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Bensonhurst, Brooklyn facts for kids

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Quick facts for kids
Neighborhood of Brooklyn
Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst
Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst
Etymology: Egbert Benson
Country  United States
State  New York
City New York City
Borough Brooklyn
Community District Brooklyn 11
 • Total 7.6 km2 (2.95 sq mi)
 • Total 104,934
 • Density 13,734/km2 (35,570/sq mi)
 • Asian 43.9%
 • White 34.8%
 • Hispanic 17.2%
 • Black 1.0%
 • Other 2.5%
 • Median income $51,667
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
11204, 11214
Area code 718, 347, 929, and 917

Bensonhurst is a residential neighborhood in the southwestern section of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood is bordered on the northwest by 14th Avenue, on the northeast by 60th Street, on the southeast by Avenue P and 22nd Avenue, and on the southwest by 86th Street. It is adjacent to the neighborhoods of Dyker Heights to the northwest, Borough Park and Mapleton to the northeast, Bath Beach to the southwest, and Gravesend to the southeast.

Bensonhurst contains several major ethnic enclaves. Traditionally, it is known as a Little Italy of Brooklyn due to its large Italian-American population. Bensonhurst also has the largest population of residents born in China and Hong Kong of any neighborhood in New York City and is now home to Brooklyn's second Chinatown. The neighborhood accounts for 9.5% of the 330,000 Chinese-born residents of the city, based on data from 2007 to 2011.

Bensonhurst is part of Brooklyn Community District 11, and its primary ZIP Codes are 11204 and 11214. It is patrolled by the 62nd Precinct of the New York City Police Department. Politically it is represented by the New York City Council's 43rd, 44th, and 47th Districts.


Stillwell Av end Bensonhurst jeh
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 mid 1880s, and by 1888, began selling private lots in an area dubbed as Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea, current neighborhood of Bath Beach. The first sale of lands in "The New Seaside Resort" area was advertised in July 24, 1888 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


Bensonhurst has a population of over 151,000 inhabitants as of the 2010 United States Census.

Early 1900s

In the early 20th century, many Italians and Jews moved into the neighborhood, and prior to World War II the neighborhood was about equally Jewish and Italian. 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. The Italian-speaking community remains over 20,000 strong, according to the census of 2000. But, the Italian-speaking community is becoming "increasingly elderly and isolated, with the small, tight-knit enclave in the city slowly disappearing as they give way to demographic changes." 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, lined by the arches of the 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, Georgia and Armenia. In the 1990s Bensonhurst rapidly grew in cultural diversity. Bensonhurst is home to many ethnic Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Albanian, Greek, Turkish, 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. 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.

Current enclaves

Little Italy

18 Avenue
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.

Little Hong Kong/Little Guangdong

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, now emerging another Brooklyn Chinatown (布鲁克林華埠). 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 heavily mixed with Italian, Jewish, and Russian residents.

Within recent years, most new businesses opening within this portion of Bensonhurst's 86th Street, especially between 20th Avenue and 25th Avenue, have been Chinese. The D train 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 W trains.

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

With the large migration of the Cantonese as well as 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 like 18th Avenue and Bay Parkway, but integrated with other ethnic groups and businesses. The N W trains stations are also located in these sections as well.

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 there is only one small emerging Chinese enclave on Avenue U. This means Bensonhurst has much higher proportion of Chinese than the Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay area.

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, there are small numbers of Fuzhou and Mandarin speakers.

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 shows that Asians very often live in houses that are divided into studio apartments, which means there is a possibility that the increased Asian population could be more than what the census represents and causing stressors on the growing Asian population in Brooklyn.

Chinese translation terms Bensonhurst as 本森社区.


Sons of Israel Benson 21 Avs 1927 jeh
Sons of Israel Synagogue

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

Bensonhurst is patrolled by the NYPD's 62nd Precinct. 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., was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Notable people

Notable current and former residents of Bensonhurst include:

