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Monday, December 25, 2023

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY, USA

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Monday, December 25, 2023


Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Looking southwest at Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst, NY.
Image source: Wikimedia

Another one of NYC's Italian - American neighborhoods, so much so that it was called "Brooklyn's Little Italy."

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Bensonhurst is a suburb of Brooklyn, home to Jewish, southern Italian, and Chinese families. It's also the neighborhood of Tony Manero's – John Travolta – funky walk in the opening scene of   Saturday Night Fever.

Visiting Bensonhurst will help you understand the making of New York, this endless mosaic of nationalities and stories from everywhere.

Things to do in Bensonhurst

They could walk down 18th Avenue next to the elevated subway line and buy two slices of pizza at Lenny's, all to the beat of the Bee Gees ' Staying Alive, just like john Travolta did :)

Lenny's pizzeria, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Lenny's pizza image source:

The Lenny's pizza where John Travolta ate is still in business, but it seems the current owners don't know much about the movie, as there is no sign or photo mentioning his appearance in it, definitely a serious marketing mistake!

Between 67th Street and Bay Ridge Parkway, on 18th Avenue, also known as Boulevard Cristoforo Colombo, there are small cafes, confectioneries, grocery stores and restaurants run by some of the Italian families that still inhabit the neighborhood.

It's particularly relaxing to sit on a bench overlooking the sea at Gravesand Bay, where residents and visitors sunbathe, fish, cycle or fly kites. It's a peaceful sight that's hard to find in another trendy New York neighborhood.

They will also be able to walk its streets, full of townhouses that recall the Victorian style, although they are increasingly being replaced by impersonal apartment buildings.

If you are in the area, take advantage of visiting Coney Island, from my point of view one of the must-see neighborhoods in New York :).

Italians in Brooklyn

As for the Italian influx to Bensonhurst, know that it was known as Brooklyn's Little Italy (if the history of Italians in New York interests you, you have to visit the Bronx's Little Italy ).

Here it was usual to find 2 or 3 generations living in the same block, speaking Italian or living in the same house for more than 50 years, in the best Sicilian style. But not anymore, New York mutates very quickly and with each new wave of immigrants it changes its skin.

New York Mafia neighborhood

Another interesting reference is that Bensonhurst has historically been associated with the mob. Although there is much exaggeration, the truth is that notorious gangster murders took place here in the 1980s, such as the car bomb that exterminated Frank DeCicco in 1986, a member of the Gambino family led by John Gotti, the last great godfather of the pure style of the characters in the films of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.

Feast of Santa Rosalia

Italian traditions persist in Bensonhurst, such as the Festa di Santa Rosalia in late August or early September.

Hundreds of visitors arrive at the event on Cristoforo Colombo Avenue (18th Ave) between 66th and 75th streets. It is a celebration similar to the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy in Manhattan, but in this case they venerate Santa RosalĂ­a, the patron saint of Palermo and much of Sicily.

Another Chinatown in New York

But as I already told you, the Italian- American community for a couple of decades has given more and more space to Chinese families, in a process very similar to what happened in Manhattan's Little Italy (if you want to know the most authentically Asian neighborhood in these days in New York, head over to Flushing in Queens ).

Note that under the elevated Metro D line, along 86th Street between 18th and Stillwell avenues, another  Chinatown is emerging in Brooklyn – in addition to Sunset Park Chinatown – with a largely Cantonese population.

Bensonhurst in pop culture

As for famous inhabitants related to the neighborhood - and not in fiction as in Saturday Night Fever- the most relevant are the already classic  Three Stooges ( Three Stooges ), Moses (Moe), Samuel (Shemp) and Jerome ( Curly) Howard.

Also noteworthy is Larry King, host of the famous Talk Show, raised in Bensonhurst.

At some point in their lives Barbra Streisand, Iggy Pop and actor Vincent D'Onofrio all inhabited this Little Italy in Brooklyn.

Bensonhurst has also contributed to the industry, with the Sbarro pizza franchise originating here.


Bensonhurst is between 61st St to the north and Gravesand Bay to the south, and McDonald Ave to the east and 14th Ave to the west

How to get

Subway D, M. 18th Ave Station

Bensonhurst Map

More interesting article about New York:


Thanks for reading Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY, USA

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