Bath Beach is a rectangular swatch of land located at the southwestern edge of Brooklyn, along Gravesend Bay. For a small, primarily residential neighborhood it has a lot of history. Bath Beach is named after the famous Roman built spa and hot springs found in Bath, England.
It has a dense urban feel and it’s often confused with its neighbor Bensonhurst. In fact, Bath Beach was once nicknamed Bensonhurst by the sea. Despite its name, there is no beach. It was paved over to make room for modern day roadways.
Bath Beach is bounded by 86th Street to the north, Shore Parkway to the south, Bay Parkway to the east, and the Dyker Beach Park and Golf Course to the west.
The ethnically diverse and mostly middle-class neighborhood has a variety of architectural styles that include small apartment buildings, semi-attached homes and mid-20th century attached brick row houses with garages on the ground floor. There are many stand-alone Victorian houses throughout Bath Beach. They’ve been modernized with siding, enclosed porches and brickwork. Their turrets and steeply pitched roofs give a unique aesthetic to the area.
86th Street is the commercial artery. It’s the heart of everything and offers restaurants serving all types of cuisines, mom and pop shops, and big box retailers.
Bath Beach was once home to freed slaves that were given land settlements in the Mid 19th Century. Its name is derived from an area known as The Bath Beach Resort, an affluent beach club that once stood. Back in the 1860’s, railway advancements began connecting residential neighborhoods of Brooklyn. It didn’t take long for Bath Beach to receive an influx of people. The resort flourished, offering summer homes, yacht clubs and hotels to New York’s high society. Sadly, the beach was paved over in the mid-twentieth century in the name of expansion. The Shore Parkway now stands where the beach club was.
For decades the area was predominantly Italian but recent waves of Chinese and Russian immigration has changed the fabric of the neighborhood.