  • Steve Augeri (born 1959), musician.
  • Rich Aurilia (born 1971), baseball player for the San Francisco Giants.
  • Scott Baio (born 1960), actor who appeared on TV on Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi, as well as on Charles in Charge.
  • Seymour Benzer (1921–2007), physicist, molecular biologist and behavioral geneticist.
  • Bob Berg (1951–2002), jazz saxophonist.
  • Julie Bovasso (1930–1991), actress.
  • Abe Burrows (1910–1985), playwright, writer of Guys and Dolls and Can-Can
  • Kerry Butler (born 1971), actress.
  • Victor Calderone (born 1967), club music DJ and producer.
  • Jack Catran (1918–2001), industrial designer and linguist.
  • Vic Damone (1928–2018), singer
  • Millie Deegan (1919–2002), professional baseball player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
  • Perry Farrell (born 1959), musician
  • Joey Fatone (born 1977), singer who was a member of boy band 'N Sync.
  • Anthony Fauci (born 1940), physician and immunologist who has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984.
  • Jerry Ferrara (born 1979), actor who appeared in the TV series Entourage.
  • Lou Ferrigno (born 1951), actor born in Bensonhurst known for his TV starring role as the Incredible Hulk.
  • Daniel Franzese (born 1978), actor who appeared in the film Mean Girls
  • Harvey Fierstein (born 1954), actor, playwright, and screenwriter.
  • Marshall Flaum (1925–2010), documentary filmmaker
  • John Franco (born 1960), former New York Mets baseball player.
  • Jacque Fresco (1916–2017), founder and director of the Venus Project.
  • Vincent Gardenia (1920–1992), stage, film and television actor.
  • Daniel Glass (born 1956), music producer.
  • Gary David Goldberg (1944–2013), television producer.
  • Leon Goldstein (1932/1933-1999), college administrator who was President of Kingsborough Community College and acting Chancellor of the City University of New York.
  • Elliott Gould (born 1938), actor
  • Philip Habib (1920–1992), diplomat
  • Buddy Hackett (1924–2003), comedian
  • Kenny Hickey (born 1966), Johnny Kelly (born 1968), and Peter Steele (1962–2010), (rock band Type O Negative)
  • Curly Howard (1903–1952), of the Three Stooges
  • Moe Howard (1897–1975), of the Three Stooges
  • Shemp Howard (1895–1955), of the Three Stooges
  • Richard Jeni (1957–2007), comedian
  • Skeery Jones (radio producer) for Z100 NY Elvis Duran and the Morning Show)
  • Gabe Kaplan (born 1945), actor, comedian and professional poker player
  • Larry King (1933–2021), talk-show host
  • Artie Kornfeld (born 1942), songwriter, music producer, creator of Woodstock Music and Arts Festival 1969
  • Sandy Koufax (born 1935), baseball player, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Herbie Kronowitz (1923–2012), boxer
  • Adam Lazzara (born 1982), lead singer of local band Taking Back Sunday
  • Paul Lo Duca (born 1972), baseball player
  • Lordz Of Brooklyn hip hop/rock group member Dino Bootz – born and raised in Bensonhurst
  • Paul Malignaggi (born 1980), professional boxer
  • Tony Mamaluke (born 1977), former Extreme Championship Wrestling star
  • Philomena Marano (born 1952), artist
  • Paul Marks (1926–2020), scientist
  • Robert Merrill (1917–2004), operatic baritone
  • Alyssa Milano (born 1972), actress
  • Jerrold Nadler (born 1947), Congressman based in Manhattan who grew up in Bensonhurst and represents part of the area.
  • Sam Nahem (1915–2004), Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Man Parrish (born 1958), music producer and artist
  • Rhea Perlman (born 1948), actress.
  • Leah Remini (born 1970), actress who has appeared on The King of Queens.
  • Carl Sagan (1934–1996), astronomer, teacher and author.
  • Robert Sapolsky (born 1957), neuroendocrinologist, professor and author.
  • Steve Schirripa (born 1957), actor in HBO's The Sopranos
  • John Serry Sr. (1915–2003), concert accordionist, composer, arranger, educator
  • Tony Sirico (born 1942), actor in HBO's The Sopranos
  • Ralph Snyderman (born 1940), physician, scientist and administrator
  • Paul Sorvino (born 1939), actor known for his role in Goodfellas and father of Mira Sorvino.
  • Peter Steele (1962–2010), musician.
  • Ray Suarez (born 1957), news correspondent.
  • Anthony Terlato (1934–2020)), winemaker, Horatio Alger Award winner, "Father of Pinot Grigio" in the U.S.
  • Frank P. Tomasulo (born 1947), film professor, academic administrator, journal editor, author
  • Alan Vega (1938–2016), vocalist and visual artist.
  • Hilma Wolitzer (born 1930), novelist.
  • Peter Zimroth (born 1943), attorney who served as the court-appointed monitor of the New York Police Department's policies and practices regarding stop-and-frisk.


