian bakeries, outdoor produce markets and shops selling hand-filled ravioli line the streets. The neighborhood draws visitors from all over the city for the vibrant Festa di Santa Rosalia each August. It’s the largest Italian-American festival in Brooklyn, taking place over a 10-day period with feasting, live music, carnival games and general merriment.

Bensonhurst real estate

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Ornate wrought-iron fences and backyard vegetable gardens are stand-out details of Bensonhurst’s classic row houses. The majority of Bath Beach – Bensonhurst real estate includes stucco row homes and brick houses. There are also modern condos in the area. These contemporary Bensonhurst apartments feature large floor plans, impressive storage space and lofty, luxurious bathrooms.

The Bath Beach area is primarily residential, with leafy, low-density streets. The architectural style differs from block to block, with some streets consisting of semi-detached brick houses and others, detached Queen Anne–style homes. There are also apartments closer to the water. The Fred Trump–constructed Shore Haven Apartment complex includes 32 buildings, dating back to 1949. These feature modern amenities like upgraded kitchens, landscaped grounds and a convenient location near the neighborhood’s prime attractions. 

Bensonhurst history

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The area was once known as New Utrecht, named by Dutch settlers who arrived in 1652. Brooklyn Gas president Arthur Benson purchased large tracts of farmland in 1835, with the aim of creating a new suburb of his own called Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea. The land was divided into 20-by-100-foot lots, which were then sold to homeowners. When the 4th Avenue subway arrived in 1915, it brought with it an influx of residents. Bensonhurst flourished in the 1950s, becoming the neighborhood of choice for new arrivals from southern Italy. This helped the suburb earn its reputation as Brooklyn’s Little Italy. Today’s Bensonhurst retains its Italian delis and charming homes while welcoming a wide range of residents, both old and new. 

Bath Beach grew up alongside Bensonhurst. It was a popular Gilded Age resort area, known for its yacht clubs, beach and spacious summer homes. Linked to Coney Island by railroad, Bath Beach grew in population after World War II when the shoreline was extended towards the bay.

Bensonhurst restaurants 

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From unpretentious delis to family-run Italian restaurants, Bensonhurst is famous for its mouth-watering eateries. New Yorkers from far and wide make the pilgrimage to Bensonhurst to visit Lioni Italian Heroes. With more than 150 sandwiches on the menu, there’s plenty of variety, including a classic eggplant Parmesan. Lenny’s Pizza is a lunchtime favorite for its crispy, thin-crust pizza. For sandwiches with an Italian twist, try the panini at Panino Rustica, stuffed to overflowing with ingredients like fontina and imported prosciutto. Crepes, bruschetta and freshly baked cookies round out the menu. Il Colosseo is a homey, family-owned restaurant excelling in traditional dishes like Chicken Marsala and tiramisu. 

Bensonhurst offers no shortage of home-style Italian food, but Chinese cuisine is prevalent as well. One of the best is Spicy Bampa, known for its fiery Szechuan cuisine and fragrant, peppery hotpot. Hand Pull Noodle and Dumpling House serves up a dim sum feast, with pillowy dumplings and crispy scallion pancakes. Japanese, Russian and all-American diner fare round out the neighborhood’s eclectic dining scene.

Bensonhurst attractions

Despite its name, there’s no beach in Bath Beach and Bensonhurst. Residents can enjoy a number of parks and playgrounds, which are among the area’s greatest charms. Bensonhurst Park is a highlight, stretched out over 20 acres with baseball fields and tennis courts. Vibrant floral displays here include salt spray roses and ornamental grass. Public benches encourage visitors to admire the gardens and ocean views. Garibaldi Playground stands out for its granite monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian freedom fighter known as the George Washington of Italy. Bath Beach Park is another prime center for recreation near the neighborhood’s waterfront, with animal-art spray showers, cast-iron water fountains and modern play equipment. The park is flanked by community gardens at its 17th Court entrance.

Bensonhurst shopping 

Mom-and-pop shops dominate the retail landscape in Bath Beach – Bensonhurst. Many of these have been family-run for generations. Newsstands, hardware stores and bagel shops line the neighborhood’s main shopping area, 86th Street. Stock up on imported Italian condiments and luscious gift baskets at Frank and Sal Italian Market or Sicilian pastries at the Villabate Alba pastry shop. There are often long lines at Pastosa Ravioli, but the wait is well worth it for some of the city’s freshest handmade manicotti, ravioli and mozzarella.

Bensonhurst’s Italian heritage is also well represented at S.A.S. Italian Records. Italian music fans will find a comprehensive selection of recordings on vinyl, cassettes and CDs in the shop, from Sinatra to Pavarotti. There’s also a selection of Italian-themed T-shirts and gifts. Boutiques populate 18th Avenue, including Doris Fashions, the go-to neighborhood destination since 1938 for occasion wear. 

What's In The Area: Bensonhurst

Driving Walking

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

All Bensonhurst tips




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