Bensonhurst is a densely populated residential neighborhood with a bustling business district in the southwest section of Brooklyn. It’s a storied neighborhood and is considered to be the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in New York City.
Technically, Bensonhurst doesn’t quite have the same clean-cut boundaries the way other neighborhoods do. It has an odd shape that intertwines with the surrounding communities of Bath Beach, Dyker Heights, Borough Park and Mapleton. The neighborhoods are sometimes mistaken for Bensonhurst and vice versa. It’s bordered by 14th Avenue, which is to the northwest, 60st Street and McDonald Avenue to the northeast, Avenue S to the southeast, and 86th Street to the southwest.
You won’t find that many luxury building developments in this neck of the woods either. Much of the Bensonhurst neighborhood still has that old Brooklyn charm. It’s architecture comprises co-ops, condos, single-family attached, semi-attached, fully-detached homes, and also multi-family homes. It’s a healthy mix of quiet residential blocks and bustling commercial thoroughfare, especially along 86th Street. Bensonhurst has many similarities to Bath Beach, it’s immediate neighbor to the south.
Bensonhurst was once part of New Utrecht, which was one of the original six towns within Kings County. It was later absorbed into what we know as modern day Brooklyn. It is named after the Benson family, who were farmers and landowners and controlled much of Bensonhurst and parts of Bath Beach.
In its early history, Bensonhurst was mostly Italian-Americans and Jewish immigrants. In recent years the neighborhood has seen many Chinese, Russian, Middle Eastern and Mexican residents who call Bensonhurst home.
Besides the ethnic enclaves residing in Bensonhurst, the neighborhood is also attracting younger residents and families. The cost of living is considerably less compared to other parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. In 2019, the homeownership rate in Bensonhurst was 36.5%, higher than the citywide share of 31.9%.
The D, N, and F service Bensonhurst and will shoot you straight into Midtown Manhattan where bus lines service the rest of the borough.
What Bensonhurst lacks in watering holes and bars, it makes up for it with places to eat. There is no shortage of restaurants, eateries, and markets. Bensonhurst has its very own Little Italy and well as its own Chinatown. You’re guaranteed to find those types of cuisines in the neighborhood.
Seth Low Playground / Bealin Square is the perfect place for the little ones to blow off steam and run through the five-acres of outdoor space. The park's name commemorates Brooklyn resident and former Mayor of New York City, Seth Low.
Lenny’s Pizza and DaVinci Pizzeria – It’s a toss-up! There are many good pizza joints throughout Bensonhurst, but here are two to start with. Lenny’s, made famous by Saturday Night Fever, has great slices. While you are enjoying the pizza, sit back and watch how many people eat their slices like Tony Manero did in the movie.
DaVinci Pizzeria is old school and It’s been a fixture in the neighborhood for a long time. Their square cut pizza is fantastic and so is the rest of the items on their menu.
What You Might See
Brooklyn is a densely populated borough so you will see people from all walks of life. Especially in and around the commercial hubs. It’s a unique trait of the neighborhood.
You won’t see a bumping bar and nightclub scene. Instead, you’ll get hundreds of food choices to choose from. They include eateries, grocery stores, restaurants and bodegas.
What You Don’t Know
Pop culture loves Bensonhurst! The Kramden’s and Norton’s, Otherwise known as The Honeymooners, lived in an apartment house at 328 Chauncey Street in Bensonhurst.
You might be surprised to learn that Bensonhurst has a surprisingly lower crime rate than other parts of Brooklyn.
Actor Vincent D’Onofrio, of the Law and Order fame was born in Bensonhurst.