Population Density:241,270; slightly more densely-populated than Brooklyn in the aggregate (41,683 people per square mile in Bensonhurst, 34,917 people per square mile in Brooklyn overall)
Adjacent Neighborhoods:Dyker Heights, Boro Park, Bath Beach, Flatbush, Gravesend
Public Transit:D and N subway lines,B1, B3, B4, B6, B8, B9 B82 and B64 bus lines
What’s Here:Bensonhurst is a neighborhood with contentious borders. That is to say, it begins and ends in different places depending on whom you ask.
Bensonhurst is considered Brooklyn’s Little Italy, the largest such Italian enclave in New York City. And, as is to be expected, the food in Bensonhurst is exceptional. There are probably too many great pizzerias to mention, though Vic’s, Tony’s, Mama Mia’s and Lenny’s are a start. And that’s just the pizzerias!
The neighborhood is also home to a growing Chinese neighborhood, as the D train conveniently connects to Manhattan’s Chinatown along the Grand Street stop. And, you guessed it, there’s a ton of great Chinese food in the area, including Bamboo Pavilion, Chinese New Star and many others.
Beyond food, Bensonhurst is home to a number of great events including The Harvest Festival, Walk Against Hunger and Opera in the Park. New Utrecht Reformed Church boasts a number of offbeat cultural events as well, including a manger scene with live animals around the holidays.
Flat or Tall:Bensonhurst is primarily a residential neighborhood. There are very few high rises. Instead, one can expect tree-lined neighborhoods with stoops and modest gardens. Only one of the subway lines that run through the neighborhood is elevated, meaning fewer chances for obstructed light.
History: Bensonhurst is named after Arthur Benson, who bought up farmland in 1835 to later be divided and sold off. At the beginning of the last century, Bensonhurst was almost equal parts Jewish and Italian. But, after World War II, Bensonhurst became predominantly Italian. Around this time the neighborhood earned itself a reputation for mafia and mob control (though, that’s now a thing of the distant past). Popular TV shows “The Honeymooners” and “Welcome Back Kotter” were set in the neighborhood. Scott Baio, Barbara Streisand, Sandy Koufax, Paul Sorvino and all three Stooges hail from Bensonhurst.
Activities: Make sure to check out the Holiday lights in Dyker Heights, or as it’s known locally, Dyker Lights. And in keeping with Bensonhurst’s tradition of food, L&B Spumoni Gardens hosts an annual ice cream eating contest every August.
Check it Out:Bensonhurst’s can’t-miss event of the year is the Festa di Santa Rosalia taking place at the end of August. “The Feast”, as locals refer to it, is a 10-day festival dating back over 70 years. with rides, games, food and streets packed with revelry.