62nd Street (West End Platform)
62nd Street station platforms

The neighborhood is well served by the New York City Subway. The D train, which runs on the BMT West End Line above 86th Street, provides a direct connection to Grand Street in Manhattan while the N W trains, which run on the BMT Sea Beach Line near 63rd Street, provide a direct connection to Canal Street. This provides convenient commutes into Manhattan's Chinatown for the growing Bensonhurst Chinese population. 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 <F>​ trains, also runs through the most northeastern end of Bensonhurst between the Bay Parkway and Kings Highway stations.

Subway stations in the neighborhood include:

  • 62nd Street, 71st Street, 79th Street, 18th Avenue, 20th Avenue, Bay Parkway, and 25th Avenue, on the D train
  • New Utrecht Avenue, 18th Avenue, 20th Avenue, Bay Parkway on the N train
  • Avenue N and Avenue P on the F <F>​ trains

The B1, B3, B4, B6, B8, B9, B64, B82, B82 SBS bus routes operate through Bensonhurst.

In popular culture

Bensonhurst has long been portrayed in film, art, and literature:

  • Thomas Wolfe mentions it in the 1930s in his short story, "Only The Dead Know Brooklyn," noted for being written entirely in "Brooklynese."
  • Later in the 1950s, Bensonhurst was brought to fame by the television series The Honeymooners
  • In the 1970s, Welcome Back Kotter was set here.
  • Aired 1991-93 on CBS television, Brooklyn Bridge was set here during 1956-7.
  • Jungle Fever
  • The Warriors
  • The Bensonhurst Spelling Bee by Funny or Die with Kelly Ripa, featured a spelling bee parody, making fun of stereotypical Italian Americans.
  • The 1972 song Bensonhurst Blues, made famous after Oscar Benton released his version of the song.
  • In a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live, Joe Pesci, Julia Sweeney, Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, and Chris Rock appeared in a sketch called "Bensonhurst Dating Game," which depicted Italian-American men eager to commit racial violence based on their views of interracial romance.
  • Batman villain Harley Quinn has been established as being from Bensonhurst, going home to visit her family for Christmas in Gotham City Sirens #7.
  • Several characters from the soap opera General Hospital, most notably Sonny Corinthos, grew up in Bensonhurst.
  • The French Connection (1971) took place along 86th Street, most notably its famed car-chase scene.
  • Brooklyn 11223, an American reality-TV series about a divided group of friends, has also been filmed in parts of Bensonhurst.
  • Mob Wives filmed in Bensonhurst at the local boxing joint, Evolution Boxing, where Drita D'Avano is trained by Anthony Pezzolanti.
  • Spike of Bensonhurst was filmed around Bensonhurst and won a Spirit Award.
  • The opening scene of Saturday Night Fever features John Travolta walking down 86th Street and grabbing slices to eat at Lenny's Pizza.
  • The 79th Street station was popularized in opening credits of Welcome Back, Kotter.
  • The title character from the movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, played by Andrew Dice Clay is from Bensonhurst.


Bensonhurst generally has a lower ratio of college-educated residents than the rest of the city as of 2018. While 36% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 26% have less than a high school education and 38% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 40% of Brooklynites and 38% of city residents have a college education or higher. The percentage of Bensonhurst students excelling in math has been increasing, with math achievement rising from 50 percent in 2000 to 71 percent in 2011, though reading achievement within the same time period stayed steady at 52%.

Bensonhurst's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is lower than the rest of New York City. In Bensonhurst, 12% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, compared to the citywide average of 20% of students. Additionally, 85% of high school students in Bensonhurst graduate on time, higher than the citywide average of 75% of students.


The New York City Department of Education serves Bensonhurst.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn operates Catholic schools in the borough. Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Bensonhurst was nicknamed "OLG" in the neighborhood. In 2012 the school had 217 students, but by 2019 enrollment was 120. That year its fund balance was $559,633 and its deficit was $215,377. It closed in 2019.


The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) operates two libraries in Bensonhurst. The Highlawn branch is located at 1664 West 13th Street, near the intersection with Kings Highway. The branch was renovated in 2005–2006. Unlike most other BPL branches, it contains a circular reading room with multicolored walls.

The New Utrecht branch is located at 1743 86th Street, near Bay 17th Street. It was founded in 1894 as the Free Library of the Town of New Utrecht and became a BPL branch in 1901. The current building opened in 1956.

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